Men’s Wedding Bands – Origin, Significance, Cost, and Tips to Choose
Every culture has its own traditions when it comes to marriage – wedding clothes, rituals, food traditions, color themes, and more. Wedding rings are one such cultural tradition that also holds a lot of historical significance. Although a wedding ring carries the same symbolic significance almost everywhere in the world but the styling, construction, and how it is worn varies throughout the world.
A Deeper Insight into the Historical and Cultural Significance of Wedding Rings
In the Egyptian times, the earliest of rings were made from bone, leather, ivory and hemp and formed into a circle – the symbol of eternity. It was believed that the hole in the ring’s center represented a gateway or door leading to future events. Egyptians also believed that a vein, called Vena Amoris, ran from the fourth finger (ring finger) of the left hand straight to the heart. More romantic notions were added later on with the thought of the “ring finger”. The metal rings came into existence some time later. These rings were seen more of an expression of wealth than romance as very few people could afford a metal wedding ring fitted with semi-precious and precious stones.
The tradition of wedding rings continued in the Ancient Roman period and in countless other cultures. But in the Ancient Rome, the ring was given to the bride’s father as a symbol of “bride purchase” and a statement that the woman now belongs to the man. Later, a tradition started where the bride herself was given an expensive gold ring by the groom showing his trust on her with his worldly possessions. An iron ring, sometimes sporting a tiny key shape, was often used as a wedding ring for daily wear as a sign that the wife has unlocked her husband’s heart.
The idea of wedding rings in the traditional East Asian culture was somewhat less romantic and seen more as the seal of a legal contract. The marriage was sealed with a puzzle wedding ring that was said to be in many different pieces and would immediately fell apart if taken off. So, the husband would know if the wife removed her wedding ring in his absence. Certainly a problem for the unfaithful wives!
Gimmel rings originated in France during the renaissance period. A type of puzzle ring, such wedding rings had two interlocking bands – one for the bride, and one for the groom. At the wedding, the two halves would join and the wife would wear it afterwards. Just like two lovers, the two halves would become one with a promise of a forever relationship! The rings continued to become more lavish and highly embellished with the incorporation of gold and other precious gems.
Wedding Rings and Men – How it Started?
Until the 20 th century, wedding rings had been worn only by women. During the WWII, the world saw the emergence of wedding rings for men. The men would wear them during wartime as an indication of remembrance and commitment to their beloved wives at home. In times when they were not even sure of returning back and see their wives again, a wedding ring marked the couple’s eternal love. Wedding rings for men have come a long way since then, with the emergence of stylish designs and newer metals.
Styles in Men’s Wedding Rings
For those who have gone through it would agree that choosing a style is certainly the most difficult task in the entire process. Endless design styles, shapes and patterns to choose from – it can easily overwhelm anyone to find exactly what you want! No doubt, the task is daunting but you’ll be wearing your wedding ring for life, so better make up your mind to settle down and enjoy the process. So, what styles do we have?
Plain Wedding Bands
Many couples still seek for the more traditional, plain bands for their utterly timeless appeal and versatility. If something can express the symbolism of a wedding band in its purest essence, there is nothing better than the purity and elegance of a plain band. Even though such bands look plain and simple from the outside, you can still add special, unique personal touches on the inside of a plain band too. Your spouse’s initials, your wedding date, or even a few special words – you decide, what you want!
If we go back a few decades, the most common choice in men’s bands used to be the plain gold bands – generally wider than the women’s bands. The bands worn by traditional men were very simple and plain. The sparkle and glitz were left for the women. No doubt, gold still holds its place in wedding jewelry but the simple plain wedding bands have undergone a transformation with the availability of an extensive range of precious and non-precious metals, such as platinum, white/rose/yellow-gold, silver, titanium, tungsten, palladium, steel, and more for a more stylish and elegant look and feel. Even a plain band can give a modern and classy feel by having a combination of polished and matte finish.
While some couples still prefer the understated elegance of a plain band, a larger section of the new-age couples is moving towards the modern, dazzling ring styles. The modern patterned bands are just right to add a personal touch and do things a little differently on your special day. Couples are appreciating the beauty of patterned wedding bands while designers are using ergonomics to make these rings more comfortable to wear. Some of the popular patterns in bands for men include tiled pattern, milgrain line with textured center, off-center groove, twin center groove, beaded center, and beveled edges. The mixed metal bands are also emerging and making a grand appearance with its sheer ability to accentuate your unique taste.
Today, bands are accented with various distinctive surface designs that add texture for a unique, outstanding look. Men are enjoying a bigger selection than ever before, and becoming more aware of the jewelry and accessories they would want to wear to stand look.
Diamond Bands Coming into Trend
A Bit of History: The first recorded account of diamond betrothal ring was in the year 1477 by Archduke Maximilian of Austria to Mary of Burgundy. He proposed his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy with a ring set with thin, flat pieces of diamonds in the shape of an “M”. This triggered a trend for diamond rings among European aristocracy and nobility. The ornate wedding rings embellished with mixed diamonds and other gemstones, precious metals and enamel also got popular during the Victorian era. These rings were crafted in the shapes of flowers and were often labeled as “posey” rings. The tradition of pairing diamonds with other embellishments in filigree settings continued during the Edwardian era.
The use of diamonds increased by almost 50 percent when, in the 1930s, the De Beers Company started an assertive marketing campaign using photographs of popular celebrities draped in gorgeous diamonds. The accessibility of diamonds to the general public got a new dimension with the opening of the DeBeers mines in Africa. Furthermore, in 1947, DeBeers spurred even more sale with the launch of the new campaign with classic slogan – “A Diamond is Forever”. The slogan conveyed the idea that marriage is forever as the implied durability of a diamond.
The purity and sparkle of the diamond even today signifies the man’s deep commitment and a celebration of the union.
The Diamond & Men Debate
Men keep asking every now and then if it is okay for a man to wear a wedding ring decorated with diamonds. Well, diamond encrusted bands for men have certainly gone from something skeptical to totally acceptable for lot modern men. The sparkle and sophistication diamond bands exude are loved by stylish men in every corner of the world. Above all, the real answer to this diamond-men debate is if you want a diamond in your ring – get one for yourself. Others’ opinions should mean very little as you are the one who has to wear it for life – not them.
Cost of Men’s Bands – Choose What Suits Your Budget
The cost of wedding bands for men depends more or less on the kind of band you choose. A precious metal wedding band encrusted with diamonds or gemstones would certainly cost you more than a plain gold wedding band. And say a two metal wedding band would be something in between. Sounds logical? Certainly. No wedding band is better than the other, it all rolls down on your personal preference…and of course, the ultimate buzzkill – BUDGET. Here, we are going to talk about the average costs of a certain variety of men’s bands. However, the costs will certainly vary depending on which brand stores you are looking.
Going for the top-of-the-line diamond studded bands may range from $1,800 to much, much higher, depending on the type of ring you add the diamonds to. A white-hot platinum ring is always going to cost you more than a gold or tungsten band. Down the cost chart are the premium platinum bands, which are known for classic appeal and durability. A platinum men’s wedding band will cost you around $1,200. When talking about platinum, you would definitely get to hear a thing or two about how it develops something called a “patina”, which gives it a unique, antique look over time. Palladium, which maintains a white platinum look with minimal maintenance, has an average cost of $700. However, being a rarer metal than platinum, gold or even tungsten, only fewer jewelers are skilled enough to work with palladium wedding rings. For gold wedding rings, the cost depends on the amount of gold karat the band contains. The higher the karats, higher the cost. When shopping for a gold wedding band, the average cost falls around $500. However, with different variations in the form of white gold, rose gold, or classic yellow gold, the rates can further vary too. The new masculine tungsten wedding rings in black or grey can cost you nearby $250. If you like the look, definitely go for it!
Simple yet Important Considerations When Choosing Your Perfect Wedding Ring
If you think choosing wedding rings for men should be an easy thing to do – you’re of course wrong. Nothing seems to be easy when it comes to getting married, right? Most to-be-grooms have no idea where to begin with – “how do I find my ring size?”, “What metal would be the best?”, “Is it okay to wear diamond bands?” and the list goes on. The added pressure to find that perfect ring that expresses their personality and style makes them all the more nervous. Here are answers to all the important questions to make buying the perfect wedding ring easier and more enjoyable!
It would certainly be embarrassing to present an ill-fitting ring to your beloved or get your own ring size incorrect. Therefore, it is always a good idea to have your size in mind when thinking about wedding rings. Just guessing and buying yourself a wedding ring that doesn’t fit properly can definitely become a reason of stress afterwards.
As a matter of fact, there is no universal standard for measuring ring sizes. A little creativity will definitely help you in the process. Try with a strip of paper, wrap it around your finger’s circumference and then measure the length with the help of a ruler or measuring tape. It is one of the easiest and the most accessible method used by a lot of online jewelry stores today. The jewelry stores can easily figure out the circumference of your ring size with its length with the standard conversation tables available. If you are thinking to buy your band from a brick-and-mortar jewelry store, you are most probably going to find ring sizers.
A good idea is to bring a ring of the person for whom the wedding ring is intended – either you or your fiancé. This way the jeweler can easily get the band’s perfect size and fit.
#Tip: Always measure your ring size when the day is almost over as your fingers are at their largest. Your fingers are at their smallest when they are cold. In case, you don’t find the ring in your exact size, choose the next larger size.
When it comes to picking out the perfect wedding product, the band’s width is another important factor you need to watch out for. Don’t be overwhelmed when we say the ring widths range all the way from a very narrow 2mm to a very wide 20mm. However, in context of the wedding pieces, men generally tend to choose to wear a wider band, typically between 5mm to 8mm. Deciding on a specific width for the band all rolls down to your own personal preference. You will definitely be looking for a band width that will flatter your hand and finger size. When visiting a jewelry store to try on bands, a 6mm band would most definitely make a good starting point.
Narrow, thin bands, i.e. 2, 3, 4mm bands, will always seem to be a better pick on slender fingers, irrespective of your hand’s size. For men who have never worn a ring before, narrow wedding bands would be a slightly better option to adjust with. However, some men may find anything below 5mm a little wimpy or feminine.
Wide, thicker bands between 7 to 9mm look most appealing on men with broader fingers (generally with a broad body type too!). So, unless you have got some really slender fingers, it is suggested to go for 6mm or over as they tend to lend a more balanced and proportional look on a man’s hand.
Whether considering a thin band or a wider band, keep in mind that the cost will depend on the quantity of the metal used.
The finish of a men’s band refers to its surface treatment or appearance, or we can say, something that describes the texture of a ring’s metal. Following are some of the popular finishes available in wedding bands for men.
- High Polish: A high polish finish is attractively bright with a reflective appearance. While it is the most traditional choice, it is also the most common finish seen in men’s rings and jewelry. It adds shine and highlights a metal’s warm or cool undertones.
- Matte: Matte finish is less reflective with a sense of understated, modern feel. The roughened texture diffuses light and looks as it has been treated with the bristles of a brush. The textured matte look lends a no-fuss masculinity and is capable of standing up against bumps and scrapes better than a polished finish.
- Satin: Polished but not shiny – Satin is somewhat similar to a brushed finish. The soft look of satin finish is a popular choice in contemporary jewelry market. A satin finish feels smooth to touch like a high polish finish, while a matte finish has a textured feel.
- Hammered: A unique, eye-catching artisan look that appears as though the metal is hammered out by hand to create a textured effect. The micro-hammered finish is a type of hammered finish that presents smaller bumps and distinctive dimples.
- Wired: A wired finish looks as though the metal has been scratched or beaten repeatedly with a thin piece of wire. This unique finish is mostly popular in contemporary rings.
If you ever wondered why different rings feel different on your finger even when they are made from the same material, a logical explanation to this is the interior fit. There are two types of sizing systems when it comes to men’s rings: Comfort-Fit and Standard-Fit, and in all honesty this factor is just as important as getting your ring size correct. Comfort-fit is a more recent innovation while the standard fit is an older type of interior fit.
Comfort Fit bands have a rounded interior and an oval cross-section. As the name suggests, this type of fitting is very comfortable to wear for people that are not used to wearing rings, like most men. Such bands also possess easy removal and thus great for people who have to frequently take off their wedding band. The Comfort Fit wedding bands are made using extra metal to make the inside of the band slightly domed for a comfortable fit. They slide over the knuckle easily and tend to put less pressure on the finger. Also, it creates less friction due to the fact that it covers less skin surface area. Comfort-fit is most commonly used in bands that are hard to resize, such as tungsten, chrome, titanium, ceramic, and cobalt.
Standard Fit bands are also sometimes refereed as traditional fit rings, and have a straight interior. They do not have the extra dome of metal as in those comfort fit bands. Such type of fitting is most commonly used in platinum, palladium, and white gold metal rings. While Standard Fit has been used in the jewelry industry for many, many years, the newer Comfort Fit is definitely more comfortable to wear.
The comfort-fit is a little more expensive than Standard-fit bands because of the extra precious metal required to make the interior of the ring domed. But if your budget allows, Comfort-fit styles are strongly recommended for band widths of 5mm and wider.
Pick Your Metal
Now let’s get onto the more interesting and enjoyable part of the process – after finding your ring size, width and establishing what’s comfortable – it’s time to make a decision on what your special ring will look like. It’s time to pick your ring metal. Your band’s metal is the soul of your band. So, when it comes to purchasing your wedding band, considering the type of metal is an extremely important factor when making your final choice. The ring metal can not only influence the looks, but also give you a better idea of its price, maintenance, and care. Some would be more expensive; some would last longer than others. Some would possess the desired durability; some would be just too fussy to be resized or easily cut off. The choice of metal for your wedding ring can be based purely on the visual appeal or can be based on the wearer’s lifestyle.
There are a hell lot of factors to consider before you decide on the type of metal for your wedding ring. From the precious silvery-white platinum to any of the three exquisite varieties (yellow, white, rose) of gold to the durable metals like palladium, titanium, and tungsten, the right metal choice will always play a significant role in deciding the perfect wedding ring for the groom. Each metal has its own set of unique characteristics and hence could definitely make a big difference.