Just beat it
June 29, 2015 2:31 AM   Subscribe

Future Mr. Fallbala and I are getting married in September. We started looking at wedding rings and are wondering about materials, design and durability.

We already know some of the criteria:

* We want the rings to be custom made by crafts(wo)man goldsmith and have already started talking to a two smalls businesses in our area
* We are looking for a modern yet timeless design made from one metal and without stones
* Materials that we are considering are a high-quality red gold (not exactly rose, but between yellow and rose) or platinum (as my engagement ring) as well as a new alloy called "charmois" which includes platinum, wolfram gold and possibly some other metals (not sure how it is written, I just contacted the manufacturer, a German company)

I have mainly one question:

The design which we currently like the most would be a a simple red gold or platinum ring which would be hand-hammered. Similar to these.

While the one goldsmith said that this was a durable design with little wear, even in red gold, the other one said that these types of surface designs disappear entirely within 5 years and that they need to be reworked regularly, even in platinum.

We are now unsure which one is true, if this would be a good choice and what would be a longer-lasting alternative?

Gold-smiths, jewelry lovers and long-time marrieds: what do you think?
posted by Fallbala to Media & Arts (10 answers total)
 
Those rings are gorgeous! And congrats on your impending joinage. I have never had anything like those but I do have a rose gold ring with quite a square "claw" around a stone and its nearly 10 years old. I wear it all the time. The corners of the square are quite rounded now.

We all spend loads maintaining cars and hedges and other crap we don't love as much. If no one can tell you for sure, maybe find out what it would cost to maintain that hammered-ness and just go yeah, that's what the investment is gonna be. Or enjoy them getting weathered, a physical symbol of your growing old together.
posted by stellathon at 3:22 AM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


If you are wearing a platinum ring already, you should really get a platinum band to go with it -- a gold ring will wear away over time and lose metal, but platinum will just rub against itself and not actually lose metal as it wears down. You can easily get it repolished.

I can't speak to the durability of a hammered platinum design, but I have a matte finish on my wedding band that has definitely worn away (i.e., become shinier) over the past two years that I've worn it. It is not actually that noticeable to anyone else but me. I would think that a hammered design would have more integrity than a simple matte finish, but platinum does develop a patina over time that you may have noticed on the ring you already wear. If I were you I'd still go with the hammered finish on platinum and I'd evaluate the appearance of the ring over time -- I thought I'd want to maintain a perfect matte finish on mine, but so far that hasn't been the case.
posted by phatkitten at 3:43 AM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


I (and my wife) have tungsten carbide wedding rings.

They suit me because:

It is heavy, almost indistinguishable weight from gold.
It is shiny, but doesn't need to be, it can be in any finish you like (see here for a hammered finish, there are many more)
It will not scratch, wear, or fade (which I liked as a metaphor for our marriage). Seriously. The only thing which will scratch Tungsten Carbide is Diamond. I've just this week had my 4th wedding anniversary, the ring looks like new despite a lot of physical labour (including things like angle grinding holes in thick steel) literally like new. no scratches whatsoever.
It doesn't cost a lot.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:54 AM on June 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


Make sure your craftsperson/goldsmith if has customers that work as bricklayers or similar.

When I talked with a jeweller some time ago, he mentioned having a fair number of brickie customers. This had made him know when to restrict his offers of alloys to the hardest wearing ones, based on past experience. I'd be weary of going with one that says "yes, this alloy will endure" based just on opinion or book knowledge.

Also, seconding widia/Tungsten Carbide if your craftspeople can work it. Today my daughters and I walked past a business advertising re-sharpening of widia wheels for angle grinding, and I explained to them that they must have been using diamond tools to do it. In the end, Mrs Kandinski and I went for regular nondescript titanium bands, and I like the wear on them, but they do wear, and I don't even do much manual work. If we were to replace them for an upcoming anniversary, we might go for widia too.
posted by kandinski at 4:03 AM on June 29, 2015


Titanium might be a good option. We got a titanium ring for my husband after he developed a reaction to his tungsten ring. Tungsten is often alloyed with nickel, so if you have any sensitivities, you might want to avoid it.

Titanium is light, so you don't get that same impressive weight you would with tungsten or gold. Depending on the grade, titanium is also difficult or impossible to resize, but it's cheap, so replacing it if your fingers change size isn't a big deal (some people are horrified at the notion of switching out a wedding ring, but I thought it was worth mentioning). I'm not sure how easy it is to find a local metalsmith who could handle titanium, so I'm sorry if that's not possible.

Best of luck finding something that works, and congratulations!
posted by SugarAndSass at 5:40 AM on June 29, 2015


A little extra detail: my engagement ring is a design meant to be worn by itself which I will not wear as a wedding band with my wedding ring. I will wear that ring on the other hand for special occasions and it has a cinnamon colored stone similar to this one which would go really well with the red gold.

Tungsten Carbide is certainly a good suggestion - thank you. However, I do not like its cold metal color. The platinum I would opt for has some iridium and is therefore much warmer in color.

Is there anyone out there with a hammered ring?
posted by Fallbala at 5:44 AM on June 29, 2015


Anecdata: We have rings cut to look (a bit) like Audrey' Hepburn's wedding ring. Mine is in rose-gold and began life with the diamond shapes quite sharply edged. Nine years on, the edges are pretty rounded but as Stellathon suggests, I view that as a rather nice physical symbol of the passage of time, and of the softening of the harder-edges of our relationship. My husband's ring had the same design, but is in silver palladium - it hasn't lost any of its sharpness, which is a nice symbol of how we started out and all that is lasting and enduring about our relationship. So as a pair of rings, ours cover all symbolic bases.
posted by melisande at 6:21 AM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


My husband and I got hammered (though non-matching) platinum wedding rings. Mine is more delicate than your design; it's two skinny bands that converge and diverge, so the hammering is more difficult to discern on mine. It's worn down a little on the underside after six years, but still distinguishable as hammered. Mr. Kouti's design is probably closer to yours; I can have a look tonight.
posted by Pandora Kouti at 7:36 AM on June 29, 2015


I can't speak to the hammered pattern, but I wanted a white ring, didn't want white gold (which is a treatment that wears off), didn't want to pay for platinum, and didn't want to get into titanium, which can't really be reworked if your ring size changes. So my band is palladium. It had four obvious scratches by the end of our wedding day, which was a bit horrifying at the time. Now it has what looks like from a distance like a patina, but up close is actually just a whole bunch of fine scratches all around the outside surface (the inside is still as shiny as the day it was new). In theory it could be polished back to a high shine, but I'd rather it be lived in than perfect.
posted by fedward at 3:52 PM on June 29, 2015


Thank you all for your personal insights and advice!

I think I will go forward with the hammered design and the option to have it reworked on anniversaries. I think it is a nice reminder to polish up the love you had for each other on your wedding day as well.

Given the price of platinum, I will stick with the red gold in a 750s quality which should hold up alright given that the Mr and I have desk jobs.
posted by Fallbala at 7:13 AM on June 30, 2015


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