Browsing for men’s wedding rings and bands? Then you’ve likely come across one particular style that’s trending: cobalt. What is cobalt? This style of ring falls into the category of “alternative metal wedding bands.” What does that mean? Well, unlike gold, platinum or silver, cobalt isn’t a pure metal.
Every alternative option has its share of pros and cons. Cobalt trends are on the rise, so let’s have a look at what you need to know before you buy a cobalt wedding ring.
Like many natural elements, cobalt comes from beneath the earth’s surface. The German origin, “kobald” translates to an evil spirit or goblin. Well, that doesn't sound romantic, does it? What’s with the superstition? Allegedly, miners were reticent about cobalt ore because when they tried to smelt it they instead made a toxic form of arsenic. Yikes!
Over time, the methods for handling cobalt advanced and so too did its reputation. As of 1735 cobalt is an official member of the periodic table. So, what exactly is cobalt and how is it made?
Like many popular men’s wedding ring metals, cobalt is a transition metal, meaning it’s not purely made of cobalt. Instead, it is an alloy mixed with other metals. The addition of various metals strengthens cobalt into a strong, durable jewelry metal.
A mixture of chromium, tungsten, iron and nickel blend to form Cobalt alloy. The high volume of chromium gives cobalt the name, “cobalt chrome.”
So, you know about the composition, let’s weigh the pros and cons of cobalt wedding bands.
There’s strong appeal to buying a cobalt ring; they are durable, affordable and made to last a lifetime. Here are the most appealing features of cobalt wedding bands:
From the get-go, one of the sparkling features of cobalt rings is durability. Bottom line: these rings are strong and long-lasting. Not only are cobalt rings durable but they are resistant to scratching and corrosion. Are they equal in durability to say, tungsten or titanium? Not quite. Still, they are harder than gold and platinum meaning they’ll never bend or change shape. Cobalt rings are comfortable to wear every day as they aren’t too heavy or light. This means you can wear your cobalt ring with ease!
A major pro of cobalt is that it looks like white gold, and has a stylish, timeless appeal. Cobalt rings have a gorgeous reflection making the gleam as bright as white gold. Why is this a benefit? Because you can sport a cobalt ring that looks like white gold without the steep price tag.
Speaking of price tags: Cobalt is one of the most affordable men’s wedding ring options on the market. With a wedding approaching, buying a cobalt wedding ring will help you save money. Compared to precious metals like gold and platinum, cobalt is a budget-friendly choice.
Hate fussy things? Then you’ll love cobalt. Straight up, cobalt is one of the easiest, low-maintenance options available. Because they don’t scratch, you won’t have to spend money or time on polishing your ring over time. In fact, cobalt rings tend to look better with age.
Alright, we’ve explored the pros of cobalt, now let’s get to the not-so-ideal features.
While cobalt is hypoallergenic, the con lies in the types of alloy metals used in the ring. For example, cobalt alloys with nickel can cause allergic reactions. Additionally, tungsten carbide bands can also irritate. If you're serious about buying a cobalt ring be sure to buy cobalt chrome, which is hypoallergenic.
One of the main disadvantages of cobalt rings is that they are difficult to resize. Sure, you might not ever need to resize your ring , but what if you do? It’s possible to size a cobalt ring up or down one size. However, it’s a complicated process most jewelers shy away from. In some circumstances, a jeweler may encourage you to instead buy a new wedding ring. If replacing your ring is off the table, you may want to consider buying another metal.
If your taste favors minimalism, you’ll love the simple elegance of cobalt wedding bands. However, if you crave the unusual, novel and unique--you’ll have a hard time finding it from cobalt. So, what styles are cobalt rings available in? Your limited options are satin or matte-finish, black, wood grain or light patterns.
Unimpressed? Then you’ll likely be unsatisfied because, in addition to the simple design options, cobalt also can’t be engraved. Why? Laser machines apply engravings. Remember how cobalt is scratch resistant? Well, it’s so resistant to scratching that it won’t allow a laser to engrave it.
Don’t need all the fancy details? Then cobalt is a great option for you!
Truth is, cobalt isn’t a highly valued metal. Compared to precious metals like gold and silver, cobalt lacks prestige. If ever you decide to resell your ring, don’t expect to get much because it does not have a high resale value.
You also can't liquidate cobalt because it lacks the value of other tradable metals. The bottom line is that cobalt isn’t an investment. What it is, however, is a modern, affordable wedding band metal that’s built to last for the rest of your life.
With all these pros and cons in mind, is cobalt the right choice for you? As you can gather from this information, it’s an entirely personal choice. If you’re a purist who favors esteemed metals, cobalt is likely not the right choice for you. However, If you love the simple elegance and durability of cobalt, we think you’ve found the perfect match! Aside from your betrothed, of course!
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