Black tungsten, blue titanium and other colored metal rings are popular wedding band choices. But, did you know that these rings are plated and prone to chip and fade very easily? Needless to say, before you get too enticed by these trendy, alternative wedding bands, you should consider the pros and cons and this blog will help you make an informed decision.
Buyer Beware: Plated Men's Wedding Bands
What Types of Wedding Bands Have Plated Metal?
Any tungsten, titanium, cobalt chrome, silver or stainless steel that is not “silver” in color is achieved through plating of some sort. Examples include black titanium, black tungsten, blue tungsten and gold tungsten. It's also important to note that it’s standard practice in the jewelry industry for most white gold to be plated with rhodium to make it whiter in color (we don’t plate it).
How Do I Know If A Ring Is Plated?
A reputable jeweler will disclose it to you. Here are some more clues:
- A low price is a dead giveaway. Generally, plated rings aren’t (and shouldn't be!) priced over $50 unless they also contain another valuable element such as a gemstone. One exception is a solid, white gold ring with rhodium plating.
- The hallmark/stamp inside the ring:
- GP = gold plated
- GEP = gold electroplated
- HGE = heavy gold electroplate
- HGP = heavy gold plate
- 925 = silver, but if the ring is yellow or rose in color, it’s plated
- Any tungsten, titanium, cobalt chrome, silver or stainless steel that is not “silver” is plated.
Are Gold Plated Wedding Bands Valuable?
No. Gold plated jewelry is created through electroplating a very thin layer of gold (.17 microns - 2.5 microns for heavy gold plate) that can’t be extracted in any measurable amount for reselling purposes. One exception, a solid gold ring plated with rhodium holds high value as its primarily composed of solid gold with a thin, outer layer of rhodium to make it white.
Fun Fact: The electroplating process was invented by an Italian chemist, Luigi Brugnatelli, in 1805.
[VIDEO] THE PROCESS OF ELECTROPLATING RINGS
Cost of Plated Vs. Solid Metal Ring
Plated rings, especially gold plated rings, cost you much, much less. But, most are low quality and don’t hold up well. If you want ONE, lasting symbol of your love, you will be disappointed. Plus, add up the maintenance and/or replacement costs of a plated ring over time and your “cost” is usually a lot more than the inital purchase price.
Why Are Plated Rings So Cheap?
Low-cost materials (e.g. only trace amounts of gold) and they are easy to mass-produce.
Many overseas manufacturers offer plated rings for a very low wholesale cost. They are resold through online stores and by sellers on marketplaces such as Amazon and the Wish app.
We bought a rose gold tungsten wedding band on the Wish app and gave it a closer look. Check out our video that illustrates exactly why you should think twice about buying a plated ring, even if it's 81 cents.
[VIDEO] WE BOUGHT THIS WEDDING BAND FOR 81 CENTS ON THE WISH APP
How Much Does It Cost to Get A Ring Replated?
On average, $75 and it’s recommended to replate every 2 years, which is more applicable to rhodium replating of white gold. In the case of black or colored plating, it's likely going to need replating much sooner. And, many times the replating service costs more than the original price of the ring!
Where Can I Get My Wedding Band Replated?
Black and colored ring plating services are not easy to find. One might expect this service from the original seller, but most are resellers and not jewelers and/or manufacturers. So, even if you're willing to get it replated, it may not be an option.
Fortunately, because plating of white gold is standard practice in the jewelry industry, rhodium and gold replating services are offered at most jewelry stores. If you’re a DIYer, you can buy an at-home gold plating kits like this one on Amazon.
Is A Plated Ring The Best Choice For YOU?
OPT FOR A PLATED RING IF...
You don’t want to pay a lot for a ring.
You are comfortable paying about $75 each time you need to get it replated.
You are willing to replace it if you can’t find replating services.
DON'T OPT FOR A PLATED RING IF...
You have a hands-on job and want to wear your ring daily.
You want an heirloom quality ring that’s durable and likely to last a lifetime.
You value supporting US-based businesses that truly handcraft their items (wink, wink).
Unplated Ring Recommendations
Black Wedding Bands for Men
Colorful, Men's Wedding Bands
There are many ways you can add a pop of your favorite color to your wedding band that doesn’t involve a plated surface. Add a gemstone, dyed wood inlay, enamel pinstripes, mokume gane sleeve or view more ring material options.
Unplated, Metal Options for Rings
Unplated precious metal options include platinum, sterling silver, rose gold and yellow gold. At Jewelry by Johan, white gold is also unplated, but that may not be the case elsewhere. Titanium and tungsten are also unplated in our rings.
Find YOUR Perfect Wedding Ring at Jewelry by Johan
At JBJ, we take pride in handcrafting jewelry for you that can withstand the tests of time. We will always do our best to help you find a ring that fits your style and stays within your budget. Keep in mind, layaway and financing options are available to you, too. And, remember, if you can’t find your perfect ring, we can likely create it for you!