What kind of wedding band do you wear?
September 9, 2010 7:02 AM   Subscribe

I am a man and I'm getting married! I need a lot of help picking out a wedding band. I know my size and am looking for a non-traditional ring. Specifically I am looking at tungsten and titanium rings or rings with some kind of pattern.

I don't own any jewelry and this would probably be the only jewelry I wear in the future. Here are some rings I like based on appearance:

Black Tungsten Ring

I saw something similar to this in person and I though the black looked very nice, however I am concerned that it won't looking like a wedding ring and that it will scratch horribly over time.

Titanium and Silver Ring

My concern here is that the combination of metals might not wear evenly as I know silver requires some upkeep.

Wheat Wedding Ring

This is an example of a pattern I like but typically these rings cost around $500. I would like to spend less but I'm not sure this fine work is possible in cheaper metals than gold.

Milgrain Wedding Ring

Same as above. I like this a lot but it appears to be limited to gold. The milgrain titanium rings often have a "stamped out" look to them I don't like.

Where do I start? If you have a non-traditional ring, how did it wear over time? Anything I should avoid?
posted by 2bucksplus to Shopping (33 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Etsy has a lot of really awesome looking rings. I just did a search for Men's titanium wedding band and got over 600 items.

This one has an infinity wave design and is less than $55 and has free U.S. shipping.

This one has a Celtic Knot and is less than $80.
posted by TooFewShoes at 7:14 AM on September 9, 2010

Best answer: A good place to look for non traditional rings is etsy (my wife and I both got our rings via etsy); the prices are generally pretty good and most places will take requests, making it possible to get exactly what you want.

I have a titanium band with a silver inlay. I've only had the ring since February (it served as an engagement ring as well). The sandblasting will weather, gaining scuff and scratch marks, which I felt was a feature. If you want the ring to have a timeless feel, a polished surface may be better for you.
posted by VeritableSaintOfBrevity at 7:21 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

I always liked the look of these rings. You can get them in various blends of metals.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 7:21 AM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

I've been wearing a titanium wedding band for eight years now. About three years after we got married, I lost fifty pounds and had to get the ring replaced since you can't resize this ring. The maker replaced it with a smaller one for free. So after five years of daily use and abuse, the ring shows scratches and signs of wear but I like it better this way. It came with a matte finish and the scratches add character to it.

My ring doesn't have any detail to it, but it's got a distinctive design. The easiest way to describe it is an off axis bevel.
posted by advicepig at 7:27 AM on September 9, 2010

If you do get a Titanium or Tungsten ring, you need to be very careful if you have any kind of finger injuries, as the ER might not be able to cut it off. If your fingers start to swell for ANY reason, remove it immediately... put it back on later.

And like all rings, don't wear it when doing electrical or mechanical repairs to anything.
posted by MikeWarot at 7:29 AM on September 9, 2010

When biscotti and I got hitched, we picked wedding rings that were gold-plated nickel-iron meteorite over a sterling base. They were neat, you could see the Widmanstatten patterns really clearly, and they were straight from space. But they didn't hold up; the plating wore off quite quickly and they ended up looking dull and grey, and the meteorite sub-ring broke off from the sterling substrate. They were the only ones we could find and were quite cheap; like $50 each or thereabouts.

There are others currently making meteorite rings to a higher price and presumably higher standard. Some of them plate the nickel-iron in rhodium, which ought to last longer than gold, and others use a strip of meteorite in a setting where it's okay for it to tarnish/rust/whatever.

We just replaced them with these, but in palladium instead of silver for wear; the smith suggested that sterling wouldn't hold up well as an all-day-every-day ring. It ran about a grand for the pair. They may not be straight from space, but like any heavyish metal they were (probably?) forged in the heart of a supernova and the mobiusness enriches them with pure nerd goodness.

If we ever replace them again, I'm going to press for having rings made that look like Orbitals, with terrain enameled onto the interior. Vavatch should be easy, I figure.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:29 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'd never heard of a meteorite ring before seeing it in the pages of this here green; here are some comments with links.

It looks like meteorite rings can be resized up a little bit, while mokume gane rings can also be resized a bit. But some jewelers seem to have a deal where you can return a ring for store credit if you need to get a different size later.
posted by Madamina at 7:32 AM on September 9, 2010

My husband got a ring that's very similar to this one -- titanium with a platinum inlay. We thought the platinum might wear better next to the titanium (and also my rings are platinum, so we liked the congruence). I'm pretty sure that's NOT the store we bought from, but it's awfully close, and it has a whole section of discount titanium rings.

However, I don't think something similar with silver will be a problem. Silver really doesn't require much upkeep if you're wearing it every day. I wore a sterling silver ring on one hand every day for about 8 years, pretty much never taking it off, and it hasn't required any upkeep. See if the silver inlay goes all the way through (it probably doesn't) and, if it doesn't, I think you can be confident that you won't have any problems with it.

Finally, if you go with titanium be aware that the ring will not be able to be sized. So if you order the wrong size or it's a touch loose or tight, you'll have to replace it entirely. Just something to be aware of.

The only other thing you might consider is a steel ring. A friend of mine has a stainless steel ring and it is very cool -- and it was very affordable, if I remember correctly. Amazon has several as a starting point.
posted by devinemissk at 7:33 AM on September 9, 2010

I have a tungsten ring. I chose it because a) it's pretty much scratch-proof (tungsten is almost as hard as a diamond) and b) it can be cut off if need be, unlike titanium. Tungsten can be shattered, so if I gain a bunch of weight or otherwise need the ring removed it can be done. If you need to forcibly remove a titanium ring you'll probably lose a finger.

The other nice thing about tungsten is that it requires no care whatsoever - I just polish it with a t-shirt every now and again and it looks great. It's a heavier ring than a titanium/silver/gold one would be, but I like that - it's got a really nice heft that I really notice when I'm not wearing it.
posted by pdb at 7:37 AM on September 9, 2010

I have this sterling & black titanium ring from Tiffany and like it a lot.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 7:41 AM on September 9, 2010

Tungsten rings rule. I love mine. I'm tough on stuff, but my ring has been fine for three years. If you know me, you'd know that's saying a lot. Go for the cheapest one you can find, they're pretty much the same in my experience. Just make sure whichever one you go with has some sort of lifetime warranty and lifetime 'resizing'. I think mine lets me 'resize' mine for $10 or something. I use quotes because they just send you a new ring, you can't resize a tungsten ring.

The 'colored' tungsten rings (black, mostly) tend to have the color rub off. At least it did on my $50 tungsten wedding band. I now have the plain old silver-looking color.
posted by Geckwoistmeinauto at 7:41 AM on September 9, 2010

Regarding finger removal and titanium rings: Myth.

posted by jeff-o-matic at 7:55 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

It sounds like you have pretty similar taste to my husband and I. It was important to me that our rings matched, and important to him that they didn't look too girly, so we combed through etsy for something cool and organic looking. We ended up going with these rings from etsy seller Nicole Zahour, who was a doll even when we had sizing problems. They're gold, so they're made to last, but recycled gold, so the price is a bit lower than would be otherwise. Generally, I'd recommend going with gold if you can. Firstly, because it can be resized, and secondly, because it actually should withstand the test of time. Our rings were one of the most expensive parts of our wedding, but we don't regret the cost one bit.

Looking through etsy results for stuff like "wood grain ring," I also came across this ring, which is wicked awesome looking.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:02 AM on September 9, 2010

An internet friend of mine recommended Boone (they also have a meteorite ring.) I have them bookmarked for when The GF and I make it official.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:16 AM on September 9, 2010

I like the wheat ring. I have a gold ring with a raised, repeating claddagh-and-knotwork design that's almost all rubbed off in the 14 years I've been wearing it. I wish I'd gotten something tougher than gold since I loved that pattern.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:18 AM on September 9, 2010

A lot of what you are being shown here is pretty low quality stuff outsourced in China and it will show years down the road. Specifically if you are looking for a something with a guarantee.

Lashbrook Designs is a Utah based company that produces all the rings in house and comes with tons of guarantees. It's also more expensive than Etsy rings.

I have worked for them in the past, no longer do though. Just passing info along. I think the Damascus Steel rings are crazy awesome.
posted by lakerk at 8:24 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

I have this titanium & 18kt gold ring as my wedding band. It's been 4 years and the matte finish has mostly worn off, but I've been pretty happy with it. I especially like having my wedding date engraved on the inside of the band. Only downside is that my fingers have gotten fatter since then and I really do need to enlarge it a bit. They say that they can enlarge these rings up to .25 size by shaving off the inner material in the band, and it's apparently free (minus shipping I'm sure.)

Not being able to really resize is probably the biggest downside to going with a titanium ring, IMO. I love the way it looks though.
posted by Bonky Moon at 8:54 AM on September 9, 2010

My husband and I have titanium rings we bought from these Etsy sellers. The ones we wanted were titanium with a bloodwood inlay, which was really gorgeous but had some drawbacks. We would have to keep them away from water or have the wood resealed every few years. I contacted them to ask for alternatives and they ended up creating us exact copies only with corian instead of wood. That, to me, is one of the best things about Etsy. How many of them are willing to change a design or a material to suit the buyer. We're both really tough on our rings, and they've held up really well. Although it's only been a year...

Ours are very similar to this.
posted by routergirl at 9:10 AM on September 9, 2010

Those are amazing rings, but some of them are heavy and chunky. If you have trouble wearing rings then a simple gold or white gold band might be a good "starter ring". Just so your wife doesn't sigh a lot when you need 3 of those expensive tungsten rings in a year because you take them off whenever you sit down, not that that happened or anything.
posted by meepmeow at 9:14 AM on September 9, 2010

My husband has a ring from this line, in the black zirconium series (two years old). The thing is awesome, and he will replace the wood inlay if anything ever goes wrong with it (we have not had issues). There are plenty of other styles on his site, check it out.
posted by smalls at 9:24 AM on September 9, 2010

Not in tungsten, but worth mentioning: Mr. blazingunicorn and I are smitten with our fingerprint pattern wedding bands.
posted by blazingunicorn at 9:38 AM on September 9, 2010

I have a black titanium ring with a kind of ridged pattern on the sides of normal titanium (kind of like this except with even more distinct edges). I'd say be careful of ridges/etc; I kept giving minor ouchies to the kids until I found it second nature to pick them up while pulling my ring finger away from them. My ridges are nothing like the inlaid colors of your first black tungsten ring. If the silver bands are non-black tungsten, I wouldn't worry about scratching.

I rarely take my ring off (maybe 1 30 minute stretch every 3 months), and after 5 years it's unscratched. Moving servers around; occaisional handstands on asphalt, tool use in the gardens etc haven't harmed the ring. I have an odd callus where my ring meets my palm when I close my hand; quite potentially because of the ridge. During lots of rougher hand work (garden tools), I'll usually get a blister in that spot. I wouldn't worry about scratching; titanium and tungsten are far more durable than "standard" wedding rings.

My wife has a plain tungsten carbide ring, also unscratched, but it feels amazingly heavy whenever we trade rings to hold/look at for a bit. Quantitatively they're about the same width/thickness, but her ring is just shy of twice the mass of mine. She says that she can always feel the weight of her ring (in a good way) and her hand feels light without it. On the rare times I take my ring off I only notice that the skin on my finger feels cool without my ring.

Regarding "typical" wedding rings, if it's worn on your left ring finger, everyone will know it's a wedding ring (well, at least everyone in US/Canadian current culture); especially if it's your only ring. I've never been asked, "Is that a wedding ring."
posted by nobeagle at 10:02 AM on September 9, 2010

I wear this ring. (YIKES! I remember it being about a quarter of what it costs now when Mrs. Smoobles and I got married.)

My 2¬Ęs is to get the flattest, lowest profile ring you can find, perhaps the Titanium Men's Ring with Sterling Silver you've linked to.

After becoming a ring wearer I got kinda into it and got a couple of rings for my right hand to balance things out. I enjoyed the look but both of those right hand rings were either the domed profile or simply thicker.
I never got used to them the way I did my thin wedding ring and they always annoyed me with discomfort.

Go thin.
posted by No Shmoobles at 10:05 AM on September 9, 2010

the Clay Pot in Park Slope has beautiful, non-traditional rings.
posted by pipti at 10:23 AM on September 9, 2010

I got this titanium ring from Boone when I got married two years ago. It looked awesome when I got it, but after two years it is scratched to the point that there is no apparent difference in the finishes of the two sections.

Boone was very quick and responsive, and quickly sent the ring just as advertised. If you're thinking about titanium, I would certainly recommend him. But I found that titanium scratches easily and will not hold certain finishes over time, so be prepared to replace it occasionally or don't get too attached to the finish.
posted by dilettanti at 10:52 AM on September 9, 2010

My wife and I got white gold rings, and first found her engagement ring, then had her wedding band and my band made with the same type of pattern as the engagement ring. My band is larger and the pattern is thicker, but I like how it pairs with her rings. I know it's not the same metal you're thinking about, but you could get a pattern or style to match your wife-to-be's ring.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:03 AM on September 9, 2010

First, congrats on getting married.

Second, almost no ring will hold detailed design elements for a long time. I've only been married 16 years and all the detail gone and the ring has lots of wear and tear.

IMHO, this is how it should be, an accurate reflection on the ups and downs of marriage and the durability of the ring and the bond it represents.

If you want a design to last, you would likely need to be bring it a jeweler routinely for some kind of fix. I can't imagine doing that.

The hard metal ring may do better, but be prepared for eventually the ring to show some wear and tear. You life will last a long time and the ring will be there dealing with every day of it...
posted by Argyle at 11:06 AM on September 9, 2010

I got this ring from Boone in a brushed finished. The pattern is actually much more subtle in real life.

As others have said above, the finish can get little scratches in it. I can restore the look of the brushed finish by rubbing one of those green scrubbing sponges over it. My wife has a similar ring with a polished finish. The wear isn't bad, but it's much harder to restore the finish.

Boone has pretty good customer service and they will restore the finish on the rings they sell. They also have a quick turn around time.
posted by chrisulonic at 11:14 AM on September 9, 2010

My wedding ring has two slightly different shades of gold, with a wooden stripe running between them. It's awesome. (I got it from Zsolt Szekely at "Made you Look" in Toronto.) Mine was kinda pricey, but there are probably people out there who would do the same thing in cheaper metals for less money.

On the minus side, I guess there's an off chance that someone could set fire to my wedding ring.

Congrats on your wedding!
posted by chalkbored at 11:29 AM on September 9, 2010

I want to second the Lashbrook rings. My wedding ring is titanium with mokume inlay, and I love it. It's lightweight, low-profile, has an unique look, and it was very affordable.
posted by sleepinglion at 11:53 AM on September 9, 2010

Boone! That's where we got my husband's ring. I thought the price on that other one seemed really high. Nthing Boone's customer service, etc.
posted by devinemissk at 12:16 PM on September 9, 2010

I wear a Niessing ring. I can't find mine on their site anymore but this one looks the most like it. Mine is gold with lighter edges (titanium maybe?), and an oval cross section. Its gold is a high carat (I forget what now), so it's heavy enough to remind me that I'm married throughout the day. And it's worn well. The everyday scratches make it look worn, but still good.

Sorry for the sketchy memory. It's been a long time since my wife bought it for me.
posted by booth at 6:18 PM on September 9, 2010

4mm plain gold band. Probably about 10k gold, around $100.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 6:07 PM on September 28, 2010

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