Top 10 Tips for Buying Men's Wedding Bands

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Perhaps more than any other piece of modern jewelry, the man's wedding band has evolved the most. It wasn't that long ago when the majority of bands were comprised of yellow gold crafted in a simple, conservative style. Those days are gone. While the classic gold wedding band will likely never be out of vogue, there are many other styles and metals to choose from today. And with all of the choices, it's good to have an idea of where you're heading. Here are some tips:

1. Evaluate Your Options - The good news is you have an enormous selection of different styles, brands, metals, and prices to choose from. That's also the bad news. With so much to pick from, you can get muddled quickly in your decision making. You need to understand what it is you're seeking before you shop - a favorite color inlay, a special precious metal, matching the bride's ring or not, a particular brand name, gem stones or metal only, casual or ornate, traditional or trendy, low, medium or high price, etc. So before you embark on your shopping journey, give some thought to these considerations.

2. Know Thyself - When a grown man shops for his clothes, he (or his significant other) usually knows what best matches his tastes, values and budget, so the styles that he selects are a direct reflection of his personality. The same principle applies to jewelry. If you're a very conservative gentleman, you might consider a classic, conservative band style in gold, silver or platinum. On the other hand, if you are more bold, flamboyant and gregarious, you might choose a a multi-color design with different metal combinations and gemstones. However you define your personality, you will likely find a parallel in band style.

3. Consider Your Lifestyle - Somewhat related to #2, lifestyle is another important consideration in band selection. Are you a sculptor, an auto mechanic, chef, pianist, surgeon or construction worker? Do you participate in sports or have outdoor hobbies? In other words, as you go about your life, do you use your hands in a way that your wedding band should be evaluated regarding these matters? Will your band affect your activities or, conversely, will your activities damage your band? All of these questions are important for you to consider in making your choice.

4. Don't Forget Your Bride's Ring. - Before you inform your bride-to-be that you want a camouflage colored band because you're an avid duck hunter (they actually exist), first consider the style of your bride's wedding ring. Many soon-to-be wedded couples prefer that their ring styles match. There's no law that says you need to match, but uniformity of colors and styles is often considered a desirable attribute.

5. Your Metal Matters - Your choice of the type of metal comprising your wedding band is important because it can impact the look, durability and, of course, the price. Precious metals like gold (mainly yellow, white and rose), silver, palladium and platinum have been popular choices for decades. These metals make for beautiful wedding bands, and because they are "precious" they cost more than other metals. Titanium is another precious metal which is an excellent choice; it's extremely hard, light weight, and generally much lower in price than its precious metal counterparts. Some excellent non-precious metal alternatives include tungsten carbide and cobalt chrome. Tungsten carbide comes in different colors, is scratch resistant, but it also is breakable. Cobalt chrome is light weight and scratch resistant. Both of these non-precious metals are very affordable.

6. Focus on the Fit - Getting the right fit for your wedding band seems like a simple matter, and it is. But here's a key point: when you are fitted, you and the band should be at room temp, as cold and warm temps can make your ring finger and/or your band contract and expand respectively. So for example, if you've been outdoors for awhile on a cold winter day without wearing gloves before your fitting, your fingers will likely be a bit contracted. In that case, you want to wait several minutes at room temp before your fitting. And it's advisable to have a professional jeweler to do the fitting.

7. Have a Price Range in Mind. - Before you embark on your shopping journey, you should determine a price range for your band simply because everyone, even the wealthiest, have budgetary considerations and because there is such a broad range in prices. If, for example, your price ceiling is $500, forget about the platinum band with diamonds, which will be much more expensive. Save yourself some time, be realistic, and focus on what you can afford.

8. Big Brands = Big Bucks - You may be interested in a particular brand name with which you are familiar, which is fine. However, understand that if you want a prestigious brand, like Tiffany or Cartier, you'll pay dearly for it. You can find value and excellent quality in lesser known brands, and there are many. So unless you are married to a particular brand name, explore the many others out there.

9. Don't Forget About Cultural, Ethnic and Religious Symbols - If you're a woman buying for your soon-to-be husband, these types of symbols appearing on the wedding band may not be important considerations, but if they are, you want to be well informed. Do some research and make your selection very special.    

10. Consider a Reputable Jeweler - There are many jewelry dealers selling wedding bands online and in stores. As with any jewelry, you will likely have the best results from a reputable, professional jeweler that has been around for awhile. Don't get taken by a fly-by-night peddler who offers a deal that sounds too good to be true, because it probably is.