Wedding Ring Metal Options

Learn about the different wedding ring metal options available from the experts at Zola.

By Jennifer Prince

gold wedding bands
Photo by Unsplash

Now that you’ve decided on your life partner, there are a whole host of other choices ahead: your wedding date, catering menu, and wedding invitation suite all need attention. But in the hustle and bustle of wedding planning, don’t let your jewelry fall to the wayside. Long gone are the days when platinum and gold were the only wedding ring metal options, so let’s explore the pros and cons of what’s available today.

1. Platinum

Pros: Platinum is one of the most desired metals on the market, and is also one of the purest. With its composition being up to 95 percent platinum, the alloy is known for its strength and bright silver—or white—hue. The metal is also naturally hypoallergenic and won’t tarnish over time.

Cons: Element #78 on the periodic chart is rare, which means it’s expensive. Platinum also weighs significantly more than other metals. As a result, a thick band may be cumbersome for those who use their hands frequently for work or hobbies.

2. Gold (White or Colored)

Pros: For those who want the look of platinum or prefer silver-toned jewelry, white gold is a fabulous option. Other popular colors include yellow and rose. Furthermore, different tones, such as green, exist by mixing pure gold with various alloys. Another plus is that gold is more accessible, therefore it’s a bit kinder on the budget.

Cons: Although it’s more economical than platinum, gold is still valuable and, therefore, pricey. The alloy is also a bit softer, which means it can scratch and show signs of wear over time. The good news: With a little buffing, a jeweler can easily restore its original luster.

Wedding Ring Metal Options Photo Credit // Unsplash

3. Palladium

Pros: Palladium is a naturally-occurring element bearing the symbol Pd. Like platinum, it is classified as a white metal. Palladium is often combined with other metals, such as silver, nickel, or chromium. This mixture produces a more durable alloy for non-tarnish jewelry.

Cons: Although palladium isn’t as rare or expensive as platinum, it’s still relatively pricey. And if you’re shopping for a Pd ring, it’s important to get your ring size correct—resizing palladium is difficult. The precious metal also tends to show more visible wear and tear.

4. Sterling Silver

Pros: As far as metals for jewelry making go, this is one of the most affordable. Sterling silver is one of the longest-standing members of our jewelry metals list and has been a staple for centuries. A rhodium plating can also be applied to silver to increase its durability.

Cons: For couples searching for non-tarnish jewelry, steer clear—sterling tends to darken over time. Although the blackening is easy to remove, most lifestyles call for low-maintenance rings. Sterling silver is also very malleable, which means that it can bend and scratch easier than sturdier metals.

5. Titanium

Pros: In its namesake song, “Titanium” refers to strength and durability, which accurately describes the metal. Due to its lightweight nature, it’s incredibly comfortable to wear, especially for those not used to jewelry. A titanium ring can be extremely affordable and is also naturally hypoallergenic.

Cons: Due to its strength, a titanium ring is nearly impossible to resize. It’s also slightly darker than other silver-toned metals—a negative for some.

6. Tungsten

Pros: Though titanium is lauded for its durability, tungsten is four times stronger. Therefore, these types of bands are ideal for those concerned about their ring getting knocked around at work or during a hobby. Tungsten is also hypoallergenic.

Cons: Because of its strength, a tungsten ring cannot be resized. As a result, body weight fluctuations or initial sizing mistakes can be extremely costly.

7. Stainless Steel

Pros: Stainless steel, known for its affordability, durability, and strength, is a relative newcomer in the jewelry market, but it’s steadily gaining popularity, as stainless steel jewelry can mimic more valuable silver-toned metals.

Cons: Like other tough alloys, stainless steel jewelry is difficult to resize. It also tends to show wear over time, though this can be remedied with a bit of polishing.

Wedding Ring Metal Options Photo Credit // Unsplash

8. Cobalt

Pros: Once reserved for industrial use, this white-toned metal is known for its stamina. Furthermore, it’s four times stronger than its more expensive counterpart, platinum, but it’s much more budget-friendly. Cobalt can also be passed off as white gold or platinum and is extremely scratch-resistant.

Cons: Like other highly durable metals, cobalt is nearly impossible to resize.

9. Zirconium

Pros: Interestingly enough, zirconium is a silver-toned alloy, yet treating it with heat gives it a permanent dark hue. This application applies to fine jewelry, which makes zirconium one of the more unique ring metal options. It’s also affordable and extremely durable.

Cons: Although black rings are increasing in popularity, it could make your band feel dated if it goes out of style. Again, due to its strength, it’s very labor-intensive to resize the metal.

Bonus: Silicon

Pros: Silicon rings are great for active lifestyles or as a secondary ring while exercising, near water, or working with machinery. These bands are easily replaceable due to their affordability. Silicon also comes in a variety of colors and patterns. Therefore, if you are looking to have a bit of fun with your ring, silicon is a terrific option.

Cons: It’s obviously not a metal, so some could argue that silicon shouldn’t make a jewelry metals list. A silicon band can also rip or tear more easily, and the stretchy substance has little to no value. Resizing isn’t possible or necessary due to its low replacement cost.

Which Wedding Ring Metal Is Right for You?

As you weigh wedding ring metal options, know what you’re getting into concerning durability, color, and cost. Making swaps in the construction, such as cobalt for platinum, can save you a bit of money when choosing your engagement ring style. As you consider the various metals for fine jewelry, being informed can help you choose the metal that fits with your budget and style. And one thing’s for sure: The more you know, the more quickly you can check this item off that ever-growing to-do list.