Wedding bands symbolize infinite love between you and your partner, so buying a wedding band is a task that shouldn’t be taken lightly. The market for this special piece of jewelry has gone far beyond the plain yellow gold band and is now entering an era where using whiskey barrels and dinosaur bones are becoming the norm.
Jewelry by Johan is a local custom jeweler with some of the most unique wedding bands around with a design center conveniently located right in Oakdale, Minnesota! We talked to their experts about everything you need to know about searching for your perfect wedding band.
How to Begin Your Search
One of the first things to consider when buying a wedding band is when to buy. Amy Hintze is the Marketing Manager at Jewelry by Johan and says that timing truly depends on if you want something more mainstream, or a custom band. “An online reseller or larger jewelry chain will have stock of most of their offerings, so you really don’t have to plan ahead much at all. If you desire something one-of-a-kind and unique, a typical lead time for a made-to-order item is around 1-2 months,” she advises.
If you begin your wedding band search by simply Googling “wedding bands”, you will surely find an overwhelming amount of options. By preparing in advance — like reading articles like this — will help you narrow down your search. “The best advice is to determine what you want in a ring AND also what you don’t want. The latter is truly more important and really helps pare down your ring choices,” says Hintze. “For example, if you have a nickel allergy, you can rule out gold rings and focus your attention on hypoallergenic metals such as titanium, tungsten and platinum.” Plus, if you work with a shop that produces their own jewelry, like Jewelry by Johan, you can customize the ring to the fullest. “If you find a ring you love that’s crafted in gold, you could customize it to be created in a hypoallergenic metal (e.g. titanium or platinum) at a shop that does custom designs,” Hintze continues.
What to Know About Types of Materials
As you select the right material for your ring, there are several factors to consider beyond color. You’ll want to think about durability, customization, price, finish options, and hypoallergenic properties. Below, Jewelry by Johan has broken down a few of the most popular materials as well as some unique offerings.
This classic material is valuable and can come in white, yellow, or rose gold. It is one of the more costly options and increases in price by karat (10K, 14K, 18K). If you have a nickel allergy, this metal should be avoided and it is important to note that it can scratch easily.
Platinum metal is hypoallergenic and is a white color. It is a luxurious choice and the highest price point, but is sure to turn heads.
As the most cost-effective metal, silver is a popular option. It can tarnish over time, but can also be cleaned. Jewelry by Johan combines their silver with alloy since silver alone is relatively soft and easily damaged.
Titanium is super versatile and affordable with many options for finishes including polished, sandblasted, brushed, and matte. It is lightweight and durable and looks gorgeous with a unique inlay.
This metal is the 2nd hardest and very scratch resistant. A little heavier than other metals, this is definitely a personal preference so trying it on in person is suggested. This metal comes in polished only and is a lower-cost option as well.
These are just a few of the most popular metals, but Jewelry by Johan also has alternative materials such as Damascus steel — known for its distinct swirl pattern — stainless steel, zirconium (left image below), black ceramic, and Elysium. You can see a full breakdown of all these materials here!
One of the most unique is black ceramic, which doesn’t have any metal at all. “It’s used to create simple, solid rings, inlaid rings, and pinstripe components. It is an airplane-grade material (not the same as ceramic fired in a kiln) that is very strong and scratch-resistant,” Hintze describes. “It is cohesively black and hypoallergenic, making it a popular choice for an alternative wedding band.” This material is shown below on the right with red stripes and a meteorite inlay.
Hintz says that metal finish greatly impacts the overall look of your ring and is an important element to consider when buying a wedding band. A polished finish is generally what you think of when you picture a wedding band. It is reflective, shiny, and looks like a mirror. Matte — sometimes called satin — is soft and minimally reflective. A brushed look is similar to matte but with a subtle, brushed texture. Sandblasted finishes make the metal look darker and non-reflective. Here you can see the full breakdown of finish options and additional finishes as well!
Choosing the Right Size
There are a few ways that you can determine the right ring size and height for you. Jewelry by Johan has a convenient ring sizing app that can quickly determine an accurate ring size. They also have ring sizing kits that they will send to you, or you can visit them at their store in Oakdale for the most accurate sizing option. From there, they will provide you with custom ring sizers that are essentially clear plastic rings. You’ll wear them in different sizes over the course of a few days and decide which fit is best for you.
As for the height of the band, the most common width is 6 mm for men and 2 mm for women. Hintz advises that for larger hands you may want to consider a ring with a wider band to make sure it is still prominent and proportionate.
Making it Unique to You
We’ve covered the basics from size, metals, materials, and finish, but what else can you add to your ring to make it completely unique to you? “So, so many things! Among them, meteorite, wood, fossil, turquoise, vinyl record, guitar strings, lapis lazuli, antler, cremains, gemstones, and other unique materials,” Hintz shares. “Consider supplying your own gemstone or material for a personal touch.” You can see all of their material options at this link. Below, the ring on the left is created with a guitar string and palm wood. On the right, you’ll see a ring with meteorite and a wood sleeve.
As a custom jeweler, Jewelry by Johan can pretty much do it all. “Consider trying to incorporate an element that has symbolism or higher meaning such as a supplied stone from your grandmother’s engagement ring,” Hintz suggests. “Or, supply a material for an inlay such as wood from the handle of your carpenter husband’s hammer or antler from his trophy buck. And, don’t forget to add an engraving inside (e.g. wedding date) for an added personal touch!”
Caring for Your Wedding Band
Keeping your ring in top shape will ensure a beautiful look for years to come. Generally, a small amount of mild soap and water will do the trick for most rings. If you have a ring that includes wood, antler, stardust, ash, crushed opal, crushed dinosaur bone, etc., you’ll want to be sure not to avoid overexposure to liquids. As for lapidary materials, including turquoise, lapis lazuli, malachite and sodalite, avoid exposure to acidic elements and polishing agents.
If you have a meteorite in your ring, there are special instructions. It is an iron-based material that has the potential to rust, so avoiding chemicals (such as chlorine, bleach, etc.) and exposure to water is key. You can purchase a meteorite care kit directly from Jewelry by Johan for easy care!
Each year we hear these words more and more. It’s not really a question as it is a statement. “I’m not going to wear a...