14k White Gold Simon G. MR2887 Men's Wedding Ring White Flash
14k White Gold Simon G. MR2887 Men's Wedding Ring White Flash

Best Rings for Men in 2023

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Why?

Jewelry for men is an ancient concept. Traditionally, the owning and wearing of jewelry served as a demonstration of someone's wealth and social position. However, sensibilities about masculine jewelry changed over time and many men became hesitant when it came to wearing jewelry items beyond watches. Today, some men are still not comfortable wearing wedding bands, a relatively new tradition that originated in the 1940s. 

Fortunately, trends have changed a great deal over the last few years and more men are comfortable wearing various ring types, including and beyond wedding rings. To accommodate this growing trend, designers have responded by creating men's rings with styles from understated and serious to fun and innovative. 

Best Materials for Men's Rings

Perhaps the best place to start this article is by examining the variety of materials from which men's rings may be crafted. While the market for women's rings is mostly restricted to conventional precious metals (this means platinum or some alloy of gold), designers of men's rings utilize exciting raw materials such as petrified wood, silicon, alternative metals, and even fossils. 

Each of the different types of materials has unique durability tolerances when it comes to temperature, denting, scratching, and breakage. These parameters should be taken into consideration as the various materials may, or may not, be appropriate for your lifestyle. Here are a few of the more commonly used unusual metals offered by retailers.

Tungsten carbide

Tungsten carbide is a metal made primarily of tungsten mixed with a carbon alloy. The resulting metallic alloy may be light or dark in tone and can take on a number of different polishes and textures. Tungsten carbide is suitable for use in jewelry because it is hypoallergenic, similar in density to gold, will not tarnish, and is difficult to scratch. Thanks to these attributes, tungsten carbide may be worn by even the most active individuals. However, when considering purchasing a tungsten carbide ring, you should take into account that they may not be resized at a later date.

Comfort Fit Tungsten Carbide Men's Beveled Wedding Band Angara
A lightly colored tungsten carbide band from Angara featuring both polished and satin finishes.
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at Angara
Asymmetrical Black & Blue Engraved Wedding Band Blue Nile
This tungsten carbide ring from Blue Nile features vivid, asymmetric blue inlay for a decidedly modern look.
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at Blue Nile

Tantalum

 Another unusual metal that is used to fashion masculine rings is tantalum. Like tungsten carbide, tantalum is a highly durable metal that is both hypoallergenic and resists scratching. Jewelry may be made from almost pure tantalum without the presence of secondary metals. Fortunately, unlike tungsten carbide rings, tantalum bands may be resized and repaired.

Satin Finish Black Diamond Wedding Band Blue Nile
An understated and elegant black tantalum ring from Blue Nile is set with black diamonds and a satin finish.
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at Blue Nile

Cobalt

Cobalt is usually alloyed with other metals to make it suitable for use in jewelry. One of the advantages of cobalt is that its appearance is very similar to white gold, but it usually costs less. Four times harder than platinum, cobalt is known for being resilient and is exceedingly difficult to scratch or chip. Moreover, it won't bother your skin. Cobalt rings can take on multiple types of finishes and may be resized if necessary.

Mirror Edge Wedding Ring by Benchmark White Flash
The sides of this cobalt band from White Flash show both textured and perfectly polished mirror finishes.
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at White Flash

 

Types of Men's Rings

Now that we have covered some of the more popular choices of metal for men's rings, let's explore some ring styles and uses.

Engagement Rings

During the 1920s, an attempt was made by marketers to promote engagement rings for men. While little headway was made at that time, trends have recently shifted, and men in relationships of all types are wearing engagement rings more than ever. Some have even coined a new term for the burgeoning category - "management" rings. Their popularity has grown to the point where online retailer James Allen devotes an entire category to masculine engagement rings.

Like women's engagement rings, these bands are often significantly costlier than wedding bands because they generally feature more gemstones and/or exhibit complex stylistic elements. Whether this means one or several significant diamonds, or a band encrusted with many melee-sized gems, engagement rings for either gender are meant to be showy and impressive. 

14K White Gold 8mm Comfort-Fit Channel Set Diamond Band James Allen
A 14K white gold band from James Allen with 12 channel-set diamonds weighing 0.96 cts.
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at James Allen

Wedding Bands

Men in the USA did not start wearing wedding bands in significant numbers until after WWII in the mid to late 1940s. This growing trend coincided with the bolstering of the American middle-class. The resulting optimism and gains in disposable income helped increase the popularity of men's wedding rings. 

As mentioned, trends applying to men's wedding bands are similar to those regarding women's wedding rings in that they are often both less ornate and costly than engagement rings tend to be. This is because wedding bands are meant to be more practical and serious than engagement rings are. 

As wedding bands are often worn on a daily basis (many don't bother removing their rings even when bathing or sleeping), it is often not sensible to have significant gemstones mounted in high-profile designs which are vulnerable to snagging or impact. As a result, most bands are plain. If gemstones are present, they are likely to be set deeply into the mounting.

Two-Tone Stone Finish Wedding Band Blue Nile
This two-tone ring from Blue Nile combines tantalum and 14k rose gold ring layers to mix conventional with modern metals for a clean, yet interesting, design.
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at Blue Nile
Men's 8mm Two-Tone Double Inlay Scratch-Finish Wedding Ring Ritani
This men's wedding band from Ritani features 18K white and yellow gold. Not only does the mixed metal design add interest in terms of incorporating two colors, but the surface of the ring has various textures.
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at Ritani
14k White Gold Simon G. MR2887 Men's Wedding Ring White Flash
This modern men's wedding band from White Flash includes two colors of 14K gold with four princess-cut diamonds securely set flush into the mounting.
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at Whiteflash

Eternity/Anniversary Rings

Eternity bands feature an uninterrupted ring of gemstones encircling the finger. They have become a popular gift option for both men and women to receive for important anniversaries. The style of these rings is situated between engagement and wedding band designs. Like engagement rings, they are set with many gems. However, like wedding bands, these gemstones are discreetly set on a low profile against the band to minimize the risk of damage. 

Platinum Tacori 2526ETML Ribbon Eternity Millgrain Diamond Wedding Ring White Flash
This platinum eternity band from White Flash features 0.31 carats of pave-set diamonds with milgrain accents.
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at White Flash

One of the benefits of eternity rings is that they may be worn on their own or stacked for a more impactful look. However, when shopping for an eternity ring, bear in mind that most cannot be sized up in the future.

Fashion Rings

Trends are evolving so that men don't need to be in a committed relationship to wear a ring.  Just as more men are comfortable wearing engagement and marriage rings, they are also sporting fashion rings purely for decorative purposes. There are no rules for how these rings should look or be worn! Current trends favor every type of style and use from bold and big, to discrete and thin, and from multiple bands creatively stacked on top of each other to many unique rings worn simultaneously on different fingers. 

Signet Rings

The wearing of signet rings is an ancient practice with evidence demonstrating that they have been worn by men for multiple millennia. Historically, these rings had a practical purpose. Their flat surfaces were carved with family crests or seals representing their social status or position. These engravings identified the author and were pressed into the wax which sealed letters and other official documents. Today, signet rings may be engraved with any type of symbol, initials, or image. Additionally, many collegiate ring designers adopt the signet style as school names and symbols are easily engraved onto the flat surface.

14K Yellow Gold Capricorn Zodiac Signet Ring James Allen
This 14K yellow gold signet ring from James Allen is engraved with the Zodiac symbol of Capricorn. The style can be worn by men as easily as by women.
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at James Allen
14K Rose Gold Princess Cut Diamond Signet Ring James Allen
Signet rings may incorporate gemstones into their designs. This 14K rose gold ring from James Allen features a 0.15 ct princess-cut diamond set into its face.
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at James Allen

Custom Ring Designs

There are many unconventional styles on the market for all personality types. In fact, companies like CustomMade employ designers to work directly with individuals to create one-of-a-kind rings based on their unique interests and passions. The inspiration for these rings can be anything from nature themes to favorite movie characters, specific historical periods, and even beloved gemstone combinations. 

Star Wars Custom Made
Recently, a pair of Star Wars-themed wedding bands created by CustomMade received a great deal of recognition. Photo Credit: CustomMade
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at Custom made

Conclusion

To conclude, men should not be shy or hesitant about wearing rings.  Not only are more men comfortable with the idea of engagement and wedding rings, but they are also sporting fashion rings in a plethora of styles. Whether you are happy donning a modern wedding band made from an unusual material, or ready to show off a distinctive custom design, there are many sources and varieties of men's rings available for you to enjoy.


Emily Frontiere

Emily Frontiere is a GIA Graduate Gemologist. She is particularly experienced working with estate/antique jewelry.

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