Unique Wedding Bands for the Modern Man
Updated: Jun 18, 2018
John Mayer once famously said, “Men have two options for jewelry. Wedding rings and watches."
I’ve known men who are into watches: they’re meticulous. Every detail matters to these guys.
Is the face of the watch sapphire glass or mineral glass? Is the band leather or alligator leather? What quality is the steel? Is the movement Swiss-made or Japanese? The questions go on and on, and the slightest variation can be cause to covet one watch and wholly reject another.
And the thing is, when you consider how often a man will wear his watch, how proud he wants to feel when he puts it on, and how much he’s liable to spend on it, all that attention to detail makes sense.
So what about mens wedding bands?
It turns out the average male shopper spends three months selecting the perfect ring for his partner, yet chooses his own wedding band in less than one week.
When it comes to picking out a wedding band, men often visit only one jeweler, and make their decision in only one day.
This seems crazy! I know plenty of guys who take longer to pick out a pair of shoes!
So this begs the question: why are men so quick to choose their rings?
We know it’s not that they don’t care. After all, they care about watches. They care about shoes. And they definitely care about her engagement ring.
So the only explanation we can come up with for why so many men spend so little time choosing their own wedding bands is that they actually don’t know about all the options available to them.
This would make sense, because until recently, it turns out that you guys really didn’t have many options.
It used to be that nearly all men worked with their hands so traditional men's wedding bands were designed to have smooth, plain surfaces so that grime, sweat and dyes couldn’t build up on them the way they would if the rings had intricate detailing.
Until very recently, nearly all bands were made of gold and men could choose a thickness and whether they wanted a ring that was domed or flat, but that was about it.
And the classic, timeless gold or platinum band is still wildly popular for good reason: they are two of the only materials that can easily be resized.
If it is important to you to have the same ring for the rest of your life, regardless of how your finger changes, then a gold or platinum band is still your best bet. And new manufacturing techniques have made the choice of designs in these traditional metals almost unlimited.
But if you are the kind of man who happens to appreciate the stylistic differences between Adidas Neos and Chuck Taylor All Stars, or if you could lose hours reading about how a Tag compares to an Omega, then today’s wedding bands are made with you in mind.
There are hundreds of options for unique wedding bands that will entice the modern man.
We’ve seen bands made of metals, both earthly and extraterrestrial, and we’ve seen rings that forego metal altogether, opting instead for stag’s antler, dinosaur bone, whiskey barrel and even solid diamond.
Here are SIX of our favorite materials for alternative men’s bands, and what you should know about each:
1. Tungsten Carbide
It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s the man of… tungsten carbide?
Tungsten is a rare metal that is ten times as strong as gold, and over twice as strong as steel. It has the highest melting and boiling points of any known element (over 6000 degrees to melt it, and 10000 degrees to bring this stuff to a boil!). All this strength makes tungsten rings quite durable and highly scratch resistant.
Tungsten rings, which can range in color from silvery-white to jet-black, will still look brand new on your fiftieth anniversary.
Another bonus: tungsten is often more affordable than gold. This material is so special, we're thinking even Superman may want to upgrade.
Mokume-gane is a challenging metalworking technique that requires layering different metals to achieve incredible, distinctive swirling designs.
Besides being stunning, rings made from mokume-gane have major historical clout.
The technique was first developed in 17th century Japan to decorate the handles and sheaths of samurai swords. (How cool is that?). But Mokume-gane was so difficult to create that when samurai swords went out of fashion, the technique virtually disappeared. In fact, only scholars knew such a method had ever existed.
Then came the 19th century, a series of World’s Fairs in Paris, and a little company called Tiffany.
Alongside the head of the Statue of Liberty and Alexander Graham Bell’s first telephone, debuted a small metal vase made in the “Japanesque style.” The vase helped win Tiffany & Co the Fair’s Grand Prize.
It would be 11 more years before the company developed the technique well enough to apply it to jewelry.
Though mokume-gane has gone by many names from wood-grain metal to cloud metal, its look is unmistaken. Mokume-gane rings are perfect for worldly men with adventurous yet sophisticated sensibilities.
You read that correctly. Your love feels out of this world, and now your ring can, too.
So what are meteorite rings, exactly?
When a shooting star survives its flight through our atmosphere and crashes into the surface of Earth, the piece that remains is a meteorite. Most of the meteorites that hit earth originated somewhere between Jupiter and Mars. Meteorites are millions of years old, and if their journey to Earth demonstrates anything, it is that these pieces will last.
Meteorite comes in grey tones that range from pale dove to brooding storm cloud. They have highly detailed surfaces that seem to bear the etchings of their travels.
Our favorite way to display meteorite is as an inlay, framed and accentuated by another metal. Cobalt, black zirconium, platinum or gold are all great options. Though new to ring design, meteorites really are as old as time, and meteorite inlays, by their very nature, will always be one of a kind.
4. Solid Diamond
Diamond is still the hardest, most scratch resistant material on Earth, and now it can be engineered into solid, metal-less wedding bands.
These solid diamond bands are clean, unique and masculine. They are created from statement-making black diamond and can have a matte or high-shine finish.
They can be engraved and inlayed with various metals, or even have other stones set into them. No matter which design you go for, the look will last a lifetime and the band itself will stand the test of time and then some…
Hardwoods are a great way to bring color, depth and an eternally evocative pattern to your ring.
Love is an organic, changing, living, breathing experience, and maybe there is no better way to express all that than with hardwood rings.
Hardwood wedding bands typically feature a rare wood inlay that is set into metal. The wood itself has been treated with resin, which locks out moisture and makes the wood resilient and scratch resistant enough for everyday wear.
With the rise of deforestation, you’ll want to be sure your rare wood comes from sustainable sources. Lashbrook is one company that offers 12 gorgeous varieties of sustainable hardwood rings, all featuring different colors and grain patterns.
Cocobolo is one of our favorites. Often used to make guitars, drums and basses, even an unfinished block of this wood, when struck, emits a clear, warm, rich tone.
Hardwood bands befit men of all ages who want a look that is at once timeless and fresh. The knots, gently swaying lines, and imperfections inherent to wood grain retain a sense of spontaneity that manufactured patterns often lack.
Like the meteorites, hardwood rings are naturally one-of-a-kind.
Firstly, lets get this straight: antler is not the same as ivory. Antlers are naturally shed by a number of common species including deer and elk. Fallen antler can be collected for harvest just like fallen fruit.
In other words, no animals need to be harmed (or should ever be harmed) just to produce a single ring.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, here is what you should know about antler bands:
They are hard. So hard, in fact, that before metalworking, ancient cold-climate hunters would craft their armor from antlers.
They aren’t that hard. Antlers can be sensitive to moisture, and therefore, like with hardwood, resin is imparted into antler rings to ensure the antler’s longevity.
Antler can be featured as a decorative inlay or as a sleeve lining the interior of the ring.
Antler comes in a wide range of colors. Bone-white, pale yellow, rosy-beige, and even onyx tones are available, making it a great pairing for all types of metals.
Antlers are innately raw and masculine. Yet, when paired with metal and polished to a high-shine, this material transcends into a designer look that is at once soothing and refined.
If none of these options feel right, take a look at cobalt, titanium, or carbon fiber. Truly, there are more possibilities for men’s rings then there are hours in a day, or a week, or maybe even a month. So take as long as you want, and have some fun considering your options.
After all, your shoes will wear out and your watch will change with time (pun intended), but your ring? It is the only piece you will actually will wear everyday from now until forever, and we think that makes it worth at least a little of your time.