The 6 Best Alternative Metal Options for Gents
We put a ton of work into thinking about the ladies engagement ring and wedding band -- but what about the men? In most cases, the fiancé gets dragged into the store begrudgingly and says he'll take whatever ring fits his finger. Typically, he's sold on the first one he sees! But in other cases, and this trend is on the rise, some men prefer to do some research on their ring before they buy. Gents alternative metal bands have almost been outselling traditional precious metal bands! The range of color and design options, as well as the durability of these alternative metal rings make them an extremely popular choice for the grooms of today.
We broke down the top 6 alternative metal best-sellers below, check them out and see which one your groom might lean towards!
Tungsten is an extremely hard and strong metal, rated highly on the Mohs scale of hardness. This alternative metal is durable and very resistant to scratching. Tungsten will not bend if subjected to pressure – it’ll break or shatter instead. In fact, if dropped onto a hard surface like concrete, tungsten rings could shatter into pieces. In case of an emergency, tungsten rings have to be cracked off with a special tool by EMTs. They cannot be cut with a normal ring cutting tool. For this reason, also, they cannot be resized – tungsten rings have to be completely remade in the correct size instead.
Tungsten rings are great for men who work with their hands. These alternative metal rings are heavy and have moderate electrical and heat conductive properties – they can be worn at work or at play and hold up just the same. Tungsten will never tarnish, fade, or rust and can be cleaned with normal jewelry cleaners.
Tungsten in its natural state is light grey in color, with a look similar to sterling silver or platinum. The color can be made slightly darker by adding a brushed finish. Black tungsten can be made by adding a coating of titanium to the ring.
Titanium rings are durable and extremely lightweight – ideal for men who aren’t used to wearing a ring. Most companies use aerospace grade titanium to manufacture their rings. With the highest strength to weight ratio of any metal, titanium is commonly used in many aerospace and military applications, including naval ships, racing engines, and spacecrafts.
Titanium isn’t a good conductor of electricity or heat, so many men can wear this alternative metal while working. It is also tarnish resistant and hypoallergenic. This metal is durable, but might show scuffing over time with normal wear. Titanium will never tarnish or fade and can be cleaned with normal jewelry cleaners. Like most alternative metals, titanium cannot be resized by most jewelers; the ring would have to be remade in the correct size.
Much like tungsten, titanium rings will not bend under pressure. Their extreme strength requires them to be cracked with a special tool in order to be removed in emergency situations. But unlike tungsten, titanium will not shatter if dropped onto a hard surface.
Titanium rings are normally silver-toned in color with a high shine – they are slightly darker than white gold or platinum, but whiter than tungsten. Fully black titanium rings (not plated) do exist, but might be difficult to find due to low source materials. Different finishes, like a satin finish or a hammered finish, can change the look of a titanium ring to fit a variety of different styles.
Gents alternative metal ceramic rings are made from jewelry-grade ceramic, also known as titanium carbide – not the traditional, fragile ceramic used in household décor. This grade of ceramic is so strong that it’s sued as a heat guard in space shuttles.
Ceramic rings are crack resistant, scratch resistant, and lightweight. They cannot be bent out of shape and are hypoallergenic. Ceramic bands are easy to care for and can be cleaned with a damp cloth. Like other alternative metals, ceramic bands cannot be cut off by traditional ring cutting tools – they must be cracked with a special tool in emergency situations.
Ceramic rings can come in a range of different colors and can be customized with different inlays. In most cases, ceramic rings come in black. The ceramic itself is black (or technically, dark grey) and is colored throughout the entire ring – so it’s not just a plating!
Cobalt chrome is an extremely popular alternative metal choice because it looks almost identical to white gold with a much lower price point. The bright white metal looks and feels identical to rhodium-plated white gold, but is many times harder and more durable. Cobalt chrome is most often used in jet engine turbines, as well as in cardiovascular stents and orthopedic applications.
Cobalt chrome is harder than gold or platinum and resists scratching and wear more than precious metal rings. They are hypoallergenic, durable, and extremely scratch and chip resistant. Over time, the ring might show slight scuffing with regular daily wear. Cobalt doesn’t tarnish, fade, or rust and can be cleaned with normal jewelry cleaners.
Cobalt is great for those who want a more complicated ring design, as the metal can accommodate a variety of different inlays, finishes, and customizations.
Zirconium is one of the most popular alternative metal options on the market today. The sleek black color and lightweight feel works well for a variety of different styles and tastes. Zirconium has an incredible chemical resistance and does not react to solvents, acids, bases, or other types of chemicals. These rings are almost primarily composed of pure zirconium, so they are also hypoallergenic!
In its natural state, zirconium is light silver in color but most zirconium rings you’ll see are completely black. The black color comes from a thin oxidization layer caused by exposing the ring to extreme heat. The black will never wear off, but it might show scratches over time with regular wear. Although zirconium can be scratched, it isn’t as brittle as titanium or tungsten, so it can survive if dropped onto a hard surface. Otherwise, the color will never fade, tarnish, or rust and the ring can be cleaned with normal jewelry cleaners!
Unlike other alternative metal rings, we recommend removing a zirconium ring before doing nay harsh or strenuous activities where the metal could be scratched.