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What Are the Different Types of Wedding Bands?

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Two wedding bands in a box

If you're about to get engaged or recently got engaged, now’s the perfect time to start thinking about the type of wedding band you want. Wedding bands are typically exchanged during the marriage ceremony and are intended to symbolize a couple’s commitment to each other for eternity.

Many couples shop for their wedding bands together, sometimes choosing a matching set or just as often, selecting styles that suit their individual personalities. From simple metal wedding bands to bold statements set with colored gemstones or diamonds, you have a plethora of options to choose from—sometimes the smallest adjustment to the archetypal wedding band design (like making the round shape square, or adding a knife edge down the center) can make your wedding band feel infinitely more personal and unique.

In Western culture, wedding bands are traditionally worn on the fourth finger of the left hand. Given that your wedding band will likely remain on that finger most of the time, make sure to choose a style that fits comfortably and securely—no design element is worth sacrificing comfort! 

 

Wedding Bands – A Brief History

The practice of couples wearing and giving rings as a sign of fidelity and commitment dates back many thousands of years. According to the Gemological Institute of America, ancient Egyptians braided reeds into rings, their circular shape—with no beginning and no end—serving as a symbol of eternity. During the Greek and Roman eras, wedding bands represented a prosperous life and eternal love. Ancient Greeks used rings that depicted Eros or Cupid, the God of love, to symbolize devotion while the Romans used wedding bands made from iron and copper in marital ceremonies. During the 12th century, the Christian church established marriage as a "holy sacrament" solemnized by a wedding ceremony that included the placement of a ring on the bride's finger.

While it’s common for men to wear wedding bands nowadays, this practice didn’t become popular until WWII, when American and European soldiers wore wedding rings to remember their partners who were thousands of miles away. They continued to do so during the Korean War; afterward, wedding bands for men became popular among the general population. 

Today, couples around the world wear wedding bands to indicate their marital status and have a shiny, daily reminder of their love for, and lifelong commitment to, their partner.

Whether you prefer the sleek elegance of a plain gold wedding band, unique hammered finishes, or rows upon rows of glistening diamonds, read on to land on the type of wedding band that looks and feels entirely perfect for you.  

 

Metal Wedding Bands

Metal wedding bands are typically made from gold, platinum, silver, titanium, or tungsten. They are available in a range of styles, widths, and designs to suit personal preferences. 

  • Gold -The most popular metal for wedding bands is 14k or 18k gold in shades of traditional yellow, white, or rose. A can’t-go-wrong classic!
  • Platinum – The Champagne of metals, with its lustrous, bright white sheen, platinum is strong, with a weighty, substantial feel. It’s the most expensive option you can get, but its vibe is undeniably luxe. If you have your heart set on white metal, platinum is a wise choice because it will not dull or tarnish over time.
  • Silver -  A great choice for couples on a budget, it’s a soft, malleable metal so it’s easy to sculpt, solder, and polish into unique designs. However, silver tarnishes easily and is prone to scratches. 
  • Titanium - If you’re searching for non-traditional wedding band metals, titanium is a cool alternative to gold or platinum. It is a robust metal—strong enough to withstand daily wear—but it also offers a lightweight, barely-there feel (so if you’re not a “jewelry person,” this one’s for you). Due to its resistance to heat, a titanium wedding band cannot be resized.
  • Tungsten Carbide - One of the strongest metals for wedding bands, tungsten carbide rings are another cool alternative to traditional precious metals. They are tough cookies—tungsten carbide is super strong and scratch-resistant and it comes in dark colors like gunmetal gray and black, bringing just the right amount of edge to your look. 

 

Eternity Wedding Bands

Eternity rings feature diamonds or colored gemstones set all the way around the wedding band, offering continuous sparkle from every perspective. You can also get a half-eternity ring that only shows stones on the upper half of the wedding band (a great way to save some money and half-eternity wedding bands can also be resized—full-eternity wedding bands cannot). The gems tend to be matched shapes or graduate in size. 

 

Diamond Wedding Bands

Eternity wedding bands are the most popular diamond wedding band styles, but there are many variations on the theme (including gorgeously icy, all-baguette designs with the stones set slightly askew—Suzanne Kalan’s version is a new classic). The most popular setting used for diamond wedding bands is the channel setting—a row of diamonds is securely sandwiched between two metal rails, producing a smooth and streamlined look. For a fresh, modern take, you can have a single diamond set flush into a wider metal wedding band, or a baguette set east-west. 

 

Engraved Wedding Bands

Engraved wedding bands are personal and sentimental, intensifying the connection between the ring and its wearer. The metals most commonly used in rings like gold and platinum are easy to engrave or etch via traditional techniques and tools. Rings with intricate patterns, filigree, or stones that cover the entire wedding band may not leave enough space for executing a clear engraving. The wedding band’s width is also a factor—jewelers prefer a minimum 3mm wedding band width for engravings. Wedding bands made with alternative metals like tungsten, cobalt, and stainless steel should be engraved using laser techniques.

 

Vintage Wedding Bands

When a vintage or antique wedding band gets handed down through the generations, each new owner gets to wear a piece of family history and showcase craftsmanship from a different era. If not in possession of a family heirloom wedding band, many couples seek out genuine antique or vintage wedding bands in pursuit of a design that feels one-of-a-kind, something no one else has. Another motivating factor for some couples: Wearing a vintage or antique wedding band is an earth-friendly, sustainable choice.

 

Stackable Wedding Bands

Stackable wedding bands are slender rings that can be layered atop one another on the same finger. Mixing and matching your favorite styles is a great way to flex your flair for creativity as you alternate between plain rings and rings with sparkling gemstones. Can’t decide if you want something traditional or modern? The overall look of stackable wedding bands covers both aesthetics. Pro tip: Adding more bands to your stack on important anniversaries is definitely part of the appeal! 

 

Gemstone Wedding Bands

From pretty-in-pink morganites to vibrant green emeralds and romantic red rubies, colored gemstone wedding bands are available in every color of the rainbow and are a popular alternative to traditional plain wedding bands. When interspersed with diamonds, they complement a diamond engagement ring beautifully. Don’t forget, too, that diamonds come in myriad colors from edgy black to sunny yellow and bubblegum pink (the latter two can be super pricey but they are such a unique and glamorous choice).

Once you have chosen the type of wedding band you’d like, make sure you get it insured by a reputable jewelry company like Jewelers Mutual. Obtaining personal jewelry insurance through Jewelers Mutual is an affordable option and covers loss, damage, and disappearances. You can receive a jewelry insurance quote in just 30 seconds by clicking the button below.

 

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Jewelers Mutual was founded in 1913 by a group of Wisconsin jewelers to meet their unique insurance needs. Later, consumers began putting their trust in Jewelers Mutual to protect their jewelry and the special memories each piece holds. Today, Jewelers Mutual continues to support and move the industry forward by listening to jewelers and consumers and offering products and services to meet their evolving needs. Beyond insurance, Jewelers Mutual’s powerful suite of innovative solutions and digital technology offerings help jewelers strengthen and grow their businesses, mitigate risk, and bring them closer to their customers. The Group insurers’ strong financial position is reflected in their 37 consecutive “A+ Superior” ratings from AM Best Company, as of November 2023. Policyholders of the Group insurers are members of Jewelers Mutual Holding Company. Jewelers Mutual is headquartered in Neenah, Wisconsin, with other Group offices in Dallas, Texas and Miami, Florida. To learn more, visit JewelersMutual.com.