The emergence of non-traditional materials within the world of wedding bands has revolutionized a centuries-old tradition. Gone are the days of deciding between silver, gold and platinum. Modern alloys, composite substrates and new applications of organic materials have created endless variations on one of the oldest accessories on earth. It’s wonderful, but can be confusing, so here we’ll help you sort it out. Consider the following your primer for choosing a ring material that goes beyond basics.
With it’s origins in industrial manufacturing, titanium may seem like an unexpected fashion icon. But that’s exactly what it has become thanks to its combination of lightweight performance, superior strength and durability. Titanium is hypoallergenic and can be developed to achieve a wide range of textures, styles and coloring, from bright, reflective tones to dark, muted mattes. Bottom line, if you want a super lightweight and durable ring at an incredible value, take a look at titanium.
Stainless steel is not as strong as titanium, but is scratch resistant. It is extremely durable and bright, but can be subject to rusting unless you commit to a minor amount of upkeep from time to time. It certainly strikes a sentiment of masculinity and minimalism due to its industrial origins. Like titanium, it is hypoallergenic and will retain its luster for a lifetime.
This bright white metal is often compared to platinum in coloring and may even resemble white gold. The big benefit, of course, is that it’s far more cost-effective, while being highly scratch resistant. Cobalt has a rating of 5 on the Mohs scale of gemstone hardness, making it four times harder than platinum and five times harder than gold. They also are one of the only alternative metals that can be sized up (as much as a half size) without adding metal. One minor trade-off is that it is slightly heavier than titanium rings of similar designs.
Only a few manufactures, such as Støberi, offer bent wood as part of custom ring design. These woods are featured as interiors or inlays, with an additional material, such as titanium, serving as the main housing. When wood is bent around the interior of a ring, rather than being machined out, it offers greater strength and durability, as well as a better display of the natural grain. To increase its durability, these rings must be treated with a water-resistant coating. Still, we highly recommend removing these rings when the hand is exposed to moisture (i.e. showering, swimming, etc.) or the ring will warp and require refurbishment.
Carbon fiber has a very high strength-to-weight ratio, which is why it is applied to everything from high-end sporting equipment to military products. The same reasons carbon fiber makes great bicycles and bulletproof vests also set it up to be an incredibly resilient ring material. Through the use of hand-wound carbon fiber, rings are able to achieve a variety of finishes that feel both modern and timeless. Carbon fiber is often paired with a second material, including modern metals like titanium and natural elements, such as exotic bent wood.
So Now What?
There is no one right way to go. Choosing a ring is a personal decision that should reflect your aesthetic, your lifestyle and, above all, your commitment to the one you love. So listen to the advice of others but, ultimately, look to your heart and trust your gut.