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Info on Metal Choices
There are a ton of choices you have when you are shopping for your perfect wedding band. So many, in fact, it can be a bit confusing. So we put together a little information below to help you decide which material or metal is best for you.
Gold is precious, rare and enduring. Much like your love and commitment to your partner or spouse. Gold in its natural color is yellow, and it its purest form is quite bright and soft. Pure gold is referred to as 24K. So 18K gold would be 75% pure, 14K would be 58% pure. As the purity drops, there are more alloys added which increase the golds hardness, reduce its cost and lower the brightness.
Rose gold is very popular today. Its not new, back in the 1940s rose gold was also popular! How does it get its wonderful color? The addition of copper as an alloy turns the metal to a reddish hue. It's gorgeous!
The natural color of gold is yellow.
Think of gold nuggets, that color. So to make "white" gold, the metal is bleached using various alloys. Nickel is widely used to bring the color of the metal to a white-ish hue. But it is not a bright white color. More of a dingy off-white. To make it bright white, a white gold ring is rhodium plated. This brings it to a platinum white color. However, rhodium plating wears off - after all it is a plating. You can get your ring re-rhodium plated, but this can run you $50 - $75 each time you get it done.
Platinum rings are pure white in color, as this is the natural color of the metal. Most platinum rings are either 90% or 95% pure platinum. (Compare to gold rings that most are either 58% or 75% pure gold.) Platinum is also a very dense metal, so a platinum ring will weigh more than a gold ring. It is also a more malleable metal, meaning it does ding fairly easy. But platinum doesn't wear away from friction and thin out like a gold ring will over many years.
Just recently introduced for men's wedding bands, Damascus Steel has actually been around for centuries! It originated in Damascus, the capital city Syria from expert sword and knife makers. Using two types of steel, one harder than the other. They are folded over and over many times and forged together. This creates fascinating patterns. One of the layers being softer will react with acids so that it is etched, releasing the pattern to be visible. There are two main types of damascus steel - stainless and carbon type. The stainless type resists corrosion (rusting).
This material is actually composed of genuine lab grown diamond crystals. Yes, really! As you know, diamond is the hardest substance in the universe. The only thing that can scratch a diamond is another diamond. So Elysium rings just do not scratch. Their color is more of a super dark smoky gray color, not "jet black". It never fades, or scratches through. On average, a mans Elysium wedding band will weigh about 25 carats. They are made using poly crystalline diamonds and very expensive technology!
Tungsten rings are actually composed of tungsten powders and carbide powders, using nickel binder, and are sintered together. It's not a solid metal, per se. Tungsten rings are incredibly hard, very little can scratch them. Their color is a steely gray color, usually highly polished to a reflective surface. However, they do have some issues that you need to be aware of. Tungsten rings do break, crack and shatter if impacted hard, like dropped on a concrete or tile floor. Tungsten rings also discolor to a somewhat ugly gray color when exposed to some household chemicals, such as chlorine. And the original color can never be brought back. Black tungsten rings are just tungsten rings which have been plated black. It scratches - pretty easy! Make sure you know this before you buy.
Palladium is in the platinum family, meaning it has similar traights as platinum. It is naturally white in color (no need for rhodium plating), but a bit more grayish than platinum. It is typically 90% pure, hypo-allergenic, and less dense than platinum. So a palladium ring will typically weigh about 1/2 of what the same ring in platinum will weigh. This saves you money!
Sometimes referred to as Cobalt Chrome. Cobalt is a metal found in the earth, it is on the periodic table of elements. (Bet you forgot about that from Science class!) It has some great benefits. First, it is a pure white color - probably even brighter than platinum! It is hypo-allergenic and used inside the body, so you won't develop any rash or allergies wearing a cobalt ring. It is harder than gold (white, yellow or rose), so it does not scratch quite as easy. However, a jeweler cannot resize a cobalt ring. A very affordable option for a bright white wedding band.
Titanium is the original "alternative" or "contemporary metal" to hit the wedding band scene back around 2000. It is gray colored, hypo-allergenic, and has incredible strength. It is not hard - it scratches pretty easily. But it is hard. You can't bend a titanium ring, or break one. Perfect choice if you want a tension set ring because of its tensile strength and its amazing memory.
The official black titanium is made by Edward Mirell. They use a patented titanium alloy that includes some zirconium in it. The zirconium reacts to heat and oxygen, and turns the outside of the metal black. (More of a lighter shade of black.) This is basically an oxidation which creates a very hard, ceramic-like, black shell. Very scratch resistant. However, be careful not all "black titanium" is the same. The rings sold on amazon are only plated
and the black scratches right off. I know, I bought a couple and tested them. Junk.
Zirconium is another element in the earth that you probably forgot about since your last science class. When heated zirconium oxidizes. This oxidation is on the outside of the metal and turns very hard, like a ceramic shell. The resulting black color is very pleasing and scratch resistant.