Silver has been used in wedding bands for hundreds of years, but as other more durable alternatives, like platinum and white gold, became available and grew in popularity, the demand for silver wedding rings have fallen.
However, silver offers several benefits to young couples and is unique in how it looks and the way it wears. Here’s a look at the types, styles and pros and cons of silver wedding bands.
Types of Silver
Silver used in jewelry come in a range of varieties. Because its too soft to use in its purest form, the metal is typically alloyed with other metals to make it more durable and wearable. Here’s what you need to know:
1- Fine Silver/999 Silver
Fine silver is very close to pure silver and is made from 99.9% silver. It’s hypoallergenic and has a beautiful, white hue but is too soft to be worn daily.
2- Sterling Silver
The most popular variety of silver, sterling silver (a.k.a. 925 silver) contains 92.5% pure silver in its composition. It’s durable and hardy, but tarnishes easily due to the copper in the alloy. This can be worn daily with care.
3- Argentium Silver
This brand of silver is often considered the best as it has all the benefits of sterling silver without the issues of tarnishing and corrosion. This is probably the best silver option for wedding bands but can be harder to find.
4- Silver Plated/Silver Filled
These varieties contain little silver in the composition, and easily tarnish or flake off. Silver filled has at least 5% to 10% of pure silver whereas the amount of pure silver in silver plate is negligible. These types aren’t recommended for wedding bands.
Styles of Silver Wedding Bands
Most silver wedding bands are sterling silver. Sterling silver is very workable and has been used to make wedding rings for centuries. Because silver is a precious metal, this gives value to silver wedding bands, even though they’re much more affordable than other precious metals like gold, platinum and palladium.
Silver wedding bands come in a range of finishes and styles. They can be highly reflective, with a look similar to platinum or white gold when polished.
Polished silver ring. Find it here.
Another popular finish for silver wedding rings is satin. This is a brushed like appearance that’s not at all reflective but not rough to the touch either. It’s somewhat like very fine sandpaper.
Satin silver wedding band. See it here.
Textured silver bands, like the hammered pair below, add depth and facets to the ring, giving it more visual appeal. Hammered bands have a rustic appeal and a natural look.
Hammered silver wedding bands. See them here.
Brushed silver wedding bands are very popular, with a rougher textural look than satin finished bands. Over time, brushed bands oxidize and develop interesting patinas, as the tarnish embeds in the grooves.
Brushed silver wedding band. See it here.
One style that’s possible with silver, but not with many other types of metals, is the oxidized sterling silver wedding band. Here, the silver band undergoes an oxidization process, where clean sterling silver is treated with sulfides, that makes it tarnish faster, giving it a dark patina. This is a surface treatment, however, so over time, the oxidization may wear off.
Oxidized sterling silver ring. See it here.
Sterling silver can be etched and engraved with patterns, from simple to elaborate, for a beautiful look. Because it’s an easy metal to work with, jewelers can get creative, adding metal work like filigree, milgrain and engravings. Not every metal is capable of this, giving sterling silver an edge over metals like titanium, tungsten and sometimes even platinum.
Sterling silver ring with patterns. See it here.
What to Consider Before You Buy Silver Wedding Bands
It’s clear that sterling silver offers a lot of choice as a wedding band metal but it’s not a metal for everyone. Here are some factors to consider before you buy:
- Tarnishing – The biggest beef people have with sterling silver is the fact that the metal tarnishes over time. You can remove tarnish from silver, but it means periodic maintenance. Some people love the way silver wears and choose it for this reason but for others, it can be too much to worry about in their busy lives.
- Durability – Silver isn’t a very strong metal and will get scratched and even lose shape with time. Any metal you choose will be prone to wear, but the trouble with silver is that it wears faster. If you lead an active lifestyle and use your hands a lot for work, this might not be the right metal for you.
- Affordability – Silver is extremely affordable, compared to other popular wedding band metals like white gold and platinum. Some people opt to get temporary wedding rings made from silver until they can afford rings made from more durable metals. A good sterling silver wedding band typically costs around $100 or less.
- Surface finish – Silver can be finished in a number of different ways, making it a highly versatile metal choice. However, the downside is that these finishes don’t last very long. As the ring gets exposed to daily wear, the finish can appear different with highly reflective finishes taking on a more satin look while satin and matte finishes might become more shiny.
Where to Buy Silver Wedding Bands
After all this, if you still think that you want to go with silver, go for it. It’s a beautiful metal choice and can last for a reasonably long time with proper maintenance. You won’t find a lot of silver wedding bands on most retail sites because other metals are in higher demand.
However, you can take your search to smaller sites or platforms like Amazon and Etsy to find the perfect silver wedding bands for you.