Educate a newbie on the various types of metals for wedding/engagement rings

What I know about jewelry you could fit into a…well, you get the idea. I rarely wear any jewelry at all - cheap or very expensive - so it’s very important I get something I like enough to wear all the time. At first glance, the obvious choice seems to be palladium, based on cost and appearance. I would obviously prefer platinum, but for two thousand smackaroos it had better floss my teeth at night. Also, there’s the worry I may lose it. I somehow inherited the ability to lose watches and jewlery, like my mom.

Regular gold and anything yellow-ish is out of the question, I just don’t like it.

Here’s what I need:

-Attractiveness. Obviously.
-Durability. I garden, I lift weights, I’m just rough on all of my stuff in general. Something that won’t scuff or scratch easily is ideal.
-Something stark, and bold. I don’t like the thin little bands for women I keep seeing. Maybe a thinner men’s band would do the trick. Any metal that is more suitable for looking stark would be a plus.
-Ability to undergo alteration. I’ll choose a cubic zirconia for now, and for our 10 year (or sooner) anniversary, we’ll get a real one. I don’t know how it works, but I don’t want the band itself to change, but perhaps to undergo a change in setting. Is that feasible? The fake rock would be roughly 1 carat.

What affordable options exist outside of palladium? Are there any factual websites to go along with choosing options - most of my (limited) googling has only turned up actual jewelry websites, obviously with an agenda.

What does a “comfort” ring mean? I see that word popping up a lot. I’ve never worn a comfortable ring, but I obviously haven’t tried a whole bunch on.

What websites are good for this sort of purchase (and obviously with a liberal return policy if I don’t like it)? I’m not (and he isn’t either, thankfully) opposed to used, pre-owned, or whatever euphemism exist for “already worn or purchased” rings, especially if the platinum would be feasible for half the retail price. I swore I saw a Smartmoney article on secondhand engagement rings awhile back, but searching the archives hasn’t netted me anything. Though I doubt many people get a decent band and then a fake rock, so I might not find what I’m looking for.

No reason to wish me well or anything; we both decided long ago that he would propose after he graduates in the spring. I just thought it might be good to know what I’m looking for in case those secondhand engagement ring sites are worthwhile (the season for engagements is around the holidays, so I figured rejects would start cropping up in the next few months).

Thanks for helping in advance!

Have you tried looking on Etsy? You can find platinum rings for less than two grand. You might also want to consider titanium as it is MUCH cheaper and just as durable. It’s not as “precious” and its main use is industrial (which seems to turn people off).

Also another good thing about Etsy is that a lot of the artists are willing to work with you if you want a particular type of design that is not on their site.

ETA: palladium is also a popular alternative these days, it seems - also more affordable than platinum, but looks pretty much the same (at least to me).

When my now-wife and I were picking out rings, she picked out a white gold ring from a website called Diamond Nexus Labs.

The diamonds are somewhere between 97 and 98% near real, and they’re made in a lab, instead of being ripped out of a hole by a 12 year old kid in some impoverished country. A fraction of the cost as well.

My ring is made of Tungsten Carbide. The ‘comfort’ feature you talked about is the cat’s ass. The inside of the ring has a gentile curve to it, instead of being flat all the way through, and it sits on your finger quite nicely.

Our wedding bands are Titanium with a silver inlay, we bought them from Titanium Concepts. Mine looks like a “Midas” but the band isn’t as thick, his looks like “Aztec.” I’m very hard on jewelry so it has to be tough. They’re very easy to work with and offer lots of options. I don’t think you can set in stones, or, not in the traditional prong setting (I think you can tension-set in Titanium).

My engagement ring is Palladium, which is a Platinum-Group Metal which is much less expensive than Platinum. We bought it from MoissaniteCo. (the stones are Moissanite and Tsavorite Garnet). They also sell nice Palladium wedding rings, and can easily do custom work for no additional charge (they have a CADCAM setup - you approve a 3D rendering).

I’m not a fan of white gold. It’s gold alloyed with nickel (which I’m allergic to) and plated with Rhodium (another PGM) which wears off so it has to be replated regularly to retain it’s brightness. With all those negatives, it costs the same as Palladium.

Platinum is probably the most common choice, after white gold, for white-metal rings. I personally don’t see the point over Pd, except for the “brand name” status.

You can also consider Tungsten (which I don’t know much about) and Stainless Steel rings.

Could you link to your particular engagement ring on the site (or just tell me the name and I’ll do a search for it). I really like the Midas. You have good taste :stuck_out_tongue:

How much different does the palladium and titanium look on your hand at the same time? IIRC, my mom’s engagement ring slips “into” her wedding ring. How common is that anymore? Which of your rings has proven “tougher” over the years?

I concur with you on white gold though, it’s not in the running. It looks cheap, and I’ve always had slightly swollen earlobes from cheap nickel jewelry.

I sound so stupid, but can you explain Etsy to me? Is it like ebay, or is a venue for artists only? I’ve never used it before. The budget is moreso under $1k though.

Diamond Nexus Labs, got it. Will check them out. So is it a real diamond or is it cubic zirconia? I thought manufactured diamonds weren’t on the market yet. Very interesting!

Ah, is the…cat’s ass a technical term? I like the sound of a curve to it.

Tungsten Carbide and Titanium and Tungsten as other materials, got it.

Thanks everyone! I didn’t expect such a speedy response.

Etsy is a website where artists can sell their stuff. You may hate me for introducing it to you because it’s pretty addictive and there are lots of shiny things to spend your money on.

When my husband and I got married 10 years ago, we had stainless steel wedding bands made. At the time that was totally unheard of, and we loved the being unique. These days they seem to be all over the internet, but I’d still do it again–we have a very stainless steel relationship, practical and everyday and solid and functional. And the fact that those things sound appealing to both of us is why we married each other.

Actually, my engagement ring is custom made, based off a different 3-stone setting they had… lucky for you, I saved my Rendering, cause I loooove it so much. There is one slight difference from the actual ring in that the stone is a slightly lighter color. The Tsavorite is not one of their regular stones but they had no problem getting one to my specifications, and it wasn’t pricey. The whole ring was about $1,000, and came with a 1 year loss-or-theft-or-damage warranty. If you see something that’s almost what you want, just jump on their live chat and see what they can do for you.

Now the 3 metals of my rings don’t match. I wear the engagement on my right because I have small hands and 2 rings on one finger just felt like “too many.” So matching isn’t an issue for me. The engagement/wedding rings that interlock are called “wedding sets” and they’re still fairly popular I think.

From “toughness” the different metals are about the same. I have the brushed finish on the wedding ring, and the polished finish on the engagement ring, so its kind of 2 different “looks” if you will. The Brushed look accumulates scratches that can’t be polished out at a corner jeweler but they end up looking like part of the finish. The guy at TC said that the scratches will go deeper in the silver part, but you can’t notice that. The Pd ring has some very tiny, subtle dings and dents (I mean, tiny ones) that the Titanium ring doesn’t have. You have to stare at it really closely to see that though.

I kind of have my hate on for Nexxus Labs because they just so wish they were making diamonds. I think some of their advertising is somewhat misleading. Something can’t be 95% “like a diamond.” It’s either an manufactured diamond or it isn’t. Their product isn’t. MoissaniteCo. which makes Moissanites – which are giant-sized versions of Silicon Carbide crystals which form naturally at meteor impact craters – straight up say they are not diamonds, they will never BE diamonds, love 'em or leave’em. :slight_smile:

BTW, the blanket term for Moissanites, Nexxus stones, Zirconias, White Sapphires and all clear, sparkly stones which are not-a-diamond, is “diamond simulant.”

I was all set to start posting about thrash and death and cookie monster vocals, then I saw the thread title was more than just “Educate a newbie on the various types of metal”. :confused::frowning:

My wedding band is my engagement ring, and it’s white gold. I like it, and it serves me well. If you’re looking for something extremely durable, my husband’s ring is tungsten, even tougher than titanium. He’s a chef, and working with his hands. I insisted he get that so he doesn’t ding it working with the pans and knives and such. Not a single scratch in almost a year, and it’s a very good looking ring.

Does anyone know what these Nexus stones are? The website is vague. Random google links say coated CZ. I have yet to see a cheapish source of colorless cultured diamonds.

I’ve always been partial to metals that I’ve used as catalysts. Unfortunately, rhodium is horribly expensive these days and I’ve heard iridium doesn’t make good jewelry. Still, I think it would be cool in a pinch to be able to dissolve that shit up if I need to do some C-H activation.:cool:

A friend who married recently also used tungsten. Supposedly you can take a hammer to it and it won’t dent (though the hammer might).

But I like Jewish curves… (no seriously I do).

Oh shit! I just caught that. Oops.

As far as I know there is no such source of inexpensive colorless manufactured diamonds; I feel like we had a thread on it recently, in fact. Apollo is probably the best-known maker of manufactured diamonds, but they really aren’t that cheap.

I have no idea what is a Nexus stone - part of general hate-on I’ve got for the company. If they won’t tell you what they’re selling, it’s probably bullshit – my general rule of thumb.

Since you work with your hands a lot, I strongly recommend picking a design that holds the stone under smooth bands of metal and NOT prongs. Even if your ring is well-enough made that the prongs don’t bend, you’ll spend the rest of your life catching it on things and being afraid they’re going to bend.

My mother’s engagement ring has a baguette-cut diamond in it, with smooth bands over the two corners. A much better choice.

I could talk about this for ages!

A really, really good source for second-hand jewelry, particularly hardly-used engagement/wedding rings (a lot of these ladies buy jewelry and then realize they want something else more, it’s pretty funny), many of which are in gold/platinum settings set with (very-well-cut) cz, is, which is an outgrowth of UBB Message, which themselves are message boards affiliated with, which sells diamond-coated cubic zirconia (which I have for my engagement ring because I can’t deal with the whole diamond thing, ssh, don’t tell my mom). However, usually the sales are final because they’re after all from other regular people (not professionals) who don’t want to deal with returns.

The discussion boards have a spot where people post reviews of sellers and buyers on the DiamondBistro, so you don’t have to buy blindly off some random person. Most of the people on there are also active on the boards. I’ve bought a bunch of things there and have never had any problems (but I’ve never bought off of anyone whom I hadn’t seen on the boards first).

Obviously the BTD folks have an agenda (they want you to buy their CZ) but they keep it to a minimum and the folks on the boards are very nice.

As for your question about metals: Titanium is strong and light and cheap; my husband has a titanium ring because he thought it was really cool. His was a bit pricier because he’s picky but you can find them (I believe) for under $100 new. The downsides are a) a regular jeweler isn’t going to be able to e.g. size them (for example my ring size changed when I got pregnant), and b) they’re a little hard to cut off so I wouldn’t recommend wearing them if you work with heavy machinery. I also don’t know about re-setting it; that might be difficult.

Platinum is heavy and expensive and durable and scratches easily; more durable than gold. Palladium, as people have said, is a cheaper alternative BUT a lot of jewelers will not work with Palladium because it’s apparently a bit finicky for metalworking, so make sure your jeweler does.

Silver is not recommended for a wedding ring that’s going to last for ages – it is too soft and not durable enough - Argentium silver is a little more durable, but still not as much as gold or palladium or platinum.

Be aware, Tungsten Carbide is very hard (so hard it is virtually scratch proof) but it is also much more brittle than any other metal used for rings. If you hit with a hammer it would probably crack. I’ve been told that the EMS technique on a TC ring is to shatter it with a vise rather than to cut through.

ETA: neither Titanium rings nor Stainless Steel rings presents any sort of safety hazard in terms of removal. Both can be cut off using equipment that is available at any ER.

Oh. My. God. Okay, that’s beautiful. Classy, timeless, unique, not those teeny thin bands I would crush by looking at it. But I won’t steal your ring. I may use yours as a starting point though :D. ETA: What’s the green rock?

If you lost your ring tomorrow and had to do it all over, would you get your ring from Moissanite again?

Hmm so maybe Tungsten or Titanium would be better for me. I help my mom rehab rentals now and again too. Let’s just say that one of the two of us put a hole in two (2!) of their ultrafine merino wool sweaters this weekend.

Talk about an education! Diamond stimulant, check. Different than an out-and-out fake, yes? I honestly don’t even know how I feel about a real diamond to begin with. I mean, jewelry just isn’t important to me. It holds no meaning for me, I’ve worn some of my mom’s crazy expensive stuff that costs as much as a luxury car and it…just makes me nervous I’ll lose it or screw it up. I don’t feel prettier or happier with it. I find diamond ads to be the opiate of the masses. Perhaps a diamond stimulant is just the right mix.

See I don’t work with my hands for work work, just for play on the weekends. But I hear what you’re saying. Could you give me an example of what you mean though, with it set under metal?

I’m not willing to admit how many times I’ve hit my finger with a hammer, so Tungsten’s outta the running.

Ahh, regular people are bad, cause I’d want a return policy. Know any sites or divisions of regular jewelry websites that are second=hand and returnable?

I want the ring base to last forever. I’m willing to alter it over the years, but if I start with X, I’m finishing with X. If we do the upgrade later, it would be for the stone/setting, not the band. The way I see it the adornments can be modified but the band itself shouldn’t be. Just my own mental thing.

My mother’s ring has been resized a billion times with birth and menopause and such and she barely fluctuates weight so I assume I’l be the same. So perhaps palladium is back in the running?

Thanks to EVERYONE. Wow, I did not expect such a strong response. Slowly but surely I’m learning from everyone. 99% of what’s out there is geared toward buying and not well-thought out learning, understanding, choosing, and then purchasing. I know what I like to look at but that’s really only a very small part of what I feel is the most important purchase he’ll make and I’ll choose. I find it amusing that we get new computers every few years that cost more than this purchase will.