Alternative Bands
Contemporary metals make a name for themselves in the wedding band category
Plain metal bands kindly make room. Young couples today are bound by no rules of tradition and formality, not in their everyday lives and certainly not for one of the most important days of their lives: their wedding day. They seek their own look, their own path, their own story and their own rings. For lovers of the new and not-so-common, contemporary metals are the answer.

Recent Rise
Contemporary metals have been in the marketplace for some time already but they’ve become more mainstream in recent years for several reasons, primarily the surge in the price of gold and the beginning of the Millennial nuptials. Even with the X and Y generation, the desire for something unique when it came to ring design started to really take hold but the Millenials are taking that to a whole new level.

Untethered to the traditional value of the simple gold band, this generation wants their personality to shine through in all they do and wear. As Greg Der Calousdian, vice president of design for Vahan Jewelry put it, “Consumers are in total control and can explore many more options than before.”

So, when faced with the notion that anything goes, which way do couples hunting for the perfect rings turn?

Groom’s Choice
At the end of the ring decisions, the case stands that if anyone has opted for a contemporary metal it is more typically the groom. This happens for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the cost of a worthy diamond for the bride, but grooms also love the often more masculine look of contemporary metals, along with the practicality of endurance they promise.

Take for example, Sarah Graham Metalsmiths. The design house offers a variety of bands in cobalt chrome that provide an edgy, even slightly gritty, look with their matte black finish; Edward Mirell offers variety in color and combination pairing metals like gray titanium and sterling silver in one design and materials like its own Black Ti metal with diamonds in another; Stuller’s Dura Tungsten lends a sleek look and pairs nicely with everything from 14k gold to diamonds; and Scott Kay has hit on design themes historic and modern in his SK Cobalt line.

This is the man’s chance to realize he has options and personalize this piece of jewelry he will ideally wear for the remainder of his life.

A Metal’s Mettle
One thing contemporary metals certainly have on their side is durability. These metals are tough and can hold their own against more pricey precious metals.

Tungsten, for example, is said to be nearly scratch-proof (known to crack in only 1% of cases and only when certain unlikely stresses have been applied), a quality that has earned it a reputation as the “forever polished band.” It also can be engraved. Titanium is considered among the most durable contemporary metals and is restorable to new when scratched; it too can be engraved. And with BioBlu 27, the metal chosen by Scott Kay for the SK Cobalt line, you’re looking at a hypoallergenic, scratch-resistant, medical grade cobalt alloy. How many men out there wouldn’t like to tell a story like that?

These are metals that provide their wearers with something to say and that make a masculine statement in the process. Each metal is itself a story of technology pairing with design, a true conversation starter.
Reluctant Brides
Brides themselves have been slower to come around to contemporary metals. Traditionally speaking, the bride tends to be a bit more emotional in her choice of wedding jewels and has often had a picture of the perfect set of rings in her mind for some time. This too, however, seems to be changing.

The motto of this generation of brides seems increasingly to be: “Not-my-mother’s-ring.” As this is often the first time a woman truly gets to splurge on a piece of jewelry, many brides are making it as personal a creation as possible, even opting for rings one would never guess were engagement rings. The reasoning is simple: she’s had her eye on it, it speaks to her, and for the first time she has permission to spend that kind of money on herself.

Multi-colored gemstones and mixed metals are two popular moves, as are stacks of rings. It’s a style that has certainly gained followers in everyday jewelry and brides have latched onto the idea as well building a series of smaller bands with and without stones that become more of a bridal statement than a simple bridal set. The idea is expected to catch on and we should expect to see more and more brides heading up the aisle in something just a little unexpected.
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