People have been making jewellery from all sorts of different kinds of materials for as long as they have been making jewellery. Various metals are usually the favourite since it is so easy to work with and can be changed when it needs to be, but even today rings can be made from metals, precious metals, stone, bone, gemstones or plastic.
What a ring is made of depends on the individual's needs and the practical considerations of the materials in question. The one material that is most often used to make rings with is gold. It has an attractive colour, isn't too expensive in lower karats and is rather durable. It is often a good idea to aim for 14k or lower gold when making a ring. The metals mixed with the gold will make it more durable and scratch resistant as gold is a relatively soft metal on its own. Higher karats, like 18k or 24k may have a more impressive gold colour, but will be more likely to show damage.
Both metals make outstanding materials for rings, but their softness can be detrimental to the hardiness of the ring. Silver also has a habit of tarnishing and needs to be cleaned regularly for it to keep its pristine shine. On the upside, though, silver is probably the least expensive of the precious metals you can choose to make a ring from. Platinum, on the other hand, is more expensive but is a great neutral accompaniment many gemstones. If alloyed with low concentrations of hardier metals, it can be quite durable as well.
For the men, steel, titanium and tungsten are attractive choices for rings. Brushed steel is durable and and attractive. Titanium and tungsten is by far the most durable metal you can choose. It is also hypo-allergenic and doesn't tarnish or fade. Problem is that titanium, and to a lesser degree tungsten, cannot be resized easily, so make sure that you have the right size from the start.
Metals aside, rings can be carved from natural materials like bone, ivory or wood. Rings made from these materials can be very attractive, especially if the carver uses the material's natural colouration and lines to accentuate the shape of the ring. Bone and ivory can be rather brittle, though, so care needs to be taken to not wear them when your hands are going to be busy with hard labour. Wood can hold a high polish and is durable, but requires a little more upkeep to ensure that the wood remains clean and polished. After a while, the wood will darken due to the natural oil on your hands, making it truly your own and unique.
Rings can also be carved from stone or gemstones. Like rings carved from wood or bone, a good crafter can use the natural properties of the material to create a stunning and unique ring. These rings are also somewhat more durable than the rings carved from organic materials. Remember that with carved rings, the size cannot be changed without damaging the ring forever. These rings either need to be specially made for you or you need to buy a size or so larger – just in case.
The materials available to make rings from are quite numerous. You may discover rings made from materials you never thought possible or find a material that, when carved into a ring, creates a very unique look that you can find no where else. Don't just visit jeweller's stores for special rings. Flea markets, craft markets and specialist stores may all offer rings that are very different than what we are used to. You may find the perfect ring in the most unexpected place.
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