There are about five activities that my fiance can usually be found doing: browsing at a home improvement store, drooling over golf clubs at a sporting equipment store, cruising car lots, making sure his lawn looks the best on the block, and showing off his mad skills as a grill master. If he ever says he's bored, I can usually suggest one of those things, and he's entertained and occupied for quite a while.
This Sunday morning, we were reading the paper and drinking our coffee, and I asked him what he wanted to do that day. "I want us to go buy our wedding bands," was his prompt answer. Though I didn't want to make a huge deal out of it at the time, this was a totally unexpected answer to my question. I could have made a big deal out of it and pointed out to him that this fell outside of his realm of the usual suspects of weekend activities, I didn't because the idea sounded great to me, and I didn't want to spoil it or make him self concious.
Anyhoo, we ended up heading to our jewelers where my fiance had gotten my engagement ring. We decided to stick with the same place because we have received great customer service, and also that way, all of our jewelry would be protected by the same plans with the same account and what not.
My fiance and I have much in common in our shopping practices...we usually do research, read reviews, and dwell over choices for a while before selecting anything. This process goes for clothes, electronics, food, health and beauty, so certainly, I was worried that my fiance would have a hard time picking out his wedding band. Over at the men's counter we were confronted with many choices. Since the price of gold has skyrocketed lately, there have been many new metals used in ring production to offer couples something still beautiful while a little more affordable.
With so many choices, we were glad to have the help of a lovely saleswoman who asked us many questions to help narrow down the ring. Here's some of what she asked us to consider:
Are you tough on your hands (aka at work, at home, playing sports)? - If you work with your hands or work with heavy machinery, you'll want to consider looking at rings that can stand up to a beating. Also, and while this may be a little morbid it's something to consider, if your ring ever needs to be cut off because of a smooshed hand or something, you'll need a metal that is cutable.
Do you want something traditional or something a little different in the design? - While a traditional band is always a classic, many men are chosing to go with a ring that has a design or a different shape. Jewers have caught on to this, and most offer a great selection in designs. Just remember that this will be the ring that you'll wear for life, so make sure it's something that you'll like even when you're an old man!
Are there any cultural or ethnic symbols that you'd like to have represented in a wedding band? - Celtic and claddagh bands are very popular right now to represent Irish herritage, for example, and it doesn't stop there. Many bands are avaialble that have symbolic representation of faith or culture, so if that's your thing, take a look to see what may appeal to you!
What metal is right for you? - Not only have men's rings become more varied in design, they have also become more varied in materials.
- Titanium - A natural silver-greyish colored metal is lightweight and hypoallergenic. It is also very strong, dent resistant, scratch resistant, and bend resistant which may make it more appealing if you are hard on your hands. Titanium rings are very much so more affordable than gold rings right now due to the hike in the price of gold. The big downfall? Titanium rings CANNOT be resized due to their strong metal properties. Everyone's fingers can go up and down in size depending on temperature, weight changes, and aging, so if you choose to go with a Titanium ring and your fingers change, you may end up not being able to wear your original wedding band.
- Tungsten - A pure element that is four times harder than titanium and nearly ten times harder than gold. It is absolutely scratch resistant, and the polish will not wear off even after many years. Like titanium, tungsten rings are much more affordable than gold rings. The big downfall? Often Tungsten is mixed with a nickel or cobalt to make an alloy suitable for commercial ring production. Many people have a nickel allergy, yours truly included, and this could really be a bummer if a wedding ring caused you to have a reaction whenever you wore it. Also, because the metal is so strong, if hit by a strong enough force, it would not bend; it would chip, fracture, or even shatter. Just like titanium rings, tungsten rings cannot be resized, and they cannot be engraved.
- Gold - One of the most desirable precious metals for rings, gold has been used in jewelry making for centuries because of its moldable properties along with the desired coloration. Pure gold is very moldable and is rarely used due to the softness making way for dents and bending. Often copper, zinc, nickel, or silver are added to make the gold 22K, 18K, and 14K with the lower numbers being stronger with less pure gold and more alloy mixed in. Because of its maleability (aka bendability), gold rings can be resized or even recoated if they become scratched or wear thin. The big downfall? Currently gold prices have spiked, so if you desire a gold wedding band, be prepared to fork out much more than you would for other metals.
- Platinum - A silvery-white metal that has become popular in jewelry making lately, platinum is 35 times more rarer than gold. It is hypo allergenic and extremely durable. It resists tarnishing, and its luminescent properties make this metal shine more than others. The big downfall? Platinum is rare, thus it will cost more than a gold band.
With the help of the saleswoman and trying on a few rings, my fiance and I were both able to find the right ring for us, and we love them! My fiance isn't usually excited about accessories, but he has mentioned several times since our shopping experience that he's excited about his band. And I have to say, he looks reaaaaaaaaaallly good with that wedding band on. I think we picked the right one for us!
What's the right band for you?