Details for Tip of the Month: Performance Metals or Precious Metals? Which is best?

During our two Bridal Shows last month, we fielded a LOT of questions about the various metals now available for men's rings. With so many new alloys like tungsten carbide, cobalt chrome, titanium, and zirconium added to the standards of karat gold and platinum, wading through the pros and cons of each can be very confusing. Here's a quick and easy guide for you.


Performance metals - these are the new alloys, sometimes called "alternative metals," that are dominating a lot of men's wedding ring sales today. There are differences among them in weight (or "heft" as some like to think of it), scratch resistance and strength, but all of them will stand up to wear and tear better than gold. Unfortunately, all of them have to be made to your finger size. They cannot be resized if you gain or lose weight and your finger size changes.

Precious metals - these are 14K or 18K gold, platinum (the metals you've known for years) and the "newcomer" in jewelry-making, palladium. All are metals with both intrinsic value as well as deep symbolism. They are malleable and can be cast into innumerable designs. They also warm to the skin more naturally than the steel alloys due to their natural conductivity. Precious metals, while not as durable as the alloys, have the advantage in that they can be refinished easily and they can also be resized (multiple times, if necessary).

Now, how do you know which is the better option for YOU?

If your main consideration is price, the performance metals are your best bet. However, if you have even the least bit of sentimentality about a band symbolizing eternity, go into that purchase with your eyes open, knowing that you probably won't have that band forever. Yes, many vendors will do a size exchange for us with the price of postage the only charge...but it won't be the same band. Only with precious metals can you retain the band and the sentiment for a lifetime...and only you can decide what that is worth.