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Men's Wedding Ring Metals: Which One's Right for You?

Men's Wedding Ring Metals: Which One's Right for You?

Wedding rings are a symbol of lifelong commitment, so it’s no surprise that so much time and thought goes into their selection. For years, women have enjoyed hundreds of stylistic options, including different shapes of diamonds and gemstones to complement an engagement ring. Traditionally, men have had far fewer choices. Today, a growing number of guys are looking for wedding bands that complement their fashion sense and lifestyle, and their metal preference is a large part of that decision. Because each metal has its own unique properties that affect comfort, durability and care, it can be difficult to decide which is right for you. To help guide your decision, we’re diving into the world of metals, with guidance from a chemistry expert with over 35 years of experience. We’ve also ranked each ring’s resilience (resistance to scratches, tarnishing and wear), weight, styles selection and price.

Men’s Yellow Gold Wedding Rings

Yellow gold wedding rings come in a wide variety of styles from minimalist to embellished. While this metal is valued for its naturally rich-looking warm tones, pure gold is far too soft to wear without the addition of copper and zinc alloys to make it more durable. The amount of pure gold that’s in a ring determines its karat value—usually 14k or 18k. Another benefit of yellow gold is that it’s highly resistant to rust, tarnish, and corrosion, and easy to engrave and resize. It’s also lightweight and comfortable, and won’t typically discolor skin or cause allergic reactions thanks to the absence of reactive metals in the alloy.

On the other hand, the high content of malleable pure gold affects durability. Of all the precious metals, yellow gold is the most likely to misshape, dent and scratch. And, because of its scarcity, it is also one of the most expensive.

The Bottom Line:
Resilience: 2/5
Weight: Medium
Selection: Good
Price: $$$

Monique Lhuillier Polished Knife-Edge Wedding Ring
Monique Lhuillier Polished Knife-Edge Wedding Ring
Not Available In Denmark
Princess-Cut Diamond 14k Yellow Gold Wedding Ring
Princess-Cut Diamond 14k Yellow Gold Wedding Ring
Not Available In Denmark

Yellow Gold Settings

Though our customers made "rose gold" a popular search term in 2018, yellow gold is set for a comeback in 2019. Katie especially loves the look of yellow gold with one particular cut. "It looks amazing with an emerald-cut stone," she says, "Even with a diamond pavé band, the color of the metal peeking through is subtle yet adds a layer of uniqueness."

Men’s Rose Gold Wedding Rings

Rose gold has been an increasingly popular choice in engagement rings. Because many couples look for matching wedding bands, it’s no surprise that men’s rose gold rings are a corresponding trend. The composition of rose gold is much like yellow gold, but needs around 25% copper in the mix to achieve its romantic hue. Good news: All that copper increases this metal’s durability. The bad news? This gold/copper alloy is more likely to discolor skin or cause an allergic reaction than other golds.

Brushed Band 14k Rose Gold Wedding
Brushed Band 14k Rose Gold Wedding
Not Available In Denmark

The Bottom Line:
Resilience: 2/5
Weight: Medium
Selection: Few
Price: $$$

Men’s White Gold Wedding Rings

White gold has all the pros of yellow gold, and it’s slightly more durable. To achieve its signature silvery color, pure gold is mixed with nickel and silver then plated in rhodium. It’s this alloy that makes it more a bit more resilient than yellow gold. If you like the look of platinum but are looking for a less expensive alternative, white gold is a great choice.

The Bottom Line:
Resilience: 3/5
Weight: Medium
Selection: Great
Price: $$$

Textured Inlay White Gold Wedding Ring
Textured Inlay White Gold Wedding Ring
Not Available In Denmark

Platinum Men’s Wedding Rings

Platinum wedding rings are prized for their timeless beauty and inherent value. Securing its top-of-the-line status, natural platinum is 30 times rarer than gold. And unlike gold, the platinum used to make wedding rings is around 95-98% pure. Platinum is inherently dense, but not too rigid or dense for engraving or resizing.

Scarcity and density are also platinum’s downside. A similar style of ring will be heavier—and more expensive—than its visually-identical white gold counterpart. Though platinum’s brilliance is truly stunning, it can wear and develop a patina over a lifetime. But if you’re looking for a ring that will carry its value better than any other, platinum is your best investment.

The Bottom Line:
Resilience: 3/5
Weight: Light
Selection: Amazing
Price: $$$$

Channel Set Diamond and Platinum Wedding Ring
Channel Set Diamond and Platinum Wedding Ring
Not Available In Denmark
Hand-Braided Platinum Wedding Ring
Hand-Braided Platinum Wedding Ring
Not Available In Denmark

Tungsten Wedding Rings

Modern metals recently entered the wedding ring field with Tungsten leading the pack as the epitome of tough. An alloy of tungsten and carbon bond to form an incredibly hard, scratch-resistant wedding ring. The abundance of natural tungsten also makes it extremely affordable and its stalwart nature highlights bold, masculine designs. It’s also non-reactive so it won’t discolor your skin or cause an allergic reaction.

While tungsten is a popular modern choice, all that resilience has a few downsides. Tungsten wedding rings can’t be resized or engraved and their color options are limited. They’re also the heaviest of all your wedding ring options. Tungsten can react to harsh chemicals and chlorine, so if you frequently swim indoors or work with industrial cleaning products, tungsten may not be the best choice. But if you’re looking for something affordable, stylistically modern and nearly indestructible, tungsten is a great option.

The Bottom Line:
Resilience: 5/5
Weight: Heavy
Selection: Ok
Price: $$

Sand Black Finish Wedding Ring
Sand Black Finish Wedding Ring
Not Available In Denmark

Titanium Wedding Rings

Trendy and abundant titanium ticks all the boxes for many men. This 99% pure alloy is far more versatile than tungsten and can be shaped into a variety of styles, including options that integrate other metals. Strong enough for commercial aircraft and hypoallergenic enough to be used medically, titanium is truly the superhero of metals. Bonus, it creates the lightest ring of any you’ll come across.

While far more durable than gold and platinum, titanium wedding rings can’t be resized and are more expensive than their modern metal counterparts. Like tungsten, however, this metal may be affected by industrial chemicals and chlorine. The appeal of titanium largely lies in its featherweight nature.

The Bottom Line:
Resilience: 3/5
Weight: Extremely light
Selection: Ok
Price: $$$

Two-Tone Titanium Wedding Ring
Two-Tone Titanium Wedding Ring
Not Available In Denmark

Cobalt Wedding Rings

Cobalt wedding rings are incredibly affordable especially considering that its luster rivals white gold, and it stands up to scratches and dents better than titanium and platinum. While similarly rated, cobalt is lighter than tungsten. It also offers more style options than many other modern metals.

The cons are similar to those for titanium and tungsten, with a limited selection of colors due to the metal’s unique resilience.

The Bottom Line:
Resilience: 3/5
Weight: Light
Selection: Ok
Price: $

Wood Inlay Cobalt Wedding Ring
Wood Inlay Cobalt Wedding Ring
Not Available In Denmark

Palladium Wedding Rings

Palladium is a relatively new trend in men’s wedding rings. Palladium offers the steely-white appeal and resilience of platinum but with added toughness—and a far less expensive price tag. Despite the test of time, it won’t lose its shine and its non-reactive properties mean it won’t tarnish or discolor skin. Palladium is also one of the only tough, modern metals that can be engraved.

Palladium’s rarity makes it relatively pricey amongst its peers and at the moment, the style options are limited.

The Bottom Line:
Resilience: 4/5
Weight: Light
Selection: Few
Price: $$$

Double Cut Comfort Fit Wedding Ring
Double Cut Comfort Fit Wedding Ring
Not Available In Denmark

Men’s Tantalum Wedding Rings

Tungsten’s neighbor on the periodic table of elements and with similar properties to platinum, tantalum is popular thanks to its affordability and durability. Its natural blue-grey color is coated in a matte black ceramic plating to give it a masculine and modern feel. Tantalum is hypoallergenic, widely used in medical applications and, unlike titanium, won’t be affected by caustic chemicals like industrial acids. It’s also heat resistant, so if you’re playing (or working) with fire, tantalum is a good choice.

Because of its unique hardness, tantalum rings can’t be resized or engraved. While tantalum can be controversial because it’s not always ethically mined and produced, all tantalum at Blue Nile is conflict-free. Like palladium, as a newer metal to enter the wedding ring arena, there simply aren’t a lot of styles out there. But despite the limited range of options, it’s worth a second look.

The Bottom Line:
Resilience: 4/5
Weight: Light
Selection: Few
Price: $$

Low Dome Comfort Fit Tantalum Wedding Ring

Hopefully, you’re on the way to deciding which option is right for you. But if you want to know more or need a little extra help, call or chat with one of our Diamond and Jewelry Experts any time, day or night. And make sure to #bluenilesparkle when you find your perfect wedding ring fit.

Thanks to our chemistry consultant, John Marklewicz. He holds a Master’s degree in Chemistry from California University of Pennsylvania and has 35 years of college and high school-level teaching experience.

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