Wedding rings

Wedding rings

A wedding ring or wedding band is a metal ring indicating the wearer is married.

Depending on the local culture, it is worn on the base of the right or the left ring finger. The custom of wearing such a ring has spread widely beyond its origin in Europe. Originally worn by wives only, wedding rings became customary for both husbands and wives during the 20th century. According to some customs, the wedding ring forms the last in a series of gifts, which may also include the engagement ring, traditionally given as a betrothal present. (Betrothel means to be engaged to be married and dates back to the first century BC).  The tradition of giving and wearing wedding rings or wedding bands, was already in use in Ancient Rome and is possibly much older.

Read more about wedding customs

Wedding rings are made from an assortment of metals, including gold, platinum, palladium, tungsten, titanium, and sterling silver. 

Platinum wedding bands 

As a pure metal, platinum is silvery-white, lustrous, ductile, and malleable. It is an extremely rare metal and often confused with silver. It has become a popular metal for use in engagement and wedding rings as well as jewellery items. 

Platinum occurs widely in the Bushveld region of South Africa, which includes Polokwane and Mokopane. The jewellery trade advises jewellers to present minute surface scratches (patina) as a desirable feature in platinum jewellery.

Exclusive watch brands, such as Vacheron Constantin, Patek Philippe, Rolex, Breitling and other companies use platinum for producing their limited edition watch series.

Watchmakers appreciate the unique properties of platinum, as it neither tarnishes nor wears out (relative to gold). Platinum’s rarity as a metal is used by advertisers to associate it with exclusivity and wealth. “Platinum” debit cards have greater privileges than do “gold” ones. “Platinum awards” are the second highest possible, ranking above “gold”, “silver” and “bronze”, but below diamond. For example, in the United States, a musical album that sells more than 1 million copies, will be credited with “platinum” status, whereas an album that sells more than 10 million copies will be credited with “diamond” status.

Platinum is considered a precious metal, although its use is not as common as the use of gold or silver. The frame of the Crown of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, manufactured for her coronation as Consort of King George VI, is made of platinum. It was the first British crown to be made of this particular metal. (Wikipedia

Gold wedding rings 

Gold is the most popular and also the traditional metal used for wedding rings.

The quality of the gold is indicated by the letter “k” for “karat” or “c” for “carat”, followed by a number e.g. 10k, 14k, 18k or 24k.  Carat is a measure of the purity of gold alloys. It is measured as 24 times the purity by mass. 24ct gold is the most expensive of all gold but is very soft and considered very difficult to work with and therefore, not many wedding rings are made of 24ct gold. 

Silver wedding rings 

Silver as a wedding ring material is versatile, durable and affordable, making it a favourite with people who do not have an unlimited budget. 

Mian Shahzad Raza from Pixabay

Jewellers usually use sterling silver, which is comprised of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals. Silver can be polished to a high shine and complements diamonds well when viewed together. 

Palladium wedding rings 

Palladium is silvery-white and a popular wedding ring metal as it is more affordable. 

People who like the look of platinum, white gold or silver, often choose palladium because it is whiter than silver or white gold, about as lightweight as silver, and it is more affordable than platinum.

It is a popular material for making watches but more and more people choose it for their rings as it has become more affordable. Palladium is one of the three most popular metals used to make white gold alloys. Palladium are also mined in the Bushveld Basin. 

Titanium wedding rings 

Titanium is a popular material for the manufacture of wedding rings as it is more affordable, scratch resistant and hypo-allergenic (it causes less allergic reactions than some other metals). 

Titanium has a silvery shine to it which can be polished to a brilliant shine. It can also be coloured and is popular with people who choose something out of the ordinary when deciding on a material for a wedding ring.

It is known for its strength-to-weight properties. 

Tungsten wedding rings 

Tungsten is an extremely hard steel-grey metal which can be polished to a high shine but is scratch resistant.

It is popular as a wedding ring material with men who work with their hands. Tungsten creates low maintenance rings and are very affordable.