What ring sizing system works best?

Sometimes customers ask us why we use the US sizing system, so here we explain why that is!

You’ve seen the different Australian bricks and mortar stores that use the Australian, or more accurately, the “British” sizing system. Why Australia uses this system is beyond the scope of this article but one thing is certain – its here to stay.

At ALPHA Rings, we don’t necessarily think that the British sizing system is as useful as the US sizing system. This becomes apparent quite clearly when men with large fingers try to get sized and their size goes beyond a US size 13.

Moving up or down the scale in US half sizes is very very simple. Going from a 13 to a 13.5 is a pretty simple thing to work out. But in the Australian sizing system, we go from a Z, to a Z2 and Z3 etc. It just doesn’t make much sense and its proved annoying for customers to try and work out. You can see this in our ring size guide here.

Couple that with the fact that most of our products come out of the USA, so we buy all of our products in US sizes.

If you do not know your ring size, we suggest that you go to a jeweller and ask if they can give you a size in both the British and the US size. If you get your exact US size, then you’ll always be able to convert that back to the British sizing system if you need to.

For expert tips on how to find your correct ring size, check out our ring size article.

worlds stupidest wedding rings

While surfing the net the other day we came across some really dumb wedding rings which we thought we’d share. Nothing ground-breaking here, just some ugly rings we don’t suggest you use for your wedding!

Most of them are womens wedding or engagement rings but you get the point – sometimes going too far out of the bell curve is just not going to work.

The good news is that most jewellers don’t stock crap like this because it just doesn’t sell!

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How to choose a mens wedding ring

Titanium Black Ring edward mirell

Choosing a wedding ring for a man in Australia is rather different than most other countries around the world. Due to our geographic sparsity, shoppers just don’t get the opportunity to look at as many retail outlets as is the case for say, Americans or the Brits. And unfortunately when you get to a retail shop, the big outlets just don’t have a wide range of stock for men to choose from. Simply put, retailers most of the time don’t make enough money off mens jewellery compared to ladies. Its just simple economics really.

The good news is for men that the internet age has brought an enormous array of products to their fingertips. Men can now choose pretty much any product they want, and get it delivered to them, which is awesome.

So with all that choice now presented to us, how do we go about choosing that perfect ring that shows our personality and speaks of the love we have for our life partner? From our years of dealing with people getting married, here is a list of common points of interest that come up time and again. Hopefully this helps you to make informed choices for your amazing day. Some points might be irrelevant to you, some might really be close to home.

 

traditional wedding ring

Craig decided upon a Tungsten ring, with a Silver inlay, for his wedding day

Do it early

I can’t tell you guys this enough. Its really really important to get the ball rolling nice and early. I have seriously had people ring me up a week before to get something custom made – it just can’t be done! If you are lucky enough that the product you want is in stock with a retailer, you still need to allow enough time in case the ring isn’t the right size, or even worse, that the ring is lost or damaged in the mail.

I’d suggest you start checking out stores and the internet a good 6 months before the wedding date. You need to make sure you’ve seen enough products so you’re quite sure of what you’re after.

Please leave at least 2 months before you make your choice of ring and go to make the purchase. This gives the retailer enough time to get it made if it is not in stock, and gives plenty of time to make sure the size is right. Inside 2 months, and the pressure is on the retailer to make sure it is spot on. And while most retailers can ensure that this will happen – what happens if your jeweller gets it wrong?

So best to leave as much time as possible. Please don’t leave your ring purchase to the last minute. It puts heaps of strain on the relationship as often (from experience) the partner needs to sort it out. Not cool!

Black Titanium by Edward Mirell - beach themed wedding.

Black Titanium by Edward Mirell – beach themed wedding. Alpha Rings is Australia’s sole distributor of the incredible Edward Mirell product

 

Contemporary or Traditional materials?

We’ve talked about this to death in various other posts but the reality is that its probably one of the most controversial points in choosing a mens wedding ring. There are just so many choices it is beyond belief these days. Whilst many people enjoy the traditional metals such as Gold, Silver and Platinum, there are so many other great materials now to make rings out of including Cobalt, Tungsten and Titanium.  Its pretty obvious that Alpha Rings prefers modern day metals such as the later due to the cost vs benefit aspect. And the reality is that contemporary metals are so accepted now that the growth in the market paints a compelling tale of the popularity of these metals.

Its a bit like the transition in photography from film to digital. People fought digital and beat the product down, but digital has long since been a superior product to film that no one even bats an eyelid to it now. The same is true in the argument of contemporary metals vs traditional metals. Really, in my opinion, the only benefit that traditional metals have for a wedding ring is the “status” of a gold or platinum ring.

In almost every other aspect, contemporary metals out perform, and are far cheaper than Gold and Silver in particular.

Contemporary metal benefits: cheaper, harder, more scratch resistant, often lighter, don’t deform, incredible design possibilities.

Traditional metal benefits: Some people like the concept, uses precious metals.

 

Titanium Black Ring edward mirell

Great shot of an Edward Mirell ring we sold a client for his big day. Looks awesome…..

Getting your size right.

Unfortunately, there really isn’t a perfect ring size for me. Our fingers swell and shrink with the weather and thats a fact of life. In fact my “perfect” size is 8.5, but in winter I can wear a size 8, and in summer I can wear a size 9. So that is one full size in fluctuation!

Not only that, but some men have bony knuckles, with not much meat on their fingers. This means that they need a ring big enough to get over the knuckle, but then it will be quite loose once it’s over the knuckle. This is one of those unfortunate facts of life – there just isn’t a way around it. You should try and get a ring small enough that you can just get it over your knuckle, even if it is tight to get off. You can always use soapy water on your hand and twist the ring off. Its better this way than the ring flopping around all day!

Other men have more meat between their knuckles. the challenge here is that their finger can swell in the heat and subside in the cooler months. You probably need to make your research over a longer period. See if you can try what you THINK is your size, but over different climatic conditions. Try it in the heat and try it in the cool. This is the only way that you are going to be able to see if it is indeed the right size or not. Thats where Alpha Rings ring sizing comes in handy. We can really help you take out a lot of the guess work with sizing.

You also need to make sure that you are sizing on a ring with the correct width. There is no point sizing your finger on a 2mm band if you intend to get a 10mm band as the geometry of the ring will be entirely different!

 

polished Cobalt Mens ring

A polished Cobalt Ring, custom engraved, was the choice for Ren’s big day

 

Ring Width

Width is an often overlooked issue when it comes to choosing the mans wedding ring. I believe that 8mm has become the norm for most men when buying a ring, based on experience and what our clients tell us. However, this can also change depending on the size.

For example, a smaller individual with small fingers who chooses a small size, will not necessarily want an 8mm ring. For example, if you are a size 7.5, then an 8mm ring will look disproportionally fat, compared to someone who has a size 10 finger. And a person who is a size 13 might think that 8mm is actually a touch thin, and may want to go up to a 9 or 10mm ring.

You want your ring to look good! So have a good look around and see what width suits you best.

8mm is fantastic for people with “standard size” fingers. People with smaller fingers may want a 6mm ring, and people with really big fingers may want to look at 10mm rings.

 

Ring Design

This is a huge topic in and of itself. There is just so much range and style variation now that you really should just look at google images for hours on end until you see something you like – thats really the best way to get a handle on whats out there. You will find that going into shops you’ll start to see the same thing repeated pretty quickly.

There are no rules for wedding rings anymore. The old rules that thou shalt buy a gold domed band is well and truly of a bygone era. You can even get rings designed yourself these days, should you be willing to spend enough.

Regarding ring design, the only suggestions I would have is the following

– Is this more of a “fashion ring”, i.e., perhaps cheaper, made of something like steel, or wood, might not last or “novelty” and

– Make sure your spouse is ok with it!!! Its going to be in the wedding photo’s and its going to be shown to your friends and relatives for a while, so please don’t buy something that your partner shudders at the site of. I’ve seen this happen.

Alpha Rings black titanium

We love how this clients wedding pictures turned out

 

Ring Features

The world is your oyster now days when it comes to features of a ring. If you want intricate work on your ring, then Tungsten, Silver and Gold are not the best options. These products are too hard or too soft to be able to handle amazing shapes. Tungsten can handle a simple inlay of precious metals such as Silver and Gold, but it can’t be too much more adventurous than that.

Titanium or Black Titanium are the products of choice if you are wanting intricate designs for your ring. These materials have an almost perfect profile to allow machinists to create amazing and intricate patterns and shapes.

Diamonds, or other stones can be set in most materials.

black ti animal ring

One of our clients chose the Black Titanium Koi fish as his wedding ring. amazing design and matching with diamonds for eyes

How much punishment will the ring get/lifestyle?

Different people will wear their wedding rings at different times. Tradespeople might only ever wear their wedding ring when they go out on the weekend. Other people have office jobs. In both cases, the ring will not cop a lot of punishment so the ring will most likely hold up better for longer. If this is you, then you can choose from a wider range of rings with a wider range of properties, such as varied ductility and malleability (which ultimately means how much the ring will bend, warp and scratch)

If you are a person that will will wear your ring 24/7, then you really need to have a good hard think about what product you are going to use. Similarly, if you will wear your ring whilst doing any sort of manual labour, then the ring will be under much more stress than the office worker.  If this is you, then products like Tungsten Carbide or Cobalt instantly stand out as more solid options because they are so hard. But don’t believe the hype! No ring is perfect or indestructible. Each material has its positives and negatives, so make sure you email or call someone with industry knowledge to find out if the product is going to work for you.

Typically, Titanium, Platinum, Tungsten and Cobalt can handle more than Gold and Silver. Gold and Silver will scratch even if you have a desk job. Silver will probably scratch the first day you wear it. Thats ok, you can get it buffed – but is that something you are prepared to do?

black titanium ring australia

Final QA inspection before packaging and sending to our client before their wedding day

Cost

Cost is a consideration with every purchase that we make. So, not only does it come into the equation when choosing what material you want, but it also comes into the equation when trying to get a good deal on that product. Gold remains popular as a product, but its popularity has dipped over the last decade due to cheaper and more versatile options. That means people have a much bigger range of products from a financial point of view to choose from. No longer does buying a wedding ring need to break the bank.

When it comes to getting a good deal, you need to do your due diligence on your product of choice. You need to make sure you are getting good bang for your buck. Try and do some research on the product, where does it come from, does the retailer actually understand the manufacturing process? I would hope so.

It is a fact that online stores have lower overheads than shopfronts. Online stores just don’t have the same expenses such as wages, commissions, rent and others. This means that online stores can produce a similar quality product (or better), at a fraction of the cost.

mens black rings

Checking Daniels ring one last time before we sent it on

Choosing a respected retailer

This is true for any product you purchase, not just wedding jewellery. Look to see how long the organisation has been in business for. Do they have an address? What country do they operate out of? Do they accept Paypal which gives buyer protection? Have you heard anything about the company through word of mouth? Are there good or bad online reviews?

Don’t just trust “customer feedback” on the companies own homepage. Unfortunately these can be manipulated to show only good review – or worse, they might even be entirely fictional.

Clearly shopfronts have an advantage here in that you can actually go and meet with someone to discuss your ring.

Two of the most important things when choosing someone to buy a ring off, is their warranty policy, and their knowledge. If you buy a ring and something happens to it – will the retailer do anything to fix it? Thats really really important. Make sure you ask and understand the warranty policy.

Product knowledge is critical. When you are talking to someone about a purchase, don’t settle for wishy washy statements such as “I think so”, or “it should be ok”, or “I’m not really sure”. The person you buy the ring off should be able to confidently answer any question that you throw at them. If not, I’d be concerned they are just trying to “sell” you, that they really don’t care for your big day at all.

 

So there you have it – our comprehensive guide to choosing a mens wedding ring. Do it early and do it right. It will hopefully be on your finger for a long long time so make sure you do some research, and importantly, buy with your head as well as with your heart!

Good luck!

Why buy a Cobalt ring?

Being in the wedding ring game for quite some time, we’ve seen all sorts of trends come and go. We’ve also seen new products come into the market that have really added to the product suite that men have to choose from. Cobalt is one of those such products.

Cobalt rings are a relatively recent innovation, created by some of the worlds top designers and metallurgists searching for a product with lots of upside and reducing the floors of the product. Cobalt was created to have a similar appearance to Platinum, with its brilliant “white” lustre. However, in our opinion, Cobalt is a far superior product for jewellery than Platinium. The only place that Platinum has it covered is the “status” of Platinum.

cobalt wedding ring

Cobalt Rings are made by combining Cobalt, Chrium and Molybdenum as well as other trace materials.

Some of the benefits of Cobalt Rings include

– Hardness & scratch resistance. Cobalt is around 3 times harder than Platinum. The result is that it is an extremely durable product that is highly scratch resistant. I have worn Cobalt as my ring of choice for many years, and whilst the product does scratch – the scratches are very fine. You need to look closely to see the scratches. Its not like Gold, Silver or Platinum that have massive scratches all over the ring really quickly. Also, even though the product is hard, it is not so hard that it becomes brittle, which is really important. Its less hard than Tungsten and is more malleable so it is less prone to cracking.

– Brilliant white Hue. One of the best attributes Cobalt has is its wonderful colour. It is a very “white” colour which is stunning when either polished or brushed. Of all the products we sell, it is Cobalt that really lights up a clients face when they see their ring come out. It catches the light beautifully well. The one downfall of this colour is that Cobalt is near on impossible to photograph properly. Its really hard to capture the true colour and reflection properly.

Cobalt ring combined with ceramic. Precision engineering -  available at Alpha Rings

Cobalt ring combined with ceramic. Precision engineering – available at Alpha Rings

– Price. Compared to precious metal jewellery, it is very inexpensive. Most Cobalt rings can be purchased for less than $300 which is an absolute steal for the product that you are getting. Its certainly more expensive than both Titanium and Tungsten, but it is a different product. Titanium is more versatile so more can be done with it. The machining of Cobalt probably produces an end result closer to Tungsten because of its hardness.

Cobalt fashion ring

Not all Cobalt rings are made equally though. Because Cobalt rings are made with a bunch of different materials, some manufacturers can use cheaper products in higher proportions which compromises both the scratch resistance and the “cracking” resistance of the products. Cobalt products made by Alpha Rings are of the highest possible quality, so whilst we won’t claim that your Cobalt product will never scratch (if you find a retailer that does, I would suggest you be very concerned about buying from them), it will be as high a quality as you will find anywhere. Click here to have a look at our cobalt rings.