Saturday, July 25, 2009

10 Materials for Wedding Rings

  • Gold has been a favourite metal for wedding rings for centuries and is set for a fresh lease of life as traditional yellow gold comes back into vogue. Its popularity comes from its intrinsic value – gold has been used as a currency since before Roman times – and its attractiveness. 9 carat gold is cheapest (because more other non-precious metals are mixed in with it) and 18 and 22 carat gold more expensive. White gold remains popular for wedding rings, but requires more maintenance because its rhodium plating wears off quite easily.
  • Silver is another metal that has long been popular because of its inherent value as a metal. It is an attractive white metal, and relatively inexpensive compared to gold. This makes it a good substance for fashion jewellery, but it is rarer to see silver wedding rings. It scratches easily and has a tendency to wear thin over time.
  • Wood is growing in popularity, especially with the green-minded, as it signifies a commitment to the Earth as well as to each other. Its benefits are that it is cheap and relatively easy to craft your own wedding ring from wood. On the down side, wood hasn’t got anything near metal’s durability, can be hard to keep clean, and has no intrinsic value.
  • Titanium is a relative newcomer to the British wedding ring market but increasingly popular with men because of its strength and durability and the popularity of titanium watch straps and cases.
  • Stainless Steel has yet to gain popularity as a metal for a wedding ring but as precious metals become scarcer it will gain increasing recognition. It is highly durable, if a little heavy; will remain free from rust but – as with all metals – will show signs of scratching.
  • Hula Hoop crisps have been used by generations of primary school children in mock marriage ceremonies since time immemorial and had to be mentioned.
  • Zirconium is another newcomer to the world of wedding rings. As a sister metal to Titanium, it has all the same qualities – being hypoallergenic, lightweight and strong. When heat-treated, Zirconium forms a black, ceramic-like, oxide coating that is extremely resistant to scratches (although scratches, and dents, will eventually appear in time).
  • Tungsten – yes, the stuff they make light bulb filaments from – is another potential wedding ring material. It is extremely hard, scratch-resistant and durable and will keep its appearance for years. Unfortunately, its hardness is such that a tungsten ring cannot be removed in an emergency – meaning the only option will be to destroy either the ring or the wearer’s finger.
  • Palladium is similar to platinum, with practically the same properties but at a fraction of the cost. For some reason, though, it has not taken off as a wedding ring material, and you may struggle to find a jeweller who sells palladium wedding rings.
  • Platinum wedding rings have increased in popularity over the last twenty years. Platinum like combine the whiteness of white gold with the durability of titanium – and as a result are comparatively expensive.
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