Men’s wedding bands are often designed with simplicity in mind, but you still have plenty of variety to choose from— especially when it comes to metals. While men’s wedding rings tend to have fewer frills in terms of detailing, they’re also available in a more diverse range of metals. You’ll find men’s wedding bands crafted from classic precious metals, like gold and platinum, but you’ll also find men’s rings that feature more unusual metals, like cobalt and black titanium.
With so many options in the metals department, it can be challenging to fully grasp the pros and cons of each. However, if you’re searching for your ideal wedding band metal, we’re here to make the selection process easier. Below, we’re going over everything you need to know about seven of the best wedding band metals for men, including what you should know about their style, durability, and price.
Gold is the most traditional option for both men’s and women’s wedding bands, but you won’t find many wedding rings that are made out of pure gold. That’s because pure gold, also called 24 karat gold or 24k gold, is too soft to be worn in jewelry. To make gold jewelry that’s strong enough to take a bit of wear and tear, you need to mix 24k gold with stronger metals, thereby creating an alloy. The karat next to the alloy denotes how much pure gold is in the alloy. The closer an alloy is to 24k, the more pure gold it contains. So, 18k yellow gold contains more pure gold than 14k yellow gold, which contains more pure gold than 10k yellow gold.
Speaking of yellow gold, that’s the first gold alloy we’ll be featuring. Made of pure gold, silver, and copper, yellow gold retains the classic sunny yellow color of pure gold. This gives the alloy a timeless, traditional appeal, ensuring a yellow gold wedding band will never go out of style. In addition to standing the test of time style-wise, yellow gold will stand the test of time in general. While it isn’t as strong as platinum or some alternative metals, yellow gold is still quite durable, making it a practical choice for a lifetime of everyday wear. Yellow gold jewelry is also easy to adjust and it retains its value very well over time, so many consider gold jewelry a good long-term investment.
In terms of price, yellow gold is less expensive than platinum but more expensive than most alternative metal options. Then, compared to other gold alloys, yellow gold will cost around the same per karat. For example, since 14k yellow gold, 14k white gold, and 14k rose gold all contain the same amount of pure gold, they’ll be priced similarly.
Thanks to its elegant look and high shine, white gold is a very popular choice for wedding rings. The price of white gold also contributes to the popularity of this precious metal, as it’s far less expensive than the other classic white metal, platinum. It’s also even more reflective than platinum, giving you more bling for your buck.
There’s a lot to love about white gold, but note that it is arguably the most high-maintenance metal on this list. White gold is made of pure gold, silver, and nickel, which leaves it still a bit yellow in color. To give white gold a whiter, brighter color, jewelers will coat white gold in rhodium— and that’s what makes this precious metal more high maintenance. Rhodium is a breathtaking metal, but it’s not the most durable metal. Over time, rhodium plating will start to wear off of frequently worn pieces. This isn’t a permanent issue, since you can simply take a white gold piece of jewelry to your jeweler for a quick rhodium replating. Still, if you’re looking for high durability and a low maintenance level, be aware that white gold may not be right for you.
Rose gold is a more rare choice for a men’s wedding band, which makes it an excellent option for those who like to stand out from the crowd. This gold alloy is made of pure gold and copper, the latter of which is what gives rose gold its signature rosy hue. Copper, a very strong metal, is also what makes rose gold the most durable of the three common gold alloys. Note that copper forms a patina, so rose gold rings will start to look more and more vintage over time. However, if you’re not into the vintage look, you can easily have a jeweler polish your patina off to restore your ring’s original color.
Platinum is a shiny, bright white precious metal that has numerous advantages. It’s strong, hypoallergenic, and it has a highly sophisticated look. Platinum also never tarnishes, so maintaining its attractive appearance takes very little effort.
Though platinum has some enticing pros, it has a notable con: its price. Platinum can cost up to twice as much as gold, making a platinum wedding band a very expensive choice. Some will find that the advantages of a platinum ring make it worth the higher price tag. Whether or not you feel the same all comes down to what you’re looking for in your perfect ring.
Due to its hardy nature and sleek look, titanium is a popular alternative metal option for men’s engagement rings. Titanium is the hardest of all the natural metals, making it highly durable and scratch-resistant. Titanium, commonly available in both silver and black, is also tarnish-resistant. All this makes titanium a great, stylish option for people with active lifestyles. Be aware, however, that the rugged nature of titanium makes it impossible to resize, which can be a disadvantage down the line (or if even right away if you accidentally buy the wrong size).
One of the most unique elements of titanium, its weight, is something that you may consider either a pro or a con. Titanium has a lower density compared to other metals, so it’s more lightweight than other metals. Some people, especially those who aren’t used to wearing rings, may love the lightweight nature of a titanium ring. Others, however, find that this lighter weight feels strange or cheap to them.
Cobalt is an alternative metal that looks very similar to shiny white, rhodium-plated white gold. Yet, cobalt is more affordable than white gold, while also being more durable and lower maintenance. So, if you like the bright white color and high shine of white gold but don’t like its price tag, maintenance requirements, or durability level, cobalt could be a good option for you.
Note that the strength of cobalt makes it extremely challenging to resize. Another potential issue with cobalt is that it’s often touted as hypoallergenic, but the hypoallergenic status of this metal can vary. Cobalt alloys usually contain cobalt mixed with chromium and/or tungsten, then may also contain small amounts of iron, carbon, silicon, manganese, or molybdenum. Sometimes, however, a jeweler may also use nickel to strengthen cobalt, so be mindful of that if you have a nickel allergy.
If having a strong, durable, low-maintenance ring is your top priority, a tungsten carbide wedding ring would be your perfect fit. Tungsten carbide, an alloy made of tungsten and carbon, is one of the hardest metals on earth. It comes in at a 9 out of 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness, just below the diamond’s 10. The tough, scratch-resistant nature of tungsten makes it a favorite option among men who work with their hands, such as those who work in construction. Note, however, that the extreme strength of a tungsten ring comes with one drawback: a tungsten ring can’t be resized. That’s why you definitely want to be sure of your ring size before you purchase a tungsten wedding band.
Many would say that the main advantage of tungsten is its strength, but that isn’t its only advantage. Tungsten can also be used to create rings in a diverse range of styles since its hardness lends itself well to intricate metalwork and diverse inlay compatibility. You’ll find tungsten rings with beveled edges, brushed finishes, matte finishes, carbon fiber accents, palladium accents, milgrain, and many other features. Because tungsten is available in three colors, you also have a variety of color options to choose from, such as black tungsten, white tungsten, gray tungsten, and two-tone tungsten. On top of being incredibly strong and quite diverse in style, tungsten is more affordable than most metal options. This makes a tungsten wedding ring a budget-friendly choice.