With engagement and wedding rings being a very special, personal, and long-term type of jewelry, picking the right metal for them is absolutely crucial.
So, why are silver wedding rings not the best idea for wedding rings? What are their pros and cons? Let’s find out.
The Different Silver Alloys Used In Jewelry
Before we get into the pros and cons of silver wedding rings, let’s note that not all silver is created equal. There are several types of silver on the market and in fact, almost none of the silver jewelry you’ll see in jewelry stores is 100% silver.
Pure silver, also called fine silver, is too soft of a metal to reliably be used in jewelry. So, like gold, it needs to be mixed with other metals to become harder and at least slightly more durable for rings and other types of jewelry.
The most common metals mixed with silver are copper, nickel, and zinc. All three of those are pretty low-value and have their own drawbacks, which we’ll mention below. The most popular silver alloy in jewelry is sterling silver which is made of 92.5% silver and 7.5% of copper and/or nickel.
There are some other newer silver alloys which include metals such as germanium, palladium, and others. These are much more durable and higher value than even sterling silver, but they tend to be pricier too. This is worth noting as the pros and cons of silver we’ll discuss below apply to different degrees depending on which type of silver alloy we’re talking about.
Pros And Cons Of Silver Wedding Rings
When it comes to wedding rings, most people lean towards gold or platinum, as these two precious metals are durable, prestigious, valuable and easier to maintain. Silver is not a commonly chosen metal for wedding rings, even though it has several pros.
Pros of Silver Wedding Rings:
1. Silver is affordable.
Even the higher-value and more expensive types such as Argentium Silver are considerably more affordable than other precious jewelry metals.
Compare the above two wedding rings, which look very similar. One is made of silver and the other of platinum. The difference in price is in the hundreds of dollars. This makes silver a practical choice for many people.
2. Silver can be durable.
Some silver alloys such as Argentium Silver are much more durable than others. Argentium is even stronger than sterling silver as it has a touch of germanium in its alloy, where sterling silver is only made of silver and copper. There are other sturdy alternatives to Argentium too with some silver alloys having palladium in them too. Note that even those extra-tough silver alloys are not as tough as other white jewelry metals – they are just tougher than sterling silver if you want to go for the best possible silver option.
3. Silver can be temporary.
Silver makes for a good temporary metal while finding the funds for your long-term wedding bands. Weddings are expensive, as we know, so helping your budget a bit with low-cost and short-term rings is a good idea. It may not feel “romantic” at first, but marriage is supposed to be about building your future together so there’s nothing wrong with being financially smart about it.
Plus, getting the second set of wedding rings a year or so later is a nice occasion for celebration too. Some couples make their initial silver bands in a mold and they keep that mold so they can cast their next set of white gold or platinum wedding bands in it too. This way your long-term wedding rings will look the same as your temporary ones.
4. Silver comes in different finishes.
Different silver types and alloys have various captivating finishes. Silver is a very good metal for texturing and stamping because of how soft it is. New silver simply looks awesome, there’s no denying that. However, some people love the old, tarnished look of silver as well.
5. Silver can easily be refurbished or replated by any good jeweler.
Many people who opt for silver wedding bands simply take them to a jeweler from time to time to renew the rings’ look.
Cons of Silver Wedding Rings
1. Silver is too soft for rings.
Silver earrings and necklaces are more wide spread as these types of jewelry get knocked and scratched less often. Rings, however, are constantly in touch with other hard surfaces so they are very easy to scratch. And with wedding rings being meant to last a lifetime, silver just isn’t a good option. Yes, the silver can be refurbished and replated from time to time but do you really want to bother giving your rings to the jeweler every year or every six months?
2. Silver loses its finish much sooner than many people realize.
Even if we put the risk of scratches, dents, and other physical damage aside, silver often just loses its finish after a week or two of daily wear. The classic, gorgeous silvery shine just doesn’t last – it will look great on your wedding day photos, but a week to a month later it will have a much more dull look. You can refurbish your silver ring once a year to remove any scratches but refurbishing it every month to renew its finish is just not feasible.
Granted, some people like that look too but that’s a matter of personal preference.
3. Most silver alloys are prone to tarnish.
Pure or fine silver doesn’t tarnish but it’s also extra soft and unsuitable for rings. So, most silver alloys for rings such as sterling silver include copper for the extra hardness. The problem with that is that copper tarnishes pretty easily. Again, whether you hate or like the tarnished silver look is a matter of personal preference – some people dig it. Many jewelers even like to use the tarnish to make various beautiful patterns in the silver. Most people don’t appreciate the tarnished silver look, however. And while tarnished silver can also be refurbished pretty easily, it’s annoying to have to take your rings to the jeweler every year.
4. Many silver alloys are not hypoallergenic.
When a silver alloy doesn’t include copper to avoid the tarnish effect, it usually includes nickel instead. The problem with nickel, however, is that many people are allergic to it. And finding out that you or your partner are allergic to your wedding bands is not exactly the best way to start your married life together.
5. Much of the silver on the market is not actual silver.
If you ever come across silver rings marked Nickel silver, German silver, Argentan silver (not to be confused with Argentium silver), Alpaca silver, or just plain silver with no additional qualifiers, markings, stamps, or quality certificates – bear in mind that what you’re buying is probably not silver at all. Nickel silver, for example, is an alloy made up of 60% nickel, 20% copper, and 20% zinc. It’s only called nickel silver because it looks like silver.
6. Silver is not as valuable as other metals.
Wedding bands are not meant to just look pretty, after all, they are also meant to symbolize how much we value our loved ones and our relationship with them. And, while silver was very valuable historically, that isn’t the case anymore, There are quite a few other jewelry metals today that are much more valuable than silver. With wedding rings often going on to become heirloom jewelry for our children and grandchildren, investing in a higher value material is a good idea.
FAQs About Silver Wedding Rings
1. Can wedding rings be silver?
Silver is a budget-friendly option for wedding rings, but the maintenance and properties of silver don’t make it a great choice for daily wear.
2. What does a silver wedding ring mean?
Silver symbolizes purity, wisdom, serenity, peace, and calmness.
3. Will a silver wedding ring last?
Yes, but it will require regular maintenance to keep it shining.
4. Do silver rings leave green marks?
Sometimes silver can leave green marks on the skin, especially if it has copper.
5. Do silver wedding rings turn dark?
Over time, silver rings can become dark from tarnish and exposure to the elements. The ring will require polishing to remove the tarnish and regain its luster.
While the number of pros and cons can seem similar at first glance, reading through them makes it clear that the cons far outweigh the pros. This doesn’t mean that you absolutely shouldn’t get silver wedding rings – if you don’t mind their drawbacks and you appreciated their positives, go for it. However, for most people, the low durability, the softness, tarnish, the risk of allergies, the low value, and the quick loss of luster are too much of a negative to make silver wedding rings worthwhile.