There’s good news: If you’ve found the right guy, the most important part of the hunt is over. You must now embark on the ultimate quest of choosing the right wedding band.
Choosing a man’s wedding band can be a fundamentally different experience from choosing a woman’s. Because jewelry often isn’t as common in men’s lives, many men find themselves at a loss when selecting a wedding band — meaning it can be equally difficult to choose one for them. From budget to picking from different metals and styles to make sure it complements their partner’s ring as well, the selection process can overwhelm even the most low-key grooms and brides.
We’ll help you make sense of it all — there is a rhyme and a reason for the various materials and designs. First, let’s look at where this tradition originates from and why this symbol is important for brides and grooms today.
Where Do Men’s Wedding Bands Come From?
Women wearing rings is an age-old tradition, dating at least back to ancient Egypt. The continuity of a circular ring was a fitting representation of the infinite, which in turn represented eternal love. In short, it was a piece of jewelry that summarized the wholeness of love in an elegant, simple way.
It only took men around 5,000 years to catch up.
That’s right: The wedding bands that are so universal among married men today have only come about in the latter half of the last century. It took two world wars to finally bring the tradition into men’s lives. During World War II, soldiers were plucked away from their loved ones and ferried across the ocean to fight a war in a faraway land. Few of them could be certain they would ever see their wives again, and the wedding band became a popular reminder of the love waiting for them back home.
The breaking point occurred after World War II. Men gradually became comfortable wearing a ring to match their partners’, and within a decade or so, the tradition implanted itself for good. The 1960s and 1970s also helped by normalizing the idea of men wearing jewelry in the form of necklaces and bracelets. Another important change was the progress of women’s rights, which has helped move marriage from an arrangement of ownership to one of partnership.
In today’s western world, a man who doesn’t wear a wedding band is out of the norm, and there’s a wedding band for every type of personality out there.
How Do Karats Work?
You should have a good understanding of how karats, a basic unit of jewelry’s quality, works. It’s easy to throw around phrases like “18-karat gold” without knowing exactly what a karat is.
The most important fact to remember is that 24-karat gold is 100 percent gold. That means 24-karat is the highest rating a piece of jewelry can receive. From there, the ratings are a fraction of 24 — for instance, you can find the percentage of gold in 14-karat gold by dividing 14 by 24 — roughly 58 percent. You’ll often see karats referred to as an adjective symbolized as “k” — 10k, 14k, and so on.
Looking at the metal is a great place to start when choosing a wedding band. Metals have a lot to say, and finding one that is appropriate for him will lay the foundation for his comfort with the ring.
There is one question to ask before you start: Is he allergic to any metals? Most of us have heard of silver allergies, but this common allergy is a misnomer — it’s a reaction to nickel. Nickel is present in almost all jeweled silver because silver by itself is a very soft metal. Nickel is added to provide strength and luster. About one in 10 men suffer from a nickel allergy.
Let’s look at wedding-band metals, starting with the most common ones:
- White Gold: A popular wedding-band material. It is an alloy of gold and a light-colored metal like nickel, which makes it hard and resilient to physical activities. Its color is an enchanting, shiny white with a hint of gold. Typically, white gold is around 90 percent gold and 10 percent nickel, though you can also tell the purity of the metal by its karats.
- Platinum: While platinum is the finest metal in the music industry — where a record going platinum is twice as good as one going gold — it’s still a close race in the world of wedding bands. Platinum wedding bands are unmistakably shiny and mirror-like, though they are commonly alloys. To be labeled “platinum” at all, a band must contain at least 50 percent platinum. A platinum band is probably the most durable ring you can buy, as its scratches don’t show well — the metal gets displaced instead of removed from the ring, so it is easily repaired and ages well.
- Rose Gold: Another gorgeous alloy of gold. If you remember anything from your high school chemistry class, perhaps you can guess what the gold is blended with to give it its rosy hue: copper. That’s not all, though — there is also a dash of silver thrown in. This combination creates a rose-tinged metal with a spectacular luster that makes its 75-percent-gold composition apparent.
- Yellow Gold: As an alloy of gold, copper and zinc, its color is much closer to that of pure gold. An alloy is used instead of pure gold alone because gold is far too soft to stand up to the rigors of everyday wear and use. Additionally, having an alloy not only strengthens the ring but also adds a brilliant shine and significant price-tag reduction.
- Titanium: A popular choice for wedding bands for several reasons. For one, it is very strong and typically high in percentage even when part of an alloy. It is also lightweight due to titanium’s low atomic number. As a non-reactive atom, it is hypoallergenic for those who are sensitive to metal allergies.
- Stainless Steel: An excellent all-around metal for so many applications, it looks especially good as a wedding band. The metal itself is an alloy of iron with around 10.5 percent chromium, which not only stalls iron’s weakness for oxidizing but also adds a spectacularly bright sheen to its surface. Stainless steel can be polished in a variety of ways to lend itself to many different styles.
While white gold and platinum are the most popular metals for wedding bands, others are becoming strong contenders. Don’t be swayed by popularity — look for the metal that best fits the groom.
Which Ring Fits His Lifestyle?
This often-overlooked consideration could save his wedding band from heavy wear and tear.
If he uses his hands a lot for activities like weightlifting, moving furniture or other manual work, it would be a good idea to get a ring that won’t be easily damaged. People like nurses, who work with their hands and encounter many unsanitary elements, should be aware of which metals can handle it.
Rings made of platinum, titanium, stainless steel and golds with a lower karat rating are good choices for such active people. This is because these metals are harder to scratch and don’t absorb oil and bacteria. You’ll want to be sure he won’t have to adjust his lifestyle to fit the ring — the ring should fit his lifestyle.
Which Type of Ring Suits His Style and Personality?
Style preference narrows down a groom’s options considerably. A certain metal may be right for his lifestyle and hobbies and won’t make him break out in a rash — and considering his preferences, is it a ring that will truly feel like part of him when he wears it every day?
The following styles of wedding bands are four categories that cover most preferences for groom wedding bands:
1. Plain Wedding Bands
Antoine de Saint-Exupery once said, “Perfection is achieved not where there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
A plain wedding ring is elegance in its most minimalistic incarnation. These smooth, rounded wedding bands sport no embellishments or designs other than their own lovely proportions. They are understated and low-profile, but they still possess a timeless beauty that is never in danger of going out of style.
Think of plain wedding bands not as a lack of statement, but rather as a blank canvas. The man wearing it tends to fill in the blanks with his own story, and would prefer the ring to be a wonderful accent piece instead of something fancy.
Because it simultaneously exudes tasteful understatement and timeless charm, the plain wedding band works for many personalities. If a man is fond of items that are not too eye-catching, then this is a safe bet for a ring that he won’t tire of. You may also find that even a more stylistically focused character could enjoy the sleek appeal of the plain wedding band.
2. Wide Wedding Bands
The other common shape for a ring is the wide style of wedding band. If you’ve noticed these on men’s hands before, it was probably because they are just that: noticeable. They take up a bit more visual real estate on a finger, and are therefore a great way to introduce some subtle artistic flair into the matrimonial ring.
Wide wedding bands are squared off instead of rounded, though some will still retain a light curvature to them that can blend in the feel of a traditional plain wedding band.
Remember to consider lifestyle when looking at wide wedding bands. Having some rounded edges will make the ring more comfortable, and avoiding any embellishments or carvings will keep the ring from trapping dirt and grime.
Wide wedding bands can be playful and fun as well as regal. They can speak boldly and even bring a slight medieval edge to things, as the rings often look like pieces from another era. If he likes playing guitar, a wide wedding band can even double as a guitar slide — though make sure it is made of a durable metal like platinum for this activity.
3. Patterned or Engraved Wedding Bands
There are plenty of patterns and engravings that can go on a wedding ring without having it appear too flashy. Whether he wants a brushed metal look or a curved line running along the length of the band, the ring will have a distinct style to it.
Engravings and patterns are a great way to deviate from the standard, high-gloss polished look. However, they can also incorporate a gloss while still featuring an inlay or other design.
4. Diamond-Accented Wedding Bands
Nothing says eternal love like a diamond. They also symbolize a host of other sentiments — their clarity reflects the virtue of transparency, their near-indestructibility a symbol of fortitude. Their sparkle energizes and beguiles us. In short, the diamond is a stone with a message just about anyone can interpret.
That’s why many men will love the look of diamonds glinting on a wedding band. It is a way to stand out in a crowd, but can also be implemented subtly for those who don’t want to be flashy.
Alternatively, wedding bands can also contain sapphires or other stones of a man’s liking. The stones are carefully placed to be visible without protruding from the ring or getting in the way. This also ensures they won’t fall off with moderate activity.
Consider Your Budget
Keeping your overall budget in mind is not only responsible, but it is also a great way to narrow down your choices and prevent options paralysis.
A common rule of thumb is to keep rings at three percent of the whole budget of the wedding. However, this can frequently lead you astray. If you were planning a casual wedding that cost around two thousand dollars, for example, you would have $60 to spend on rings. Trust us — it is not a good idea to spend only $60 on your rings.
A better generality is the two-months'-salary rule, which states that you should save up two months' salary for your rings. $500-1000 will get you a nice wedding band, and $1000-5000 will get you a lot more options.
How elaborate you want the wedding band to be will also affect its cost. Plain metal will cost less than metal infused with gemstones or carved with insignias, so consider what style you want and factor that into your budget.
Keep in mind that penny-pinching when shopping for wedding bands will not often work out as a financial strategy. Because jewelry repair can be expensive, spending an extra amount now will prevent patchwork down the road. Platinum rings come with a higher price tag, but you will rarely have to worry about them in the future. Remember, a wedding band is forever.
Matching a Wedding Band to a Partner’s Ring
But our rings have to match, don’t they?
Luckily, they don’t have to match exactly — two rings can still complement each other without being identical. If you want your rings to fit together, just look for similarity in style.
A plain, yellow-gold wedding band might flatter a wedding ring of the same metal, for instance. Mountz will help you find the right pairing.
Visit Mountz Jewelers to Find Your Wedding Band
Jewelry is an art and a science dating back many centuries, so trust it to those with experience. If you are looking for the highest-quality jewelry that will serve you for a lifetime, visit our website and peruse our extensive selection of wedding bands and rings.Mountz has been in the jewelry business for nearly four decades, and our tradition with jewelry extends even further back. We take extra pride and joy in pairing engaged couples with the perfect rings to suit their personalities and budgets. Finding yours is only a click away — Trust Your Special Moments to Mountz!
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