When men come in to the store to make their decision on a wedding band, most of them think that the decision will be an easy one. They don’t know that men’s bands come in so many different metals. Here are the pros and cons of some of the most popular metals.
GOLD(14 or 18 karat) PROS: 1) As a precious metal it has value and has a better chance of retaining its value: 2) Can be soldered, sized, and re-formed by jewelers, so you don’t have to replace your ring if you gain/lose 20 pounds; 3) Has a nice weight to it, not too heavy but not too light. CONS: 1) More expensive than non-precious metals; 2) Softer metal, so it scratches. (At the same time, jewelers know how to buff gold and get it back to its former glory.)
TITANIUM PROS: 1) Very inexpensive (You can buy a wedding band for $100.); 2) Resists scratching better than gold; 3) Hypoallergenic, so it won’t react with sensitive skin; 4) Natural rather than a compound metal. CONS: 1) Light weight, so it has kind of a “cheap” feel; 2) Cannot be soldered or sized.
COBALT CHROME PROS: 1) Looks and feels like white gold, because it has a similar weight and color; 2) Hypoallergenic; 3) Resists scratching even better than titanium. CONS: 1) More expensive than titanium, but less expensive than gold; 2) Cannot be sized or soldered.
TUNGSTEN CARBIDE (aka TUNGSTEN) PROS: 1) Extremely scratch resistant; 2) Comes in different colors–white, black, and gray; 3) Hypoallergenic; 4) Very inexpensive CONS: 1) Cannot be soldered or sized; 2) Cannot be cut off your finger in an emergency, but instead must be cracked using vise grips; 3) Can shatter if dropped; 4) Heavy weight, so can feel uncomfortable.
To give you an example of cost, I called a company we work with and asked for prices on a basic men’s ring, size 10. The titanium version was $105, the cobalt chrome was $225, and the 14 karat white gold version was $850. They didn’t make a tungsten carbide version, and there’s a very good reason for that.
The man who patented tungsten carbide is currently involved with many lawsuits because of what he calls “copy-cat” Chinese manufacturers. Tungsten carbide rings are either made in China and exported to the U.S., or they are made by companies that pay royalties to the inventor. It’s a complicated situation, and the company we work with doesn’t want to be involved. However, the company makes rings out of tungsten ceramic, which is a different compound than tungsten carbide.
There’s a lot to know about men’s wedding bands, and picking the metal is one of the main decisions each couple must make. My suggestion is to pick a precious metal like gold, or even platinum. Your ring is a symbol of your union, which you plan to have for the rest of your life. You’ll be happier with a timeless, classic ring that can also be with you through life.