A buying guide for men’s wedding bands: What materials are available?

Looking to buy a men’s wedding band? Find out what kind of materials you can choose from, and the textures and finishes that are available.

When thinking about wedding band materials, most people default to metal, and it isn’t hard to see why. Most high-quality metal rings are effectively immune to damage, are easily repairable, and last a lifetime. However, several other unique materials go unnoticed. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at the most common and underlooked wedding band shapes, metals and materials, textures and details, and finishes to help you pick out the best option.

Wedding band shapes

Classic wedding bands are round, representing the endless love and devotion you’ll have for your partner. However, your ring shape of choice will determine comfort and size.

  • Domed: A classic style with round edges.
  • Flat: Minimal, contemporary, and rests flat.
  • Knife-Edged: This style has two slope edges that connect in the middle. 
  • Beveled: Majorly flat but has edges that are cut at an angle.
  • Step: Has multiple small ridges that add dimension to a flat band.
  • Coin: Cut similarly to the sides of a coin.

Keep in mind that the band’s shape can also determine what finish you can and can’t use. For example, these hammered wedding rings for men by Alpine Rings primarily use a flat band. A flat wedding ring is less likely to fracture/split when hammered.

Wedding metals and materials

Wedding bands come in a wide range of materials, so we recommend choosing one that fits your comfort level, lifestyle, and career. Gold is the most classic due to its enduring qualities and low-price point. Gold can come in any color, with karats typically ranging from 14K-24K.

Here are the most common metal wedding band types on the market:

  • Gold: White gold, rose gold, and yellow gold. 
  • Platinum: A pure metal. Expensive. Comes in white.
  • Palladium: A pure metal. Very expensive, hypoallergenic, and comes in white.
  • Sterling Silver: High-maintenance, scratches easily but is flexible and inexpensive.
  • Stainless Steel: Durable, affordable, and needs to be polished often.
  • Cobalt: Stronger than gold, but like stainless steel, it can’t be resized.
  • Titanium: Strong, lightweight, but nearly impossible to size.
  • Tungsten: Low maintenance, never tarnishes or scratches, but is difficult to work with.

There are also plenty of unconventional materials you can use for a ring. Keep in mind that most of the following materials are less sturdy than metal, so they may use metal as a base to strengthen them. If they don’t, they should only be worn for desk-related work, and removed for any physical activity:

  • Antler
  • Enamel
  • Stone
  • Dinosaur Bone
  • Fishing Line
  • Guitar Strings
  • Wood
  • Meteorite
  • Vinyl
  • Shell
  • Stardust
  • Gemstone
  • Bike Chain
  • Concrete
  • Carbon Fiber

Meteorite and stone are the hardiest and less likely to crack out of the above materials.

Wedding band textures and details

Adding textures and details to your ring can be costly, but it’s often worth it. Ideally, you’ll be wearing this ring every day of your life, so it has to suit your overall style.

Here are a few ring textures and/or details you may want to invest in:

  • Rope Twist: Resembles woven textures.
  • Millegrain: Adds tiny cuts that look like beads.
  • Granulation: Fuses beads on the surface of the ring.
  • Mokume Gane: Makes metal look like wood-grain.
  • Linear/Scattered: Adds gemstones to the ring.
  • Recessed Stipe/Line: Engraved a line across the ring.

Certain textures/details won’t allow you to add specific finishes to your ring.

Wedding band finishes

Your last step is to pick your finish. We recommend choosing satin, matte, brushed, hammered, or sandblasted for a more subdued look. For a more traditional, shiny look, go for polished.

Let’s take a closer look at the mentioned finishes:

  • Polished: Shiny and reflective and needs to be polished often.
  • Satin: Smooth and less shiny. Doesn’t reflect light.
  • Brushed: Has a soft texture that isn’t completely smooth.
  • Matte: Diffuses light and is easy to care for.
  • Hammered: Requires an experienced blacksmith. Can be shiny or matte.
  • Sandblasted: A rough-finish that requires a professional to polish.

After this step, you can choose to hand engrave, or laser engrave your jewelry

Photo by Nick Karvounis