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For a man, a wedding ring might be the only ring you ever buy for yourself. Regardless of whether you buy one or many, the level of formality and the significance of the purchase means it’s vital you make an informed choice. In this article, we outline the factors to consider when choosing the right wedding ring for a man.
Choosing the Size of the Ring
One of the most important factors to consider is the size of your ring. Most people stress out about measuring their ring finger accurately, because of the precision required to get it right. But it’s not all that difficult if you know what you’re looking for.
It goes without saying that the bigger your hands, the bigger the ring size. While a size 10 is the US average, it’s not something you should leave to chance.
The circumference of your ring finger is easy to measure and is the basis upon which ring sizes are calculated. Once you’ve checked your size on an appropriate chart, make sure the reading matches your country of purchase. For example, there’s [literally] a huge difference between an American and Japanese size 6 for a ring, so you want to get your sizing right (especially if you’re shopping online).
From there, comfort and appearance are your reference points, and there’s no substitute for trying a ring on.
This is why we recommend merging the worlds of physical and online shopping to get the best of both worlds. If it’s possible, try various rings at a physical store and find the most comfortable size and design that you think suits you best, and then expand your search online to make use of the competitive pricing and endless choices.
Most online retailers have several resources and tips to help you find the right ring size. For example, James Allen offers a free ring sizer that they will post to your home. Such options reduce the margin of error. And even if you do get the size wrong, most retailers offer at least one free ring resizing.
Choosing the Ring Width
The width of a ring is different from its thickness. Ring width refers to how wide the metal of the ring is and can be seen when the ring is worn on your finger. There are standard ring widths, ranging from 2mm to over 12mm. Some rings can reach upwards of 20mm, depending on your preference and style.
Between 5mm and 7mm is the average width of a men’s wedding ring and tends to be the most popular.
A two millimeters variation can make quite a difference to the overall appearance of the ring as it sits on your finger, so the best way to determine which width suits you is through an analysis of your finger length and shape.
Because the ring’s width measures up and down the finger, a slimmer width suits slimmer digits, while a thicker width is best for chunkier hands. While it’s not an exact science, you will notice a difference in width options when you try the ring on.
What is Ring Thickness?
Ring thickness refers to the thickness of the metal when viewed from the side, or the profile, of the ring. It indicates how much metal has been used in crafting the ring.
Thicker rings for men have an emboldening effect – the thickness will make the ring sit up on your finger and draw more attention. Thicker rings also contain more metal, which makes them stronger, but more expensive.
As with width, the greater thickness can symbolize masculinity, and if you’re considering embellishments such as inset stones, a greater thickness and width consolidate any feminizing elements nicely.
Unlike traditional approaches to purchasing a women’s ring, men’s larger hands can be emphasized with a thick ring [again signifying strength and masculinity] while thinner hands are best complimented with a narrower bandwidth for a more sophisticated appearance.
Choosing the Color of Your Ring
By tradition, three colors dominate for both male and female wedding rings: white metals and yellow and rose gold.
White metals refer to any jewelry metal that has a silver hue. This includes palladium, platinum, titanium, sterling silver, stainless steel, aluminum, tungsten and cobalt. White hued metals are modern and stylish.
Of greater visual impact with silver will be any engraved embellishments, such as herringbone, that can emphasize texture, polish and – depending on the depth of the cut – utilize shadow for a darker look.
Silver is a cool color, so for stone embellishments, strong but equally cool gem colors like blue, green, and colorless diamonds can create a striking appearance.
Yellow and Rose Gold
Yellow gold is a warmer, richer option. Quality famously varies with high caratage [up to 24 carats] being the purest and most desirable option due to its lack of impurities. Yellow gold is also the most traditional type of metal and has been used for centuries for wedding rings. Classic and sophisticated, yellow gold suits warm tones. While it doesn’t need to be re-plated, it may require polishing to remove scratches, considering that the higher the caratage, the softer the metal.
In terms of rose gold, this is a newer style that has become popular among men too. Rose gold suits any skin tone, and although it is traditionally seen as feminine in tone, today, masculine designs tend to balance out the femininity of the color.
There is no rule that states your wedding ring should match the color and design of your partner’s, although this can certainly be a meaningful way of expressing your union. In this case, the groom’s ring should follow the bride’s choice, as a matter of etiquette.
Otherwise, your ring’s color and materials may well be influenced by your own color preferences, and match your skin and hair tones, with gemstones matching your eye coloring. For a good initial reference point, consider whether you would wear a wristwatch or other jewelry items, and what color and materials these utilize.
As with other jewelry items, getting the color or material of your ring wrong is not disastrous, but you can create a more dynamic effect by working these elements into your natural palette.
What Metal to Choose for Your Ring
As already mentioned, there are many types of metals for men’s wedding rings. The most classic choices are gold and platinum. These are more expensive but are prestigious, and valuable, and hold their value over time. Every jewelry retailer offers a variety of designs in these metals.
However, these days, there are several other options to choose from too. These are alternatives and include a wide range of industrial metals.
Many of these alternative metals are relatively low maintenance, scratch resistant, and comfortable while being less expensive than upmarket gold or platinum. Each of these options has its pros and cons, so it’s important to do research to find the right one.
Choosing the Finish and Embellishments
It’s worth remembering that your wedding ring is a symbol of your love for your partner, not your favorite football team or music, so unless you’re both huge fans of the Jets or heavy rock, hold back on helmet or skull designs. Inset stones are an all-around classy look, with positioning around the band more conservative than a central gem setting.
High-end modern rings also incorporate different metals to create striking finishes that both highlight the metals in play and also create interesting patterns, like rock and bark textures.
There are many ring finishes to consider, including matte, satin, sandblasted, inlay, hammered, brushed, high polish, and more. Again, there is no right or wrong here, as it comes down to preference and which style of ring you think looks best on your finger.
How Important is Comfort?
You’ll likely be wearing your ring all day virtually every day, so comfort is of the utmost importance.
Both tightness, when there is no movement of the ring around or up and down from your hand to the first knuckle, and looseness, where the ring can be too easily removed, should be avoided as both will prove uncomfortable and unwieldy.
Alternatives to Wedding Rings
Just as weddings have become more individualistic down the years, the approach to jewelry also provides more scope for experimentation.
Variations on an interplay of different metals, engraving, and design can be subtle or quite radical, although it’s worth remembering that – if you’re planning to wear your ring every day – it should be comfortable and practical, and in keeping with the kind of attire you’re expected to wear at work.
Your wedding ring is an important purchase that signifies your bond and relationship with the one you love and is also a personal and dynamic style statement.
Have fun in the shopping stage by discussing with your partner what color, materials, and designs you might both like to incorporate. While diamonds (and rose gold or platinum) can be a man’s, as well as a girl’s best friend, it’s also fine – and stylish – to go for a simple plain band.