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Much like a diamond solitaire engagement ring, there’s nothing more classic than a gold wedding band. For centuries, gold bands have been adorning both wedding sets and ring fingers as a symbol of eternal love and promise. It’s a timeless choice for any bride or groom considering you can choose from a variety of sizes, styles, etchings, and engravings to truly make it your own—the classic gold wedding band will never go out of style.
Exchanging rings to signify your love and devotion has been a tradition for thousands of years, but gold bands (arguably the most popular band style in history) found their groove in the Victorian era of 1830 to 1899. “During the Victorian period, mass-producing jewelry really gained momentum,” says Catherine Theis. “Using a lower percentage of gold—9 or 10 karat gold—made it very affordable and more accessible to the masses. Wedding bands and engagement rings became the status quo at a wedding ceremony.”
Meet the Expert
Catherine Theis is a third-generation jeweler and co-owner of Filigree Jewelers in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Pros and Cons of Gold Bands
Like a little black dress, gold pairs well with anything and is incredibly versatile. “Pretty much every gemstone looks great paired with a classic gold band,” Theis says. “Having a classic gold band in your collection is the perfect alternative solution to wear alone when traveling or when you have a softer gemstone engagement ring like morganite, opal, and emerald gemstone rings. Those particular gemstones can get damaged easily due to their lack of strength. Having a gold band that you can wear all the time is the perfect solution.”
Theis says that many setting styles work with the classic gold band and calls it a “staple in anyone’s collection,” so the sky is truly the limit for your unique ring stack or vibe.
However, if you’re captivated by the idea of wearing a vintage ring, there are a few details you should consider. She explains, “You want to make sure they still have a lifespan for daily wear. Look for signs of deterioration. Pitting and thinning are a couple obvious signs that the gold is breaking down.” Thin and worn bands can crack and break.
What to Look for in a Gold Band
- What kind of gold should I choose? According to Theis, 14K is the “American standard” for gold, while 18K is the European standard. “18K yellow gold is richer in color and considered finer quality as it has a larger percentage of gold,” she says. 20K, 22K, and 24K gold are softer and will bend and form to the finger, so Theis advises choosing 14K or 18K for an everyday ring with optimal strength and durability.
- Should I purchase a solid or hollow gold band? Solid gold is key for a durable piece that will literally last forever. “When looking for a gold band, make sure it is a solid gold band, not hollow,” advises Theis. “The purity of the gold will also indicate quality.”
- How much does a 14K solid gold ring cost? A quality 14K solid gold yellow band will start around $400 and will raise in price depending on the width and size, though you can find options to suit any budget both online and in-store. Many direct-to-consumer jewelry sites offer classic gold bands at extremely accessible and affordable price points if you’re interested in going that route for your ring.
- Are gold bands gender-neutral? Classic gold bands are unisex and can be worn in a variety of ways, as well as resized to fit a smaller size if you fall for a men’s-sized ring. Their versatility also allows you to create a wedding set that suits your personal style and allows you to play with trends—or start new ones.
- What engagement ring styles pair best with gold bands? “We are seeing a current trend of wider gold wedding bands paired with traditional style engagement rings—think a classic 5mm men’s wedding band paired with a traditional diamond solitaire,” says Theis. “There is something unexpected and unique about it. We love an unusual pairing!”
How to Care for a Gold Band
Gold is also extremely durable and doesn’t tarnish, making it a great choice for any lifestyle. Your gold band can be worn all day, every day, though Theis recommends removing any gemstone rings before working out, gardening, and the like. Your gold band can be cleaned by soaking it in a mix of gentle dish soap and warm water. It’s truly a great choice for anyone, especially if you want to wear your ring 24/7 and don’t want to worry about daily maintenance.
If you’ve decided that a classic gold band is for you and you’re ready to invest in a piece you’ll have and love forever, see some of our favorites below.