Okay, so brides have probably been gazing jewellery store windows and Pinterest boards for inspiration for their wedding rings… but have you given much thought yet to your groom’s wedding band? Jewellery designer Tracy Kelly guest blogs with advice on how your groom can decide on the best kind of ring for his taste and lifestyle.
Chances are, you have a million things on your wedding to-do list. Somewhere right down the bottom will be “buy his wedding ring”. It’s easy, right? Wander into a store and pick something, right? How hard can it be?
Men generally don’t give much thought to their wedding rings… until they go into a jewellery store and see the amazing range of designs now available for them. In the last few years men’s jewellery, especially the wedding ring, has become almost an industry within itself. What most men expect to be a simple choice can become very daunting and overwhelming. Yellow or white gold, alternative metals, patterned or plain are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to choices for the man in your life.
Which metal should I choose?: Everyone has no doubt heard that 9-carat gold is best for men because it’s harder. While technically this is true, the difference is so minute that in my opinion it really makes no difference at all. I have seen wedding rings in both 9 and 18 carat that have lasted a lifetime, yet I have also seen rings in both metals worn out in just a few years. It totally depends on how you treat them. Personally, I believe the real reason most men have generally chosen 9 carat over 18 carat is that it is cheaper. Wait, that’s not an insult; it’s just that in the past, men haven’t really cared that much about jewellery. Nowadays, men are much more fashion conscious and are generally quite interested in their options when it comes to their wedding rings. So what are those options?
Your first decision should be colour. While white gold is a little harder wearing than yellow, this choice really comes down to personal preference and what suits you better. Sorry, I can’t help you with that decision: just try some on and see which you like. If you are going for yellow gold, you will find that 18 carat has a more yellow colour whereas 9 carat will be slightly rosier in colour. For a more coppery colour, you can also choose rose gold, although this is not very popular among men. If you are undecided, a two-tone ring of white and yellow gold can be a good option, so long as it is solidly built.
There is also now a great trend towards alternative metals for gents’ wedding rings, such as titanium and tungsten, which give a more grey, steely (some say manly) look that men seem to find appealing. Both metals are inexpensive and lightweight compared to gold, but a ring made of tungsten or titanium can never be resized or repaired….never. Do you really want to just toss out your old wedding ring and buy a new one when your finger size changes? I doubt this trend will last too long.
What about design?: There are so many designs out there now for men that it can become very confusing. Displayed under lights, cleaned regularly and never worn, many of these rings look amazing… but when it comes down to everyday wear, they soon lose their shine (pardon the pun).
A very popular choice among men is the Satin Finish, also known as Brushed Finish. I personally do love the subtle and subdued look of a Satin-Finished ring, especially for a man, however it is a fine surface texture which will wear off in a short time, leaving a dull and uneven look. Any fine scratches on the ring, due to normal wear, will really show up. If you choose a ring with a texture, make sure the texture is deep, not just a surface finish.
Another style that is worth mentioning is that which includes a woven (generally three colour) strip between two outer rails. These rings, again, look stunning when brand new, but are a complete waste of money if this is ring your man will want to wear every day. The woven elements will wear down quickly and once worn through, repair is costly and unsightly. This style also can never be resized.
Plain wedding rings are really his best option, however plain is perhaps the wrong word considering all the choices available. Flat, half-round, bevelled, wide, narrow, thick, thin… so many choices! Then there is the two-tone option, again with a variety of widths, thicknesses and shapes. Make sure though that you are buying a solidly built ring. You can usually tell by looking where the yellow and white gold meets whether the ring is well built. If there is a full join around the entire circumference with no visible gaps, that is generally a good sign. Ideally, see a jeweller that can hand-make the ring.
Diamonds and gemstones: Sure, why not! Remember though that, although diamonds are very hard, they can break if given a hard knock. Laying bricks all day? Steer clear of any gemstones, including diamonds. Sapphires are another popular choice and are almost as tough as diamond, but the most requested gemstone at the moment for the boys is the black diamond. Black diamonds are inexpensive and look great contrasted against white or yellow gold.
More tips for the guys: Firstly, think about how you will treat your ring and when you will wear it. Are you the type that will only wear your wedding ring when you go out or will it be on that finger and never come off? What sort of work do you do? Do you lay bricks or sit at a desk all day?
Go and try some rings on. Get a feel for a comfortable width and thickness. Look closely at any pattern or texture on the ring. If you are in a store, have a look around the entire circumference of the ring as it may get a little scuffed in places from being taken in and out of display. If this is happening in the store, it will happen a lot faster when you wear it.
Buy from a real jeweller or jewellery store. Not only can you see, touch and try the ring, you can ask questions and you have someone to go back to if you do have issues in the future. Lastly, take your time. Put this job higher up on your to-do list; after all, your wedding ring is as important as hers.
Tracy Kelly is a qualified manufacturing jeweller and jewellery designer with over 20 years experience, specialising in the handcrafting of engagement rings and remodelling of old jewellery. Working from her custom-built studio, set amongst natural bushland in the gorgeous Hawkesbury region of New South Wales, Tracy’s creativity and passion for her trade keep her inspired, and her dedication to quality and client satisfaction is her highest priority. Tracy is a proud member of the Gold & Silversmiths Guild of Australia, the only professional organisation in Australia with a traditional and comprehensive system of marking precious metal items.