(Closed) What karat of gold is best for a wedding band?

posted 11 years ago in Rings
Post # 3
120 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

Hmm, I’m not exactly sure but I would say 18 karat?  Unfortunately FH is allergic to gold so we are thinking of getting palladium instead; it’s less expensive than platinum but has great durability and wear.

Post # 5
1238 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

18K is usually too soft for men; most jewelers will recommend 14K for men.  My fh and I went and tried on a million bands, and after long consideration (and a demo of the wearability of the different types of gold) ended up going with 14K for him and 18K for me.  If you are going to have diamonds in it, make sure the diamonds themselves are set with white gold or platinum prongs — even if the band is yellow gold.

A note on platinum — it is the "In thing" right now, but it is very expensive, and though it is stronger than gold, it scratches easier, so it needs to be polished more often.  Also, why pay the extra money for something that looks like white gold (which is 1/4 of the price!). 

Most people are not actually allergic to gold, they are allergic to the nickel used to cut the gold (thus determining the karat weight of the gold).  A good way to find out if he is allergic to nickel is to ask him if he ever gets a rash or turns pink or green on the skin under the face of his watch (most watch backs are made of nickel). 

Good luck — and talk to your jeweler!

Post # 7
80 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: February 2009

YES! I SOOO second caliocteach. I clicked on this post so I could say exactly what she just said. Steer clear of that platnum! My roommate is a jeweler and he says that platnum will continually lose value as the years go on. Stick with gold, and 14kt for men.

Good luck!

Post # 9
1020 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

just to add what i know: i wore my 10 karat white gold high school class ring years back for a few months before i realized i was very allergic – so much so that my finger was blistering beneath the ring. since i decided i was clearly allergic to gold (and i have no desire to spend an arm and a leg on platinum), i looked into getting palladium. when i asked a salesperson at shane co. (and afterwards had the same conversation with a private jeweler) she told me that they do not carry palladium because it is still very new to the market and they have not had enough time to really see how it stands against time. she said since shane co. guarantees everything they sell, they cannot sell palladium because they do not yet know that they can indeed guarantee it. (she even mentioned something about not knowing how it stands against extreme heat and such… it is probably fine with normal wear and may even be great, but i did not want to risk it since it is so new and unknown)

anyway, after giving up on palladium and still being set against platinum, i tried a 14 karat white gold ring that belonged to my mother as a test. i have been wearing it for about two months now and no allergic reaction. i assume that this particular ring probably has less or no nickel and i intend to get a 14 karat white gold nickel free ring.

the amount of karats tells the amount of actual gold in the ring. pure gold is expensive, but it is also very soft. so, while 18 karat gold has more actual gold in it, it is softer. however, the less karats you have, the more other metals get mixed in (for white gold, silver and nickel are common to make it white). i think 14 karats is a good compromise mixing enough actual gold and more strength – just make sure its nickel free if you have any allergies.

Post # 10
228 posts
Helper bee

Everyone covered things pretty well already, so I’ll just add my two cents =)

Like other people have mentioned, gold is soft, and the higher the karat-age, the more gold, so the softer (and more expensive) it’ll be.  So I guess the most durable would be 14 or even 10k gold.

As for nickel allergy, watch backs aren’t always a good indicator since many (at least all of the sports watches that I’ve worn) have stainless steel backings.  I’m very, very sensitive to nickel, but I can still wear watches with metal backs without a problem.  On the other hand, safety pins, zippers, and buttons on jeans have all caused problems for me.  So who knows =P  Since this is an allergy that gets worse with exposure, and many women have exacerbated their allergies through piercings, it’s less common (or often less severe) in men.  So if he’s never had a problem before, I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

Both my engagement ring and wedding band are platinum, because platinum is as close to hypoallergenic as we could get, besides surgical steel and titanium, which have very limited styles.  So it’s not just a fad =)

 melodicsighs1, be careful with white gold.  White gold is often an alloy of nickel and gold, but plated with somethinge else like rhodium, so you might not have a reaction until the plating wears off.  Of course, not all white gold is mixed with nickel, but just FYI =)

Post # 11
2292 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

I have a pretty severe nickel allergy, and my rings are white gold. I can wear rhodium plated jewelry, and the rings are rhodium plated, but the white gold that I have is also nickel-free.  However, if you’re concerned, you should just have your ring replated when you take it in for its annual inspection and cleaning.  It costs about $20 (for rhodium plating), and comes out looking brand-new.  You can also have yellow gold replated, although I imagine the cost is higher.

Replating the ring will also prevent it from wearing away over time. I know multiple people who have stories of the ring eventually breaking, or the ring edge being so sharp they cut themselves – that is because the metal is wearing away!  Gold is soft, and no matter whether you get 14 or 18 ct it will wear away over time.  I assume that the reason men generally have no maintenance done on their rings is because they don’t need to have the setting inspected – as their rings are more often just bands.  But if you borrow your man’s ring every year when you take yours in for maintenance, and have it replated along with yours, you shouldn’t have any issues.

FYI, both yellow and white gold are available as a palladium-based alloy – which is nickel-free.  You just have to ask your jeweler.

Post # 12
1020 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

@ peihan: thank you. the ring i have been wearing to test it was my grandfather’s wedding band, and i’m sure the rhodium has worn off it by now (it’s never been re-finished) so, i assume this particular ring is nickel-free. i found a jeweler who is willing to make any of their ring designs in white gold with no nickel. i have been told that a lot of higher end jewelers use silver instead of nickel.

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