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4 min read

The act of exchanging vows and rings during a wedding ceremony is a richly symbolic act that brings tears to the eyes of your guests. After all, it's the rings that secure your union and let the world know that, yes, you are married! Unlike most other aspects of the wedding, preserved only through memories and photos, your rings will endure through all your years of wedlock and are physically present every day.

Since rings will be with you for such a long time, hopefully forever, how do you choose them wisely? It's true many things could go wrong, but with a little education on metals, stones, and an overall assessment of your personal style, the choice becomes easier and much more fun.

Metals 101

The first choice is what kind of metal is best for your wedding sets. The most popular wedding ring metals are gold, platinum, and titanium, but they're not your only choices. Silver, stainless steel, and new and novel materials like black zirconium and carbon fiber are a few popular examples of wedding ring metals quickly replacing the traditional options.

Gold wedding bands

Gold wedding rings, the classic choice, come in a range of hues besides the traditional yellow gold. You'll also find white gold, which is more of a silvery shade because it's mixed with nickel or palladium, and the copper-toned rose gold. The amount of gold inside the metal also varies. Usually, you can choose between 10K gold or 14K gold, paying a higher price for the 14K gold. 18K is also available. Note that the higher karat rating means more gold is in the metal, making it more durable and valuable than the lower-gold options. Since gold is soft and easy to scratch, the higher karat is a better choice.

Other metals

If you like the idea of going against the gold standard, you just need some basic facts before making a choice. Damascus steel, one popular option, is made by forging two different kinds of stainless steel and then folding and twisting the metals. The combination of the two creates one-of-a-kind patterns that resemble wood grain.

Platinum, which has a silver tone, is stronger and heavier than gold and is often more expensive, but it doesn't wear away as easily as gold. Platinum wedding sets usually come in 950 purity, which is 95% platinum. This means that the ring will maintain its shine and color for many years with proper care.

Titanium, steel-grey or black, is lightweight, strong, and durable. It doesn't rust or tarnish, making it easy to maintain. It's also hypoallergenic, making it popular with people who have skin sensitivities. Titanium wedding sets are more affordable than their precious metal counterparts.

Does it have to be diamonds?

There's no rule that you must include a diamond in your wedding set, especially for men's rings, and there are many men's wedding bands with stone accents. Besides diamonds, look for rubies, emeralds, white topaz, sapphires, or synthetic stones like moissanite. A particular stone might have a special meaning in your relationship, for example, and makes the ring more meaningful.

For women's rings, diamonds in both the engagement ring and wedding band are traditional and often expected. Sadly, the price tag on real diamonds can consume large portions of the wedding budget. The good news is that advances in lab technologies have brought high-quality and beautiful synthetic options to the market. Lab Diamonds, white topaz, white sapphire, and moissanite wedding sets are a great option for the pragmatic bride, and no one will know they're aren't the "real thing" (unless you tell them).

When choosing a non-diamond stone for your wedding rings, you need to give the stone the same considerations that you would for any other piece of jewelry. Look at the cut, color, clarity, and carat weight to ensure that it looks great with your wedding set.

Jewelry styles

Although wedding rings and bands are often simple in basic design, there's still plenty of opportunities to express yourself through your personal style. The musician John Mayer once pointed out that guys get two opportunities for jewelry -- wedding rings and watches -- so men should embrace the chance and start browsing for a ring they want to live with for life.

If you're looking for something that shows your sense of adventure, for example, try rings made of meteorite, which is the result of a crazy asteroid collision. This metal is usually gray or black and often includes some beautiful swirls that you'll discover upon close inspection. Some styles are mixed with other materials like dinosaur bones, guitar strings, or whiskey barrels!

You can also express yourself with modern design in less-outrageous ways. Try a hammered wedding band for a bohemian look or a black titanium wedding ring for a sleek and modern statement. If you like a more luxurious styling, explore inlaid designs, colorful gems, and 18K gold wedding bands. For a little interest, choose a texture or pattern that catches the light or just looks cool. If you're the classic type, stick with simple gold wedding rings or go for platinum bands with subtle striping. There's no wrong answer when it comes to wedding ring styles, so try our ring design tool and get creative.

Ready to shop?

When it comes to wedding rings, there's no one perfect answer. It's important to think about what you want and what your partner wants before making a decision. With so many options available, you're sure to find the perfect set of wedding rings that reflect your unique relationship. Find out your ring size and shop our men's wedding rings and wedding bands for more inspiration!