You and your partner will be wearing your wedding rings for the rest of your life — at least, that’s the idea — so it is crucial to choose a durable, beautiful metal which will hold up to years of wear and those little bits of inevitable, accidental abuse to which the ring will be subjected.

Gold is no longer your sole choice, however. Rings are being made of a range of metals, but which is right for your ring? Perhaps there’s no bad choice, but as you learn all about the metals available, some may seem like better choices than others.

Here is a brief look at some of the metals available for wedding rings and their characteristics:

Yellow Gold. It’s no surprise that yellow gold is still a truly popular wedding ring metal. It is the conventional choice, and it’s available in a large range of carats that each have different traits — including a slightly different appearance and various degrees of hardness. Hallmarks verify the carats, guaranteeing that you get what you’re paying for.

White Gold. Naturally, white gold is also a conventional choice for rings of all sorts. Since it’s less costly than yellow gold & available in reasonably-priced alloys, it’s accessible to a wider range of ring buyers than yellow gold. In several cases, white gold is plated onto a tougher metal to give it added strength and durability.

Platinum. Already a popular choice for wedding rings for a few years, platinum is rapidly rising in popularity. It’s very hard, somewhat rare and has an appearance unlike any other metal. It’s definitely not an inexpensive metal, but it is obviously opulent look and durability make it excellent for rings intended to last a lifetime.

Palladium. A relatively new option, palladium is much more durable than white gold though less hard-wearing than platinum. Since it doesn’t need plating onto another metal, it’s taking over some of white gold’s popularity. And since it is a hard metal, it’s taking some of platinum’s popularity as well.

Silver. Silver is another traditional choice for jewellery, but it has declined in popularity in recent years because it’s now considered to be too soft to last a lifetime. Still, many families have handed silver wedding rings down thru the generations, so its decline in popularity may not be totally justified. More common and cheaper that other white metals, you cannot disagree with the value of silver.

Titanium. Lightweight and more resistant to scratches than pretty much any other metal, titanium is also prized for its unique appearance. It’s a bit more grey than other white metals, making a titanium wedding ring stand out from other rings.

As well as these popular metals, wedding rings are also made of many other metallic elements and compounds. For example, tungsten carbide is one of the toughest metals available for rings and has an electrifying dark appearance unlike any other metal. Zirconium & black zirconium are also gaining popularity because zirconium looks and performs like titanium but is available at a lower price.

When having a wedding ring made just for your spouse, you’ll have to choose which metal is right. Luckily , you can’t fail. All of the metals on this list — and some others — make great wedding rings which will become conversation pieces for years to come.

Petra Bierberg is owner of a jewellery design company and manufactures designer wedding rings.

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