While you might love the look, historical significance and price of bronze, the question of whether this metal suits a wedding band is another thing altogether. Bronze is a beautiful metal with a distinct golden hue, ideal for use in all types of jewelry.
Although it’s not a traditional metal for wedding bands, bronze has a natural look, perfect for someone looking for something more casual and rustic.
But bronze does come with its downsides, including tarnishing and patina.
So, the question becomes:
Should you buy a bronze wedding band or avoid it?
Let’s find out.
What is Bronze?
Brushed bronze wedding band. See it here.
Bronze is known for being the first alloy ever created by humans and has been used for over 3000 years. Before bronze, the materials that humans used were wood, stone and copper. The invention of bronze changed how things were done, influencing warfare, construction, art, music, coins, medals and jewelry. No wonder an entire period is called the Bronze Age, to reflect the significance of the alloy’s influence.
Bronze is typically created by mixing copper with tin, at a ratio of about 88% copper to 12% tin. Other metals may be added to increase the durability and workability of bronze, including zinc, nickel, aluminium and phosphorous.
Bronze Color and Appearance
Bronze has an earthy color ranging from gold to tan which suits all skin tones. It’s a warm color tone that has a rustic, natural touch to it. Because of the versatility of this color, bronze looks beautiful when paired with other metals and gemstones.
Although bronze is much harder than copper and very durable, it’s workable enough to be crafted into beautiful designs and finishes. Some popular finishes for bronze include hammered, matte, satin, swirl and polished.
Bronze Wedding Band and Ring Designs
Because bronze isn’t a typical metal for wedding rings, designs and styles for wedding bands will be limited. You won’t find bronze rings on popular engagement ring shops, because they focus on precious metals like gold and platinum.
Rather, if you take your search to artisan, hand-made retailers, as can be found on Etsy or Amazon, you’ll have a large range to choose from.
Bronze is a versatile metal and can adapt to suit a range of styles. However, it never quite achieves the sophisticated elegance of gold or platinum, and always displays a beautiful, natural, bohemian look which sets bronze apart and makes it so well-loved.
Here are some designs that caught our eye:
Rustic pair of bronze wedding bands by Riverdale Ironworks. Check price here.
Stylish bronze wedding band by Crazyass JD. Check price here.
Hammered wedding ring by Arketipo. Check price here.
Non-traditional bronze wedding bands. Check price here.
The Pros and Cons of a Bronze Wedding Band
If you’re on board so far with the idea of a bronze wedding band, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of this historically significant metal:
- Affordable – a bronze wedding band is much more affordable than a band made out of a traditional precious metal. For the average price of around $100, you can find a beautifully finished bronze wedding band that’ll stand out on your finger.
- Unique Color – we’ve spoken about color already but let’s just touch on it again because it’s really what sets bronze apart from other metals. Bronze’s beautiful earthy tone gives you a wide range of options to choose from. If you want something more similar in color to gold, you can opt for a burnished, golden shade while if a copper look is more what you’re after, bronze can give you that too.
- Durable – bronze is highly durable and can withstand years of use with no issues. It’s resistant to scratches, making it perfect for a wedding band. Note that it’ll tarnish with time (more on this in the cons section).
- Potential Health Benefits – bronze can have some health benefits for those with copper deficiency. The human body needs copper, which is an essential nutrient for the body, and because bronze has copper in its composition, the skin tends to absorb the required amount of copper from the metal. This is also why bronze can turn your skin green (more on this below).
- Not Hypoallergenic – this is a concern for those with metal allergies and sensitivities. Because bronze alloys typically have nickel or zinc, common allergens for those with metal allergies, bronze isn’t hypoallergenic and can cause reactions. Nickel, especially, is an allergen that affects about 20% of the population, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Tarnishing – the copper content in bronze is the culprit for this, but bronze tends to acquire a patina and tarnishes when exposed to moisture and air. This happens over time and results in a green patina. The patina can be a benefit, and can be used to create very unique, gorgeous patterns and designs but overall, if you want your ring to be reflective and shiny, you’ll have to clean out the patina from time to time.
- Green Skin – once again, the blame goes to copper. When the copper in bronze gets into contact with your skin, it reacts with the sweat and body oils to create copper chelates. This gets absorbed by your skin and the extra chelates then oxidizes and discolors on your skin, staining it green. While this isn’t harmful, it just doesn’t look good and can be annoying to remove. You can avoid this by sealing the bronze with clear nail polish or a commercial sealant that’ll keep the copper in check.
Cleaning and Caring for a Bronze Wedding Band
If you’ve decided to get a bronze wedding band, knowing how to keep it clean is important to keep it lustrous. Here are some tips:
- For regular cleaning, use warm water and a mild liquid soap with a soft cloth. Clean it as you would your other jewelry.
- Always wipe it carefully before you store it as the moisture can cause tarnishing to speed up.
- To remove any patina that develops on the ring, use organic household ingredients. We recommend lemon or vinegar and bicarbonate of soda.
- While you can use a commercial, store-bought cleaner, these tend to have a lot of chemicals and abrasives that can damage the surface of your bronze ring.
- To add extra shine to your ring, use wax or a polish that’ll keep it lustrous.