Let's face it; the popularity of alternative metals for wedding bands and jewelry is growing every day. Three of the more trendy alternative materials - titanium, tungsten and stainless steel - are definitely man-made, but palladium is often mistakenly thought of as an alternative metal as well. This perception is untrue, as palladium is mined practically side-by-side with platinum. In fact, palladium is a member of the Platinum Group Metal family, and has been used for jewelry and in the automotive industry for many, many years. Palladium has an established and storied history.
When considering titanium, tungsten, stainless steel or palladium for your wedding band, be sure to be well versed in each metal's main attributes. The common benefit for each is that wedding bands created with them tend to be very affordable. Below are some of the common positive traits for each, plus the basic characteristics for palladium. And remember that palladium is not an alternative metal, but comes from the Earth.
The benefits of titanium:
- Titanium is a lightweight metal that is both affordable and strong. It can be a good choice for men that work a lot with their hands, or are adverse to a lot of jewelry in general.
- Titanium is hypo-allergenic. Titanium is a nonferrous metal that is virtually safe for anyone to wear.
- Titanium rings are corrosion resistant and durable; it is a non-precious metal that does not tarnish.
- There is a wide variety of titanium wedding ring styles on the market today. Titanium rings can come in a variety of colors, with diamonds, paired with precious metals and more.
The benefits of tungsten:
- Tungsten is a very durable material that is scratch resistant. Tungsten rings are a great choice for men who work a lot with their hands or with heavy tools.
- Tungsten rings are low maintenance. They do not easily lose their shine easily, and may stay brilliant-looking for a long time.
- Tungsten rings are considered hypo-allergenic.
The benefits of stainless steel:
- Stainless steel is an affordable metal that resembles a white precious metal. It has a white silvery tone and a reasonably low retail price. A stainless steel ring may cost much less than most precious metal rings or even many non-precious metal rings on the market today.
- Stainless steel rings are easy to maintain, and can be cleaned with a mild detergent and soft cloth.
- Stainless steel is very durable and sturdy. Because of this, stainless steel is commonly used to build appliances and even buildings. It is also 100% recyclable.
The benefits of palladium:
- Palladium is a naturally white precious metal that is currently more affordable than most gold or platinum pieces of jewelry.
- Palladium is hypo-allergenic, so it"s a good choice for brides or grooms that have to pass on gold due to a nickel allergy. Palladium is the better choice over white gold if platinum is just not an option.
- Palladium is durable, so a palladium wedding ring can potentially stand the test of time. A palladium wedding ring can also be refinished without losing much metal.
- Unlike most non-precious metals used in jewelry today, palladium has intrinsic value.
There was a time when it was thought that wedding bands, engagement rings and even jewelry in general could only be created from gold, platinum or in more recent years - palladium. The acceptance of many alternative metals for jewelry has given the industry more flexibility with design possibilities, while the consumer in many cases has more reasonably priced options during such a difficult economy. The only real downside with alternative metals is that most can not be sized easily (or sized at all), so the customer must either trade their ring in for a different size, or may even have to purchase a new one. Also keep in mind that many of these materials lack intrinsic value, which is a characteristic of fine jewelry evident throughout history. However, the incorporation of these metals into the jewelry world gives almost any quality retailer more quality choices that can be sold to a wider variety of potential buyers. In the end, this aspect may be what defines the true value of alternative metals - the ability to give consumers what they want to buy.