Pick a simple ring
August 26, 2016 1:45 PM   Subscribe

We're getting married. We both dislike jewelry but have decided to wear simple rings. But the selection is overwhelming. Do you enjoy this sort of thing and want to help us?

We started to look on Etsy and were so overwhelmed. Please help us (male and female). We are sort of idiots about this.
- Cheaper is better.
- One of us has a metal sensitivity. Is there something that we should do about this? - We have no idea what types of metals are a good idea.
- I guess we'd be willing to go to a shop if you think that that would be better.
- Maybe are there cool things to do like get your names written on the inside or something? What are the possibilities there?

These were sort of okay.
posted by anonymous to Shopping (44 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
For price and selection, I'd go to pawnshops.
posted by theora55 at 1:47 PM on August 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

I dunno how cheap you wanna go, but a plain gold band with maybe an inscription on the inside is classic, understated, and hypoallergenic. And there are definitely many much more expensive options out there. That's what my parents did, and I'd probably do the same if Inever get married.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 1:48 PM on August 26, 2016 [10 favorites]

I wear a simple, cheap titanium band I bought on Amazon. Even cheaper than the one you linked. It's super light, I never take it off, or even really notice it's there.

It might be worth going to a jeweler to properly figure out your ring size before shopping online, though.
posted by gnutron at 1:51 PM on August 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

I wear a simple titanium band with sterling inlay which is also available in totally plain, no decoration form. I have a fairly severe nickel sensitivity and have never had a problem with it.
posted by Lexica at 2:01 PM on August 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Go to a shop. Any shop will do, this is just to narrow down what you want.

Pick a colour - basically gold, silver, rose gold or gray. Pick a height - this is down to personal choice, try a few heights on. Pick a shape - most people go with d-shaped or court shaped. Again, personal choice. Work out what size you are. Write all of this down.

Then go home and decide what material you want. Mainstream options are gold, white gold, rose gold, platinum, silver, titanium and tungsten, but you can get glass, ceramic, wood and various other materials.

If all of this is too much choice, the default option is a court-shaped plain gold band, 2mm for women, 4mm for men, in whatever size you are.
posted by tinkletown at 2:07 PM on August 26, 2016 [5 favorites]

I do as much shopping online as humanly possible, but in this situation I recommend going to a jeweler. They can show you a tray of simple rings and you can pick one out. Narrows it down for you and makes it easier. Sometimes less selection is better. FWIW, my ring is white gold but looks exactly like your third link. My husband has a titanium band (which was much cheaper than my gold band).
posted by amro at 2:10 PM on August 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

We got ours here, 12 years ago. They are fine. This is mine, and it looks like it's exactly doubled in price since then, but it's still not overly expensive, I guess.
posted by gaspode at 2:13 PM on August 26, 2016

I used bluenile and was very happy with their service and selection. A simple White Gold Wedding ring is relatively cheap on their site, about $200
posted by jourman2 at 2:13 PM on August 26, 2016

This is my wedding band - I've been wearing it since 2005. It's comfortable, incredibly durable, has a nice (to me) weight, and the style doesn't catch/scrape on anything. If I went back in time, I would absolutely buy it again. Tungsten is delightful.
posted by VioletU at 2:16 PM on August 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

My wife and I got stainless steel bands which we really like. (Amazon lists them for $0.01, but there's about $5 shipping & handling which is kind of devious...) It's the same stuff that's used in spoons, so that should give you a good idea if you have a metal allergy to it.
posted by losvedir at 2:16 PM on August 26, 2016 [3 favorites]

My wife and I had our wedding date inscribed on the inside of our wedding rings, so inscriptions are definitely something you can look into, once you've chosen the material for your ring.
posted by Roger Pittman at 2:22 PM on August 26, 2016

Is silver OK? I should think it would be. A plain 925 silver band should do the job and be relatively inexpensive, and very durable.

And yes, google poesy rings, these were a thing in medieval times. I'm sure you could get something engraved round the inside or outside if you wanted, without breaking the bank.

Just be aware you'd probably have to clean them more often with engraving - take an old toothbrush and some bathroom sink cleanser - the creamy kind - and just give it a little scrub to get rid of the gunk from time to time. A silver polishing cloth will be useful with or without engraving.
posted by tel3path at 2:27 PM on August 26, 2016

We got our bentwood rings from Stout Woodworks and love them. Ours are made from koa wood and flaked turquoise, representing Hawaii and the Southwest, both places which are close to our hearts.
posted by onecircleaday at 2:27 PM on August 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

My mother, disappointed at the low-key courthouse wedding and lack of rings, bought us each silver rings she found at WalMart, on sale for about $10 each. I wear mine daily, wifey isn't a fan of rings in the first place so hers lives in the jewelry box. But, if cheap and simple is what you're looking for, go to the jewelry counter at your nearest big-box store, I'm sure they have some simple, cheap wedding rings (although the metal sensitivity may make this option tougher).
posted by AzraelBrown at 2:28 PM on August 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Plain gold bands are a classic. We went that route and are very happy with the choice.
posted by peacheater at 2:30 PM on August 26, 2016

I have pretty sensitive metal allergies and platinum is what we went for. Pure gold is okay for me, too, but you'll want to be sure to use a reputable jeweler (either online or in person) to make sure you're getting pure metals. My band has never given me issues and if you're interested in the "silver" color, I would recommend splurging for platinum as it will weather time really well. If you get anything with a "brushed" finish to it, it will eventually wear down to a more shiny finish. You might like going in person just to try some things on and see what styles/sizes you actually like. Then you'll have an easier time comparison shopping online. Congrats and good luck!
posted by LKWorking at 2:33 PM on August 26, 2016

Also. Is there a Tiffany near you? I would go get the least expensive plain band from Tiffany. Also recommend their wedding invitation printing (that may only be available in NYC.) The experience of choosing the rings will stay with you years after you stop wearing the rings, so for goodness sake, buy whatever you decide on from a special place. Like Tiffany.
posted by jbenben at 2:36 PM on August 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

Consider finding a local jeweler, or ring-making artist/metalworker. That's what we did -- we have simple, unadorned metal bands that a local artist made for us. We literally engraved each others ring at his shop, it was an awesome experience. I agree that the experience of choosing the rings will stick with you forever -- I'd urge you to not just buy them online.

Either way, it's not the ring that matters! Congrats!
posted by so fucking future at 2:44 PM on August 26, 2016

You can get plain bands in a variety of metals from a jewelry wholesaler. Many of them will have a "showroom" (more a plain office sort of place than you'd see in a jewelry store) where they can bring out specific item numbers for you. If they offer this service it's best to call ahead and see what you should do, they might prefer to have the item numbers in advance. Or you can always mail order https://www.riogrande.com/
posted by yohko at 2:52 PM on August 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

If the metal sensitivity is a nickel allergy, there are testing solutions available -- just soak a cotton swab with the stuff, rub it on the metal, and see if it turns pink to indicate the presence of nickel. I keep some around just in case jewelry wanders into my life and I want to be sure I can wear it comfortably.
posted by phatkitten at 3:05 PM on August 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Do you enjoy this sort of thing and want to help us?

We found the whole process pretty stressful because we didn't really care that much about jewelry, didn't want to spend much. We especially didn't like the experience of going in to a store and getting pushed this way and that by sales people, although I don't doubt that some people have great experiences. But I do want to help so...

What we did was request a free ring sizing kit which let us try on plastic tester rings at home and avoid the high pressure sales environment that you can encountered if you go to a jeweler for sizing. This also has the benefit of letting you wear it for a day or more to see how a size feels as you finger naturally swells and changes size during the day. Note that this sizing set is for comfort-fit bands.

We ended up going with black ceramic rings with inlays, it sounds like you want something even simpler so there should be lots of low cost options if you search for "alternative metal wedding bands". Larson, the online jeweler we ordered from, offers a lot of custom engraving options including letting you upload your own image, handwriting or fingerprints. They also have a good exchange policy for getting new sizes since most non-gold rings can't be easily resized and must be replaced. If the sentimental value of keeping the same ring and having it resized vs getting a new one in the same style in a new size is important to you you're best bet is gold.

Hope that helps and congratulations!
posted by metaphorever at 3:11 PM on August 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Why shop online?

I bought my partner's ring from a silversmith in the touristy part of town. I bought the simplest, plainest band I could find. It was like $30. Had the inside surface engraved with our personal code word for another five. He loves it. Boom.

My partner does industrial construction. He got a piece of stainless steel and had his friend mill and polish it into a (pretty awesome) and simple ring. He also had it engraved with our personal code word. He probably spent the same amount of money as I did, if that.


Metal sensitivity could be tricky to figure out (I'm a toxicologist, and it's not just nickel that can cause issues). Since you don't know now what metal(s) cause problems, maybe avoid spending much money in case you have to swap it out? A good friend developed a metal sensitivity and had her ring electroplated with gold--she has to repeat the process again every couple years, but it worked for her.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 3:17 PM on August 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

My original wedding ring was a plain platinum band with no bevel or edge or inlay or anything - wide, very shallow domed profile.

A few years ago, I put it in a drawer and bought a new ring on Amazon that I now wear. It's the same ring, but stainless steel, and cost, I think, $8 with Prime free shipping. Looks almost exactly the same (the steel is a little darker color and is a lot shinier, since it doesn't scratch as easily as platinum).

Short version: Look on Amazon for steel rings, unless you really care about having a more expensive metal or you're worried about the difficulty of cutting steel versus some other metal.

(I also have a Saferingz silicone ring I wear if I'm doing something active/dangerous. It is also totally plain and cost under $20, but it's not as comfortable as the steel one.)
posted by The World Famous at 3:39 PM on August 26, 2016

I think this was the ring & retailer I went with. Had to get it sized down once because the comfort fit made it a little too easy to slip off, but now it's great.
posted by supercres at 3:41 PM on August 26, 2016

I like these sustainably sourced, very very affordable silver bands. you could get a few spares at that price point.
posted by stray at 3:47 PM on August 26, 2016

Gaspode mentioned her link when we were shopping 3 years ago or so, and so we used the same service to buy our rings and are very happy with them. We got matching rose gold bands with a single milgrain bead on each side (I got a 3 mm, my husband got a 5mm), and we got messages engraved in them, for under $500 for both of us. And they still look great.

I thought we would really like pawnshop/vintage options, but it quickly became this impossible quest to find the right size, color, shape, and deal with the limits of resizing; also, prices were often not at all cheaper than buying new, depending on how precious the shop thought the ring was - so if you like simplicity and just getting something done and having it be good, eweddingbands is a great option.
posted by Miko at 3:53 PM on August 26, 2016

This is unique
posted by hortense at 4:30 PM on August 26, 2016

Guy who wears no jewelry here but agreed to wear a simple gold band with our initials and the date of our wedding inscribed inside. If you don't mind the inscription and a few scratches that 18 years of marriage had, now that I am divorced, it is yours as my wedding gift to you.
posted by AugustWest at 5:11 PM on August 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

I just got engaged as a non-jewelry person and went down this exact road!

I don't have any particular metal sensitivity, though from what I understand there's a reason gold is so popular for rings that are worn every day for decades.

Wisdom I gathered:

- The bulkier the ring, the more difficult it is to wear. This is true for ring thickness as well as width. A fat or tall ring will bother you more than a small/slim one if you generally dislike the feel of rings on your fingers.

- There's a lot to be said for "comfort fit". That's the sort of tapered look that most traditional wedding bands have. I, too, like the look of the blunter rings you linked, but they are a lot less comfortable to wear if you don't enjoy wearing jewelry. I opted for a comfort fit ring despite not loving the look of them quite as much. Because I'm going to be feeling my ring against my skin a lot more than I am ever going to be looking at a picture of it.

- Physically lighter rings can also be a lot more comfortable to wear. Titanium has this going for it, especially if you like a bulkier looking ring. I opted for 10K gold rather than 14 or something even higher because I wanted my ring to be very light and unobtrusive.

- Engraving the inside is totally possible. Mine says "DON'T PANIC" from Hitchhiker's Guide. Which is hilarious on the inside of a decidedly non-spacey ring.

This is my engagement/wedding ring (I'm also not a jewelry person so opted to have a simple band as my One Ring, which I'll continue wearing after the wedding). I ADORE IT. I also can't say enough good things about this shop, if you opt for a simpler design or something in a different metal.

I opted for a "pretty" ring, because fuck it I like pretty things and didn't think $165 was an absurd amount of money to spend on an engagement ring. My fiance opted for the $20 Amazon titanium model, because he's not really an "I like pretty things!" kind of dude, and that's also fine. We did not see anything particularly attractive or distinctive in that price range on Amazon, though, and a lot of the Amazon titanium rings are hideous IMO. So I think that route can be a little more difficult if you're not a jewelry person per se but like simple things that are nicely made and a joy to wear/touch/look at. Etsy and a slightly higher (but still very reasonable) price point will get you a lot more in my opinion.
posted by Sara C. at 5:13 PM on August 26, 2016 [4 favorites]

If you both dislike jewelry, why are you getting rings?

My husband never liked jewelry, but wore a wedding band for a couple of years. I think it was because he felt like I wanted him to, and maybe I did want to him wear it in order to satisfy some type of marriage stereotype in my own mind. One day he took his off before some sort of non-ring friendly sport and never thought to put it back on. We were just laughing a few months ago that he has no idea where it is.

I wore my (very beautiful and custom made) rings for a couple years longer than he did, but similarly, I took them off when they became inconvenient and never felt compelled to put them back on. I'll occasionally wear them when I get "dressed up", but that is becoming increasingly rare.

Frankly with 3 young kids, brushing my teeth in the morning is an accomplishment. My husband and I are both emotionally and practically undeniably committed to each other. It's funny to think that I thought we needed rings to prove that.

This is your marriage and your life. Do what's right for you.
posted by defreckled at 5:48 PM on August 26, 2016

I got my wedding ring from the unfortunately named Avant Garde Titanium Rings. Mine's just a band. Had my wife's ring not been a family ring, she's admitted that she would like one like mine (we might get her one, and store the family ones someday).

It's lightweight, really strong, and...shit, if I lose it it's only 60 bucks to replace. It looks pretty damn nice, and polishes up well. I've had exactly none regrets over getting this particularly minimalist ring.
posted by furnace.heart at 6:04 PM on August 26, 2016

Oh; I almost forgot. Don't be shy of ordering online. If you go window shopping at any jeweler, you can get 'sized' for the appropriate ring size, without even the hint of commitment you want to buy from that shop. Then, you just order that size online.
posted by furnace.heart at 6:07 PM on August 26, 2016

I got my ring at Claire's for $10. It's a cubic zirconia infinity-style and I've worn it daily for almost six years. No regrets. Might not work well for the metal-sensitive in your home, but the selection process was easy because 95% of their rings were not simple enough for what I was looking for. My husband doesn't wear a ring.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 6:27 PM on August 26, 2016

I think platinum is the most sensitive-friendly precious metal. When we got married we bought the most basic, rounded, gold, bands ever. Thin for me, thick for my SO. He stopped wearing his after ten years? I hurt my hand and had to cut mine off five years ago. We discussed getting a new set for both of us and ended up just buying a nice necklace for me to wear everyday instead. If you are not jewelry people to start with, keep this in mind when shopping, you might not actually wear the things after a few years. Pretty sure all our assorted stuff came from Kay's or some other mall jeweler because we are old and that was accessible at the time... Simple is easy!!
posted by palindromeisnotapalindrome at 6:40 PM on August 26, 2016

Some of the rings you chose have thin or sharp edges, which some people find uncomfortable as the edges kind of dig into the skin of the finger wearing the ring or maybe the finger beside it. Rounded edges are usually more comfortable. If you're buying online, might be good to head to a shop and maybe try on similar rings to make sure they don't bother your finger.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 6:48 PM on August 26, 2016 [3 favorites]

As other people have said: visit a jeweler. They're really nice. I was able to figure out my preferences and my wife got ideas for matching her heirloom engagement ring, and they helped us figure out what we were even shopping for. It's easy to convince yourself that nothing could be worth what precious metals cost, but gold is surprisingly reasonable. Weirdly.

After visiting the jeweler we bought silver bands online — and returned them. Silver is kind of a terrible material for a ring you'll wear all the time (jewelers give it a ten year lifespan, IIRC) and it will tarnish and look dull almost immediately. The rings we got looked dull on arrival. There are a couple metals you can get cheap that can't be resized (e.g. tungsten and titanium) but on the other hand they're cheap, and titanium is hypoallergenic, so you could think about those and just assume you'd end up replacing one or both of them for one reason or another. We have several friends who have done just that.

As for precious metals: platinum got super expensive after it became popular. I liked white metals more than traditional gold, but I didn't like "white gold," and I didn't want to pay for platinum, so I ended up with a palladium band (and I see one of your links is to a pair of palladium bands). Palladium is also a precious metal, but it's only recently that anybody figured out how to alloy it into something jewelers could work with (there's a whole history of World-War-Two-era palladium jewelry I'm not qualified to discuss, but modern palladium jewelry is priced basically like gold and jewelers don't mind working with it). I should say my band had multiple scratches before our wedding day was even over, and now it's pretty much covered in scratches, but it still looks fine. Palladium doesn't get the yellow tinge that "white gold" gets when it's scratched up, so I'm happy with it.

One big thing I learned at the jeweler is that I wanted a "comfort fit" ring, which is actually a thing that describes the inside surface of the ring, not the outside. Instead of being a precise cylinder, a comfort fit ring is convex (from edge to edge) and it goes on and comes off much more easily than a ring with a flat inner profile. Most rings are available with this sort of fit if you know to ask for it. So seriously: visit a jeweler. You can try things on, learn what fits, and if you want to have something made they can do that.

All that said, my palladium band came from Amazon because it turned out we had an enormous number of credit card points we could spend on Amazon and that freed up cash for the honeymoon, but the jeweler who we visited is right by my office and it still makes me happy to know they're there. We may still have them make a better band to pair with my wife's engagement ring.
posted by fedward at 9:51 PM on August 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah, gold is probably your most hypoallergenic traditional-metal option (and lasts the best among traditional jewelry metals), and I strongly recommend a local non-chain jeweler. They will be DELIGHTED to help you and show you simple options. Trying the rings on is probably important, so you can find some that feel okay and don't interfere with your hand activities ... maybe you want something wire-thin and so light it's barely there; maybe a wire-width feels constricting and something a little thicker and flatter feels more normal. There are different sorts of backs and edges, and actually trying on different sizes can help especially if either of you has big knuckles but thin fingers.

"Maybe are there cool things to do like get your names written on the inside or something? What are the possibilities there?"

Definitely! Most jewelers will do this for you! (In fact, a local place that does it on-site is a good way to know they're reasonably full-service.) Just know that over time anything inscribed on the inside will gradually wear away, especially with gold (which is a very soft metal). We got ours engraved and to me the slow wearing-away is fine -- as the ring gets more and more worn-in the engraving softens and fades and I feel like that's a nice symbol of the longevity of our marriage. But I have a friend who is CRAZY STRESSED about the engraving wearing away and hates it. (It doesn't wear away that fast, but if you're going to be married 40 years, there's going to be wearing-away.) So, you know, think about that when you decide.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:04 PM on August 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Also, when you go to an in-person jeweler -- some of them are interested in upselling you (particularly mall-type chains where the corporate HQ has mandated upselling) and others are interested in creating a relationship with you and having you tell your friends they're great. A smart jewelry store doesn't just say "here's our one-time sale, let's score a big margin" but "sure, they want inexpensive but nice rings NOW, but they've got friends getting married who are going to want $10,000 engagement rings, and in five years they're going to want diamond anniversary studs, and in fifteen years an emerald bracelet, and maybe they'll think of us when they want some hoop earrings or a gold chain for a pendant, so what we want here is a crazy satisfied customer even if we only make $10 on a $300 ring, and definitely educating them on jewelry and helping them find something they're happy with is part of our job, the payoff is in the 20-year relationship."

(If they remove links from your watch free, and replace watch batteries either free or for the cost of the battery, and offer to clean your hypothetical engagement ring free while you shop, that's a good first screener! It's smart to provide you these really simple, five-minute jewelry-related services for free so you come back there when you need earrings AND you spend the time while they fix it gazing at their sparkly merchandise!)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:21 PM on August 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you want simple timeless luxury, a nice sized 22 karat gold band should cost about $2000. Shop around, as this is the commodity market of the rings world. Try things on. Visit different jewelry stores. Stay out of the big box stores.
posted by oceanjesse at 7:26 AM on August 27, 2016

Seconding the thing about "comfort fit" or rounded edges, especially on the inside. I got a plain, straight edge band and it's ok, but I can definitely feel the edge on my fingers.
posted by Ochre,Hugh at 8:46 AM on August 27, 2016

Love both of these sellers
posted by speakeasy at 10:28 AM on August 27, 2016

I LOVE my Stout Woodworks ring.

* Picture 1
* Picture 2

The pictures are a little blurry because I did them quickly. I've had the ring for two years and I wear it every day, and it has effectively no wear. They do test the rings for durability, but I don't shower with it, I put it in my pocket (not on the sink) when I wash my hands, and I keep sunscreen and hand sanitizer off of it. I get occasional compliments and questions about the ring, and I wouldn't have anything else.
posted by cnc at 11:28 AM on August 27, 2016

We wanted inexpensive, non-conflict, non-traditional color, no stones and easy to remove in case of accident, so we went with stainless steel. We found a nice pair of black rings for $25 US on eBay and though the original coating has worn down after 5 years (especially on my band, as I use my hands a lot), I quite like the unique gunmetal patina.
posted by i feel possessed at 8:49 AM on August 28, 2016

Oh, and yes, the "comfort fit" rounded edges are so much more comfortable. I don't think I could wear my ring otherwise. If either of you use your hands a lot, especially if you're holding things that will make the rings dig into your skin, do yourselves the favor of getting the rounded edges.
posted by i feel possessed at 8:55 AM on August 28, 2016

« Older Is it as simple as saying, "Please leave me alone"...   |   Portland adventure for 2 friends getting over... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.