Wedding Ring Material Selection

The last time I got married choices were pretty simple: Some precious metal that I could barely afford. (The time I married before that predates the discovery of the circle, so we won’t talk about it.)

Now there’s the traditional gold, silver, platinum and a plethora of other metals and non-metals. Tungsten carbide, titanium, steel, ceramics… the list goes on.

I’m leaning toward tungsten carbide with an inlay of gold. Local jewelers–who have a vested interest in upselling me–warn me that dropping the ring onto a tile floor might shatter it. Internet sellers–who have a vested interest in selling me whatever I click on–seem to feel this isn’t likely and various warranties are available.

So, after a suitable time lurking on the SDMB and seeing the caliber of posts here, it occured to me that you people might be willing to share your opinions as to your experiences/satisfacttion with non-traditional ring materials.

As this is my first post, I’m not sure of the proper protocols for bribes and gratuities so I’ll just make some drinks and food available at my place…

I have had a tungsten carbide wedding ring for 3 years now and it is still without a scratch. It won’t deform, bend or scratch. It has a nice heft to it like a precious metal should and I really like it. I am a guy, it’s a man’s ring.

I really don’t see it as being so fragile you could break it without using something like a vice-grip plyer to crunch it. I have whacked it against things pretty good. Be sure to order the correct size for your finger as they cannot be re-sized.

Great rings for an active guy, you don’t have to worry about harming it, they are fairly indestructable and unmarkable.

Thanks, ghardester, that’s the kind of feedback I was looking for. I visited one web site where they do talk about (and even have a video of) using a Vice Grip to shatter one, ostensibly to show how to remove one in an emergency and will probably go out of my way not to get Vice Grips attached to any part of my body.

Thanks again.

Our wedding rings are Titanium with a silver inlay. We bought them from (similar to Midas & Aztec, the names were different then, LOL!). Excellent service.

I’m very hard on jewelry, and allergic to nickel, so it was a good choice for me over white gold. It has a “greyish” tone to it that I find attractive and a pretty contrast to the silver. People sometimes comment on it as it is a bit unusual for a woman’s ring.

I didn’t really look into Tungsten Carbide. It is sometimes alloyed with nickel and I didn’t want to mess around with that. I don’t think its really so fragile it will just break from being dropped. I always heard the thing about cracking it with pliers.

Tungsten carbide is what they make high-strength drill bits out of; I can’t imagine it shattering from a drop onto a hard floor.

Mine is a nicely geeky tungsten carbide ring with a carbon fiber inlay. Only had it about a year, but it’s still as shiny and scratch-free as the first day I put it on; the white gold ring I used to have, by contrast, was scratched to hell and worn smooth after the first year.

Another geeky metal to consider: meteoric iron. Metal from the stars, baby. That site’s just an example, there are lots of dealers if you search.

They aren’t running any ‘Cash for Tungsten Carbide’ commercials on the TV.

The musician Dave Matthews and his wife found pennies from the years they were born, and had them melted and fashioned into rings. I read an interview in which Matthews said the copper tarnishes but will shine if he plays with it. Really a lovely idea, on a lot of levels. Copper is soft, though, so I wonder whether the metal is bonded to one more durable.

Oh lordy. I mean “vise grip.” Of course. A “vice grip” can only lead to a meeting with the judicial system at some point.

Thanks to subsequent responders. Now I have even more to look at. (Meteorites? Would not have thought of that in a long, long time.) Still thinking about Tungsten Carbide, but now I (at the risk of hijacking my own thread) am seeing conflicting reports about alloy containing nickel vs. cobalt!

We went more-or-less traditional: my rings are white gold, and his is a combination of white, yellow and pink gold. His ring does not match mine at all; that wasn’t a requirement for us. Since my engagement ring didn’t come with a matching wedding band, we were able to have one custom made by a goldsmith rather easily. For us, the style of ring was more important than the materials; my rings have some really nice filigree that I haven’t really seen in tungsten carbide or titanium rings, and his is very nicely carved/imprinted through the three bands of coloured gold.

I had a friend who got copper poisoning from wearing a copper chain as a necklace. The chain was not originally intended to be jewelry however. I am not sure if the copper was absorbed through his skin or if he was sucking on the necklace (ew!), but I would be careful nonetheless.

My wife and I got white gold rings just three years ago. My ring is already starting to turn yellowish. Apparently, you need to have white gold re-dipped every few years to have it maintain the colour. We weren’t told that when we bought the rings, btw. I wouldn’t buy white gold again.

For what it’s worth, you can also shatter a diamond by dropping it onto a tile floor or doing something similar. My grandmother hit her ring against a door knob and cracked the central diamond into three pieces.

This makes me think that (contrary to advertising) nothing actually lasts forever and that you should get whatever looks good to you and fits the budget.

My ring (I’m a male) is only slightly non-traditional. It’s all gold, but it uses different colors of gold - apparently, gold from different parts of the world can have slightly different hues naturally. Most of it is white gold, with an inlay of natural golds that vary from traditional yellow to an almost coppery color. It’s pretty hard to describe and I don’t recall the designer’s name. It has fared pretty well over ten years, but there are some dings and scratches. The ring was a little expensive for the amount of gold it contained, but still gets a lot of comments and I consider it money well spent.

My brother got something nontraditional. Maybe carbide… I can’t really remember. It’s more of a black metal and I’m not too fond of it - but he likes it.

In regards to the Dave Matthews copper ring: You’d have to be old enough to make that work. Anyone born after 1982 would wind up with a zinc ring. :slight_smile:

Yes, the typical “white gold” is actually plated in Rhodium to give it bright shine. It wears off.

BTW, you can get Palladium at a similar price to white gold (quite often cheaper); it is a platinum-group metal with many of the properties of plat at a cheaper price. To many people, it’s indistinguishable – only one old crusty Russian jeweler immediately recognized my ring wasn’t Plat because its too light. Tarnish free, hypoallergenic, strong, bright silver color, harder than platinum and does not need replating, ever. Plus, Palladium, named for Pallas Athene and the asteroid Pallas, stands for intelligent women. :slight_smile:

This wedding-related public service announcement was brought to you by the symbol Pd, and the atomic number 46 :smiley:

Ours are stainless steel: we have a stainless steel sort of marriage, solid, dependable, not really romantic or exotic. We love them.

I have what you describe in your OP: tungsten carbide with a yellow gold inlay.

Well, actually I have two, as I lost a lot of weight and you can’t resize them. Mine is a man’s band, as I work with my hands. It exactly matches my husband’s except for size. The tungsten has held up very well, even if I bang it around. The gold has burnished itself to sort of a dull roar; the first few months, it showed scratches, but now it’s all sort of even.

I preferred the weight of the tungsten to titanium. I wanted to feel it.

Yeah, that was important to me too. A friend has a titanium ring and it is a lot lighter. And I know that it is just subjective, but I like the heavier feel of the tungsten carbide.

The one I have is a Triton brand.

Titanium is very light compared to tungsten - W is one of the densest metals, Ti one of the lest dense.

Regarding tungsten carbide’s brittleness - yes, it is brittle because it is extremely hard, but it is very strong too.

Diamond isn’t all that - it’s actually thermodynamically unstable; graphite is the preferred allotrope, so those of you with $50,000 diamond rings, you know they are gradually turning into pencil lead right (just very, very slowly).

You can also burn diamonds in an oxygen rich environment - a little LOx and a diamond and a match and you can have quite a expensive little flare going.

If you want to go properly geek-flashy, get an osmium alloy ring.

Male here.

My wedding band is an ‘inner’ ring of 18k gold, with an external band a bit narrower of titanium.

I liked the look and contrast of colours. However in terms of durability I’ve been a little surprised at how marked up the titanium has become. There are quite a few scratches and marks in the titanium after three & a bit years. Although given its colouring you have to look pretty close to see the marks I suppose.

I’m not all that tough on it I don’t think (I’m not a tradie or anything), and somewhere in the back of mind when I bought it I expected the titanium to be all but scratch proof given most of the stuff it would have been scratched buy is just general home and office surfaces.

I got my tungsten ring at I think foor a really goood price. It was about $90 with shipping and handling.

I was told a titanium band is bad to have because it cannooot be cut off a ring should the need ever arise. Is that true?

Greedy: titanium scratches just like stainless steel, it’s just very light and strong like aluminium which is what makes it good for making aircraft out of.

Rand: this is one of those common stories that circulates. It is harder to cut and machine than steel, or gold or any other precious metal, but the fire brigade, hospital or whoever needs to cut it off in the event of an emergency will be able to do so. It’s not impossible to cut through by any means. It’s just a pain to work with (it blunts your normal HSS tools something fierce).