Men wearing wedding rings is not as ancient a tradition as many of us would expect. While the act of a man placing a ring-like object on his chosen female partner’s finger is a practice that dates back to pre-historic times (when the affair was concluded with some very affordable pieces of reed twisted together), the man’s wedding ring is a modern construct originating in just the twentieth century.
It is perhaps for this period of short time that men have had to digest that they, too, ought to wear a symbol of their marital union that so many are not comfortable wearing one.
Another reason, one more eagerly accepted by most males, is that rings seem to land squarely in the category of Jewellery. That categorisation is not a sexist one at all because it is readily embraced by the majority of both women and the unfairer sex.
Men’s wedding rings started becoming popular in the United States and Europe during the early half of the 1900s. Millions of men were headingout to war in distant places, unsure whether they would return or what they would be returning to. The rings on their fingers served as a potent symbol of what – and for whom – they were fighting for.
The ring exchange ceremony became a mainstay of most Western marriages and the ritual rapidly spread in the modern world. It is now seen in ceremonies the world over, practised by people of all faiths, creeds and ethnicities.
Many people cite Hollywood as compelling factor for the rising trend, an entirely justifiable conclusion for anyone who has sat through the romantic comedies that the movie factory has produced over the last forty years.
Still, the modern man has to contend with the rather mystifying and seemingly complex myriad choices of rings presented to him when the time does come to take the plunge. Without a guiding hand, it is easy to get lost in the maze of options of material, designs, patterns, gems and colours.
But then you have us.
“Here, we systematically break down your main options because choosing a ring is a mixture of science and art. The science part is not limited to just finding a ring wide enough to go on your finger; it is as relevant to your lifestyle and work, and we will explain that in detail.”
Your personality, likes, dislikes and preferences play a large role in helping you decide on the ring with which you are happiest.
We use a system of seven factors that will help you narrow down the list and make a final decision for you men’s wedding ring. They are:
01. Your Work
Perhaps you are surprised that the list begins with Work. We discovered very quickly that a man’s work is by far the most important factor in his choice of wedding ring and our years of experience have proven it time and again.
To decide if a ring is appropriate for your work, here are the questions you must ask yourself:
Is the ring appropriate for the place where I work
The best men’s wedding rings for an office environment, a workshop and the outdoors vary widely. If you only handle pens and paper and type on a keyboard at work every day, you have an extremely wide range of ring options open to you.
If, on the other hand, your occupation requires you to handle machinery and the grease, oil and grime that comes with them, your range of choices for men’s wedding rings is narrower. The same goes for those who have to work with chemicals and/or with nature, as is the case with gardeners or botanists and zoologists.
It is not only the fact that certain workplaces are more likely to expose your hands and your ring to substances that may affect the appearance and the integrity of your wedding band, you must also factor in the possibility that certain ring designs are more likely than others to get caught in equipment and machinery.
Will wearing your ring while handling delicate plants and animals harm or damage them? Might the texture, design or material of your men’s wedding ring affect them adversely in another way?
The answers to those questions will not only help you decide which rings you can wear but also which ones to avoid.
In such cases, many men forego the wearing of the wedding ring on their finger. Instead, they remove the ring completely or wear it on a chain.
The latter option poses its own limitations on the type of ring – rings that have intricate work or softer inlays may have the designs abraded off and damaged by constant contact with a chain.
It is only after you contend with how you will be wearing your men’s wedding ring that you should choose its design features. Ignoring this may mean that you end up with a man’s wedding ring that is neither practical nor wearable.
02. Your Play
There is no point in having to choose between the activities you love and wearing your ring. Spend some time considering whether your choice of wedding ring is compatible with the lifestyle you lead.
Do I lead an active lifestyle
Are you an avid mountaineer who is exposed to vast differences in temperature? Are you a spelunker or a rock climber whose hands are in constant contact with hard natural formations? Are you a boxer or an MMA enthusiast? Or do you simply prefer the likes of gardening?
For various reasons, wearing a ring can be detrimental in all those activities. Extremes of temperature, repeated impact and exposure to the elements in common soil all have the potential to damage a man’s wedding ring and/or cause injury to the digit on which it is worn.
In certain sports, participants may be required to divest themselves of all accessories to ensure the safety of everyone in the arena.
The more active a lifestyle you lead, the more considerations you will have to make when you choose your man’s wedding ring.
03. Your Personality
The more closely what you wear aligns with your personality, the more likely you are to wear it and the more likely you are to feel at ease wearing it. That works for all items of your wardrobe, including your wedding ring.
A wedding ring is unique in that it transcends being just a symbol of your love or a fashion accessory; it is a combination of the two. The best choice of wedding ring will allow you to showcase your bond with your partner as well as your personality.
There are so many varieties of designs and materials for wedding rings available that you will be able to find one that is the perfect balance of both.
-You like understated elegance
For the man who prefers to project an air of quiet refinement, simple bands with minimalist designs or those devoid of them altogether might be the most attractive option. For the traditionalist, the timeless classic, the gold band can allow him to maintain his distinguished look while also imbuing the sophistication and class of gold.
Similar modest designs are also available with titanium and platinum rings. For those wishing to achieve the look with a more restrained budget can look at tungsten rings and tantalum rings which also come in simple, classic designs.
-You like elegance combined with some flair
You don’t like to flaunt your accessories but classic single colour, single metal and unadorned men’s wedding rings bore you (and perhaps, even more importantly, your fiancée). In that case, multi-toned or patterned rings might be the answer.
Besides adding another colour or another metal, or inlaying with a different material, models can have patterned edges or overlaid with a unique finish.
These choices add a subtle twist to classic designs that transform them from age-old favourites to pleasingly eye-catching yet restrained wedding rings. They are a gentle departure from the traditionalist options while still displaying an austere look.
-You like to make a statement
For a relatively small piece of metal on your finger, the wedding ring inspires and commands much more attention than is proportionate to its size. The married man looking to project a particularly bold statement will be spoiled for choice with the right range of men’s wedding rings.
Modern designs have made a marked departure from their older counterparts in terms of the materials used, the colours featured and the physical designs.
One of the most remarkable metals that has begun to make its mark on the world of men’s wedding rings is tungsten. Made in ringfrom as the composite titanium carbide, these rings are resistant to scratching from virtually anything and everything you might encounter on an ordinary day.
They are also virtually indestructible, making for not just an interesting wedding band but also an intriguing talking piece.
The use of colour is another trend that has become popular in men’s wedding ring designs in recent years. Aside from rose gold which enjoyed immense popularity (and continues to today), the use of bolder colours like blue are also gaining momentum.
If you want to make a statement with you men’s wedding ring, there are probably few better options guaranteed of eliciting interest more than a blue band shimmering like the oceans and the skies.
-You really, really like to make a statement
Okay, we get it. You love the attention; the wedding day is going to be so great with all those eyes on you.
For every day after, perhaps we could interest you in a puzzle ring?
These amazing rings are constructed of two or more interlocking pieces cut into wavy or jigsaw-like edges all around the circumference. This allows them to be separated and then re-joined. The look is made even more visually striking when the adjacent components are constructed of materials of different colours.
Again, a combination with a flamboyant colour like blue will appeal to the extrovert as it will call further attention to an already unique design. You wanted a statement-making ring, you got one.
If you plan to wear your ring all day, every day, comfort should be one of your prime concerns. In fact, it is almost just as important even if you plan to wear it less often – there is no point associating any negative sensations or feelings when the ring is going to be the symbol of your blessed union.
There are four things to consider to determine how comfortable your ring will be:
-Size (circumference) of the band
-Shape of the band edge
-Shape of the inside surface
The most important factor when it comes to the comfort of men’s wedding rings is its circumference Band width. We always advise you to have your finger measurements taken professionally to ensure the best fit and greatest comfort.
If you do have to take measurements yourself at home, make sure to do it later in the evening instead of earlier in the day. Our body expands as the day progresses and a seemingly minimal difference can end up being the source of a lot of discomfort very quickly.
The other major consideration in terms of comfort is the shape of the ring, particularly the shape of the edges. Straight edges can cut into the flesh, especially if you work with your hands. A much better option is a wedding ring with curved edges which will allow the band to shift easily and painlessly across your skin.
The inside surface of your wedding ring also plays a part in the level of comfort your men’s wedding ring provides. A curved inner surface minimizes the amount of metal in contact with your finger, reducing friction and allowing heat to escape more easily.
The final factor in comfort is the width of your wedding ring. Generally, men’s rings are slightly wider than women’s, and men usually choose a ring band that is proportional to the size of their hand – the larger the hand, the wider the ring.
Men’s wedding rings are usually 6 mm or 7 mm wide, with bands of 5 mm or narrower usually reserved for women or men who like an especially minimalist look.
However, wider bands generally feel tighter around the finger. A ring band wider than 7 mm can prove to be unnecessarily uncomfortable and we would not recommend it for extended wear. You will have to decide which of these options will best serve your purposes and also be comfortable for extended wear.
05. Choice of Metal
Finally! You thought we were never going to come to this.
Yes, the choice of material a wedding band is made of is indeed the overarching concern of most prospective brides and grooms. From the classic favourite of gold, modern tastes have evolved to accommodate less obvious choices.
Some of the most popular men’s wedding ring metals today are:
-Gold Wedding Rings
Gold wedding rings are a perpetual favourite despite many other metals making their mark on the scene of late. There are two main factors that most prospective grooms consider when buying a gold wedding ring.
Purity (measured in carats) | Colour
Purity: Gold is often mixed with other metals to give alloys of differing purity. Pure, 100% gold is known as 24 carat gold. The common alloys in which gold is available in decreasing levels of purity are 22 carat, 18 carat, 14 carat and 9 carat.
It might seem that the obvious – and perhaps only criteria – in choosing a gold men’s wedding ring is its purity but that is not so. Gold is a relatively soft metal and this quality makes objects made of very pure gold prone to both deformation and wear and tear.
The softness of gold is a huge advantage when it comes to resizing rings. As we age, our fingers change in size. There can come a point where a ring that previously fit well becomes uncomfortably tight. In these cases, a gold wedding ring is easily resized.
The other metals used to combine with gold to make 22 carat, 18 carat, 14 carat and 9 carat gold rings give it a hardness and resilience that some might prefer.
Due to its softness, pure gold is rarely used to make jewellery. Instead, 22 carat gold, also known as 916 (referring to its 91.6% purity) gold is the most common. 22 carat gold wedding rings are one of the most popular because they have the balance of purity, quality and resistance to damage that are ideal for most people’s needs.
So, if a 22 carat gold ring is slightly outside your budget, you might actually get a better wedding ring for your everyday use and save some money at the same time by choosing a less pure gold alloy.
On the other hand, if you choose to get a gold men’s wedding ring with inset gemstones, 22 carat gold is still too soft. 18 carat gold, which contains 75% gold by weight, is best suited for such designs.
Colour: Apart from the yellow colour of gold with which even little children are familiar, there is a remarkable array of other variations in which gold jewellery is available. Some of the most popular colours are:
It is a common misconception that the colour of the gold is a direct result of its purity. That is not quite true.
While the difference in carats of which we spoke earlier does have an impact on the colour of the gold wedding ring, the effect is rather minimal. The difference in colour of the types of gold we mention here are instead the result of the other metals used to create the piece.
Therefore, gold wedding rings of equal weight made of 22 carat yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, bronze gold and red gold all contain the same proportion of gold. The same goes for all the other grades – 18 carat, 14 carat and 9 carat – the colour of the gold does not impact its purity.
The various colours of gold allow you to inject a bit of personality and style into an otherwise staid part of your daily attire while still staying true to the most noble of metals. This is especially true if you have picked a completely unadorned ring.
-Titanium Wedding Rings
Titanium is named after the great and powerful gods of Greek mythology – the Titans. It has a string of qualities that see it fit the name – it is extremely light, resistant to corrosion and hypoallergenic (does not react with human skin and so can be worn by those with allergies).
Titanium is the hardest metal known to man, which means it highly resistant to deformation and damage. A titanium men’s wedding ring will resist dents and scratches from everyday wear better than gold, silver, platinum and even steel rings.
Despite this, titanium is also one of the most affordable of the common metals from which men’s wedding rings are made.
Titanium itself has a greyish-white appearance. However, one of the foremost factors in titanium’s appeal is how it can be made to take on any hue or shade without affecting the integrity or purity of the metal.
Instead, a process of oxidisation can imbue any titanium ring with the colour of your fancy. This makes it a very popular choice for anyone who would like to have a unique wedding ring.
-Tungsten Wedding Rings
The name ‘tungsten wedding ring’ is slightly inaccurate – tungsten metal is too brittle in its elemental form to be constructed into rings. Instead, tungsten is combined with carbon to create tungsten carbide, of which all ‘tungsten rings’ are actually made.
Tungsten carbide is a remarkable material. It is ten times as hard as gold which makes tungsten men’s wedding rings virtually impenetrable to scratches and dents.
Despite this, tungsten carbide wedding rings, just like their titanium counterparts, are much more affordable than gold or platinum ones.
On the other hand, tungsten carbide’s popularity as a material of choice for men’s wedding rings is perhaps due to the natural understated gleam it possesses.
-Platinum Wedding Rings
Many people are surprised to discover that gold is not the most expensive of precious metals. The extraordinary metal that earns that tag is platinum.
Platinum is an extremely white metal that retains its sheen very well with minimal upkeep. It does not need to be plated with rhodium to achieve the intensity of brightness as is the case with white gold.
It is also very dense and its heaviness is more than that of gold. For this remarkable array of properties, platinum is also much more expensive – close to one and a half times the price of 22 carat gold of the same weight.
Besides its appeal to the moneyed, platinum’s heavy feel lends itself to its popularity with men – the solid feel of a platinum men’s wedding ring is highly regarded.
-Palladium Wedding Rings
Palladium is another metal which has recently gained popularity as a metal for men’s wedding rings. Its appearance is similar to that of platinum – very brilliant white-silver.
It is also very dense and hard, characteristics that make palladium men’s wedding rings less susceptible to damage and marks from everyday wear. The same property of resistance to external wear makes men’s palladium wedding rings a popular choice among men who work in the outdoors, do manual labour or lead active lifestyles.
A testament to its hardness is the fact that it is so difficult to work with – workmanship costs raise the price of a palladium ring more than the rarity of the metal itself.
A knowledge of this fact raises palladium’s popularity among individuals who value the value of work more than the glimmer of shiny metal.
-Tantalum Wedding Rings
Tantalum? What’s that?
That is a reaction we often get. Tantalum is an example of one of the rare times villains from Greek mythology get anything named after them. In this case, an extremely dense, very hard, corrosion resistant metal with the fourth highest melting point of all metals we know. Take that, good guys.
This rare metal is almost completely inert and hypoallergenic, meaning it can be worn by those who might have allergic reactions to common wedding ring metals. It does not corrode easily even when exposed to many aggressive acids. Its hardness combines with the fact that it is also shatterproof.
Blue-grey in its natural form, tantalum men’s wedding rings come out more greyish but with a mysterious hint of blue. Very little tantalum is put aside for use as jewellery and this makes it a very special and rare metal for a wedding ring.
If you like a men’s wedding ring with a bit of history, without the typical feel-good stories of heroes and angels and if you like, well, the name Tantalum, this is the choice for you.
06. Choice of Gemstone
Many men might frown at the prospect of gemstones in their men’s wedding ring. However, tastefully done, gemstones can enhance the beauty of the wedding band and give the wearer a wonderfully exquisite piece of jewellery with which to symbolise his marriage.
Because gemstones are held in place by the design of the ring, men’s wedding rings with gemstones are not suitable for men who work with their hands, nor those who lead active lifestyles. Constant impact and rough treatment might dislodge the gems from their place.
Common men’s wedding ring gemstone designs are those with:
-A single gemstone in the top center
-A small number of gemstones in a pattern on the to
-Gemstones of one colour or various colours inlaid along the entire band circumference or parts of it
-Claddagh rings with one or more gemstones at the top
Common choices of gemstones are:
The dazzling array of stones in every shade and hue allow them to be combined in different patterns with all manner of metals with stunning effect.
07. The Final Design
The most popular men’s wedding ring design has always been the simple wedding band and most men have been happy to let their future wives make the final decision for even that.
However, men’s fashion trends have grown rapidly of late. An increasing number of men are embracing diversity and expressing themselves through the use of accessories in way that was virtually unheard of before. They are also starting to take more active roles in making these decisions themselves.
Jewellers have responded with a wide range of designs in a variety that makes men as spoiled for choice now as women are.
Most couples today have made the wedding ring selection process a shared one. Many even choose to have matching wedding rings or to have identical rings embellished in their own ways to reflect their individual personalities.
Our advice is to always make the final choice in consultation with each other as the union of two
individuals your marriage will symbolise.