Wedding season is about to start, which means you and your significant other might find yourselves in the often daunting search for wedding bands. For many couples, up to this point, this is the most expensive investment in jewelry that you have made (minus the engagement ring) and the variety of metal and style options can be overwhelming. When I am talking with clients about what bands are best for them, I find it is often best to start with a few key questions to help narrow down your search.
What color do you like? Are you a gold person or prefer a white metal?
If gold suits your fancy, your best options are 14 or 18 karat yellow gold. Both are hard enough alloys to stand up to daily wear, but still retain a nice golden color. Prefer a white metal? White gold, platinum, palladium or silver are your best bets. White gold, platinum and palladium are considerably more durable than silver, but also much more expensive.
Palladium and platinum are both naturally white metals. In contrast, white gold has a slightly more yellowish hue. White gold starts as yellow gold and then white metals (such as nickel) are added to dampen the golden color. Because of the nickel often added to white gold, some people may react to wearing white gold if they have a nickel allergy.
Whats your budget?
Gold, platinum and palladium will last much longer than silver, but they will require a greater upfront investment. If you want a lot of surface texture (ie: hammer texture, engraving, brush finish), gold, platinum and palladium will retain the surface texture much longer than silver.
Silver is a comparatively soft metal and surface designs, such as, hammer texture will wear away faster than any of the harder metals. If your budget doesn’t allow for gold, platinum and palladium, silver is a good choice, but know that the surface texture will likely need to be reapplied or the ring replaced/repaired at some point in the future (especially if it is a thinner band).
What is your lifestyle? Are you active? Will your ring need to stand up to outdoor adventures or do you work with your hands?
If you are an active couple and will require a lot out of your rings, gold, platinum and palladium are likely the way to go. White gold is very hard metal and particularly impact resistant. White gold will hold up well to repeated abuse and will retain its surface polish longer than the softer metals. If you would rather a gold color, 14 karat yellow gold would be a great option. 14 karat is not as rich a gold color as 18 karat, but it is a harder metal and will stand up to a rough lifestyle.
What metal is the engagement ring made out of? Do you want to match the metal or maybe mix and match gold and white gold?
Most women want to match the metal of their band to their engagement ring. Commercially sold rings should be stamped on the inside of the band with what metal they are made out of. If not, you can take them to a jewelry store and they can test the metal for you.
Other gold options to consider are green or rose gold if you are looking for something out of the ordinary.
Do you want any surface detail? Hammer texture, brush finish, engraving?
Again (I sound like a broken record), rings made of gold, platinum and palladium will retain surface texture and details much better than silver. Platinum is very abrasion resistant, which means that it will retain surface texture, such as engraving, comparatively longer than the other metal options. Platinum is also a great option for prong settings, because the little prongs that hold in the stone in place will last longer. At the same time, be aware that any prongs will wear down with time and should be checked yearly.
Hope this helps! Check out the diagram below for a direct comparison of the different metals. Congrats and happy shopping!