The wedding rings in these photos belong to my husband and me. We made them for each other from sterling silver with a 18k gold solder joint. The photo on the left shows the rings on our wedding day before they had ever been worn and on the right you will see what they looked after just one year. As a jeweler I was well aware that our rings would not keep their satin finish for long. I choose sterling silver because I love the way that it wears. Many couples are interested in sterling wedding bands, it is my job to help my clients choose the ring that is right for them so I am always upfront about the nature of this metal and its pros and cons. My husband and I love our silver bands, but I think that it is important to weigh out all of these options before deciding if silver is the right choice for you.
Are you hard on your jewelry? Do you work with your hands? Silver is a very soft metal and prone to scratches, dings and changing shape over time. Some people, including myself, appreciate the way that silver ages and collects marks from daily wear. But many don’t like the idea of their rings looking like they are 20 years old in just one year. If that is how you feel, I suggest opting for a more durable metal such as white gold. All metals will wear over time, but silver will go through the process much faster.
Silver is very versatile in the finishes that it will take, from bright white to oxidized black, high polish to soft satin. These finishes will look great in your wedding photos, but honestly they will not last far beyond your big day. Rings, especially when worn daily, are constantly going through a burnishing process. Burnishing is when a metal rubs against something harder than itself leaving behind a shiny mark. Eventually your ring will be covered in these marks, creating a new finish; a satin ring will become shinier and a polished ring will become more matte. Silver always finds its happy spot somewhere in between the two. For me I would say that the finish changed within the first week or so of wearing my ring.
Many people favor the option of silver because the price is substantially lower than other precious metals. This can be very helpful for some couples. Weddings are expensive and for some people adding a pricey ring to the bill is not an option. Many people who choose silver wedding bands plan on wearing them temporarily and investing in new rings for their one year anniversary (after the wedding craziness dies down). If you choose to make each others bands from sterling, but know that eventually you will want rings in another metal such as white gold or platinum, there is an option of having a mold made of your initial rings and at any point in the future they can be cast in the metal of your choice.
If you plan on making your own wedding rings and have chosen to use sterling silver you will be happy to know that it is very easy to form, solder and polish. Silver is also a great material for texturing and stamping. There are usually very few bumps along the way of making a silver ring, the process should be smooth and the results will be professional.
A Stronger Option
When a couple decides on silver rings we always use palladium sterling silver at With These Rings. Pure silver is an element and naturally found in the earth. Sterling silver is an alloy (a mix of metals) 92.5% of which is pure silver. With traditional sterling silver the additional 7.5% comes from copper, which is also a soft metal. With palladium sterling silver that 7.5% is made up of part palladium and part copper. Palladium is a member of the platinum family and shares many of the same characteristics as platinum, included its high level of durability. This gives palladium sterling silver more integrity then its traditional counterpart.