White gold, platinum, rose gold…there are so many different kinds of ring metals to choose from! Every decision you make about a ring, from the cut and carat of the diamond to the type of metal band, will influence the value of your ring and thus the wedding ring insurance coverage you’ll need. Below, we take a look at some of the most popular types of metals for rings; which one is right for you? Remember, it isn’t all about price – aesthetics should be a big part of your choice!
Gold is the reigning metal for engagement rings, according to TheKnot.com’s annual bridal survey in 2013. 72% of engagement rings were white gold, and 6% were yellow gold. There are several elements that go in to choosing a gold ring. The first is karat. Typical rings range from 14-karat gold to 18-karat gold. The higher the karatage, the purer the gold is. 24-karat gold isn’t usually offered; gold is a soft, pliable metal, so a 24-karat ring would be more prone to damage. On the other hand, while lower karatage gold is more durable, some people are sensitive to the alloys that gold is mixed with, and can have an allergic reaction.
One of the best features of gold is the wide variety of colors available. The color of the gold depends on the alloy it is mixed with. White gold rings are often made from yellow gold plated in rhodium, a white metal which will wear off over time. The soft, delicate hue of rose gold comes from copper. The more copper alloy in the ring, the deeper the shade of rose.
Platinum and Palladium
According to The Knot, platinum represents 15% of the engagement ring market. Platinum is rare and difficult to mine, and is heavier than gold, so these rings are typically cost more per ounce. 10 tons of ore must be mined and then processed for five months to produce just one ounce of platinum. However, it’s durable, strong, and very pure; platinum is 95% pure and usually alloyed with palladium, while 18-karat gold is only 75% pure. Its pure white color enhances the tint and shade of your center stone, and it can withstand plenty of wear and tear. Platinum is hypoallergenic, and won’t irritate the skin.
Palladium offers many of the benefits of platinum without the hefty price tag. It’s also durable and hypoallergenic. Palladium rings are resistant to tarnish, but will have a darker, more gray tone than the bright white of platinum. However, palladium is not common and is considered a specialty item.
Tungsten and Tungsten Carbide
Tungsten is a strong, durable material that is very resistant to scratches. This is an especially popular choice for men’s rings (27% of grooms purchased a tungsten ring in 2011), particularly men who work with their hands or heavy machinery. Unlike other metals, tungsten doesn’t need nearly as much maintenance; polish a tungsten ring once in a while, and it will sparkle for months afterward.
Many tungsten rings are mixed with carbon alloys, resulting in tungsten carbide. Tungsten wedding bands will not bend, and they cannot be resized, so if you’re choosing this metal for your ring, make sure that you have carefully measured your finger. Luckily, these rings are fairly inexpensive, so if you do need to purchase a new one, you won’t break the bank.
One drawback to tungsten carbide rings is the weight. Tungsten is 90% heavier than steel, so these rings certainly have some heft. For a lightweight metal that’s just as strong and resilient as tungsten, try titanium, which is 43% lighter than steel.
There is no one ‘best’ metal for a ring, and any ring, regardless of what it’s made of, can be lost, scratched, stolen, or misplaced. Make sure you’re protected with wedding ring insurance, and get the appropriate documentation describing the ring in detail. That way, if you ever do need to file a wedding ring insurance claim, your ring may be repaired or replaced to those exact specifications.