Men’s Wedding Bands 2

In July of 2003, I completed an 18 month study on men’s wedding bands, (see the article “The Top 10 Men’s Wedding Bands.”) In that study, I reviewed over 600 bands from 30 different companies. At the conclusion of the study it became plainly obvious to me that while there are many good wedding band companies, only two of them are elite: Novell Wedding Bands and Benchmark. Not only are they the only wedding band companies to have life-time sizing guarantees, but their customer service and attention to detail are unrivaled. This year I asked only ten manufacturers to submit their wedding bands and, once again, Novell and Benchmark were the last two standing. (If I were to give honorable mentions, Artcarved and Scott Kay would make the list—Artcarved for a consistently good product but lack of originality, and Scott Kay with a handsome product, but in the end, way over-priced because of their designer label.

If you’re familiar with last year’s top ten, you’ll recognize a few of the old faces, (Classic, Classic Millgrain, Tempered, etc.) but there are some new categories that are going to really turn some heads. Without further ado, the top ten men’s wedding band list for 2004…

#10 A Tie: The Classic and Classic Millgrain: If the sole job of the ring is to just announce you’re “off the market” then it’s hard to beat the old Classic. The Classic comes in any width, is half round (curved on top) and is generally preferred comfort fit™ (inside round not flat). The most popular width for a man is 6mm (about 1/4 inch) and most men prefer the heavy comfort fit. ™ (Comfort fit™ is offered in ranges from light to heavy).

The Classic Millgrain is perfect for the man who feels like the engine on the moped of the Classic needs a little tweaking. The beaded edge isn’t just decorative. If the ring slips out of your hand (what the heck were you taking your ring off for anyway?) and hits a hard surface it’s less likely to dent the metal.

The Classic and Classic Milgrain

#9 Gold Tempered and Patterned: For the first time in years, gold has made a comeback. From the very attractive satin to the chalkboard finishes of the tempered bands to the Cubic, In Line and mesh styles of the patterned bands, gold is showing that it’s tired of taking second place to platinum. With the meteoric rise of gold prices in the last year, gold is getting back the respect of old. I won’t be surprised if by next year five of the ten spots will go to the gold.

The Classic and Classic Milgrain


#8 Edwardian:
Distinguished by the hand-engraved scrolled and leaf patterns, these bands aren’t for everyone. The typical guy has more of a minimalist attitude when it comes to a wedding band—less is more. The Edwardian customer is more an aficionado of detail than comfort; style than function. A popular design of royalty, its origin, these 100% hand-engraved DaVinci’s are for the connoisseur of fine things.

The Classic and Classic Milgrain


#7 The Slides:
Up a slot from last year, the slides refuse to get knocked out of the count down. If you can’t decide between platinum and yellow gold then the Slide is right up your alley. Constructed in two pieces (inner tube and outer shell) then soldered together, the wearer gets the benefit of platinum or a white gold ring with a touch of yellow or vice versa. You’ll notice that this year’s pictorial includes two new slides: the Hand Tooled Tempered Slide (7C) and the Classic Millgrain Slide (7D).

The Classic and Classic Milgrain

#6 Tempered: The Tempered bands are offered by all manufacturers. The idea behind them is to place a satin like finish on the rings to make them more scratch resistant. Does it work? It sure does! Plus, when you do eventually get a scratch on it, the scratch blends in so the ring looks newer longer!

The Classic and Classic Milgrain


#5 Dual Lines:
The symbolism behind the Dual Lines collection is simple yet beautiful. Two dual lines (representing life lines) are placed on the top surface of the ring. Each goes in the same direction but each following its own path. The lines are there to remind us that when we marry we should not give up our own individuality even though we are going on a life time adventure with the one we love. Dual Lines are a Novell inspired creation.

The Classic and Classic Milgrain


#4 The Interwovens:
As their title intimates, the Interwovens are a weaving of precious metal. The most complicated and most expensive (way over $2K) they are not only time consuming to make (in some cases months) but a labor of love. Created to symbolize the strength in unity when a couple comes together and invincibility should anyone try to pry them apart. Once again, if you’re Donald Trump or have someone give you a lot of money, you can’t go wrong with these magnificent Novell rings. 4B, 4C, and 4D are brand new interwovens for 2004. Interwoven 4D’s nickname is Michelin for it’s resemblance to a tire tread. The designers of this new ring say they created the interwoven tire tread design to symbolize the idea that a man should “tread softly, but carry a big stick.”

The Classic and Classic Milgrain


#3 Lava:
Think you’re too much to handle? Real “hot stuff?” Then the brand new Lavas are for you. Patterned after old volcanic eruption flows and prehistoric cave drawings, the unfinished yet completed original works of art seem to be a favorite for the caveman that dwells in all of us—raw, yet refined. The Lavas are a Novell inspired creation.

The Classic and Classic Milgrain

#2 A Tie: The Forever and The Inverted Wedding Band: A Novell creation.
Each Forever ring comes out of a super-sized hand rolled pipe of platinum (over 30 percent thicker than any other platinum ring made) and then each ring is hand engraved with an ancient Greek X over and over on to its surface. The Greek X represents 1,000 years and the symbol for Chronos the God of Time. The meaning is “I will love you for over 1,000 years; till the end of time.

Touted as the world’s most comfortable wedding band, last year’s #1 drops to a tie for #2. Years in development, Benchmark has always sought to make a men’s wedding ring more comfortable. (Men’s #1 complaint is that their wedding ring quite simply is uncomfortable to wear). If comfort is your #1 concern than the inverted wedding band is the answer! By contouring the outer body of the ring to two small aerodynamic curves, perspiration is allowed to roll through the canal allowing the webbing on either side of your ring finger to breath. It also makes it lighter. Within just a few days you’ll forget you have it on! Not just comfortable but a beauty to behold. When I first held it I wasn’t sure if I was holding a ring or something that belonged in The Museum of Modern Art.

The Classic and Classic Milgrain


#1 Chiseled, AKA “Self Made Man”:
Looks like a throwback to the old hammered style wedding bands till you take a good close look. Each of the centers of the chiseled collection look like the artist took a hammer and chisel to a circular pipe of platinum to give it its masculine finish. Each band is then hand turned to produce its distinctive side wall trim. Only Novell with their painstaking attention to detail (3 weeks to hand make each ring) could come up with such a masterpiece. If price is no object then Novell is the only way to go. They are the best among the best.

The Classic and Classic Milgrain

(All photographs were taken by acclaimed photographer and artist Ricky Fernandez)