Whether as a symbol of love or a symbol of style, a ring and its materials say a lot about the person wearing it. Gold bands with precious set stones create a regal and classic look, while tungsten and steel can provide something more industrial. But for those who stay down to earth and like a more natural style, nothing beats the aesthetic and feel of Wooden Rings.
How durable are wooden rings?
This is a bit of a loaded question, but we’ll do our best to cover as much as we can in this article. The short of the answer is: very, if you treat them right! Natural wood rings are going to be more susceptible to water damage and scuffing than your average metal or carbon fiber ring, so if you plan to be swimming or rock climbing with a wood ring on, then this material probably isn’t the best choice for you. However, if you’re one to take care of your accessories and you’re willing to take the necessary precautions to keep your ring in good condition, then you shouldn’t have any issues!
Different types of wood rings have different durability
Things get a bit more complicated when you factor in the different types of wood rings that exist on the market. Here we’ll cover a few of the specific types we commonly see.
Bentwood rings are made by wrapping a wood veneer around a mandrel or core, and bonding it with a glue or other adhesive. The method is fairly simple, cheap, and will often produce very good looking results. In our personal experience however, bentwood rings tend to fail quite a bit faster than other types of wood rings.
Because the ring is not actually a solid piece of wood, the layers will have a tendency to split apart and crack. Reparability on this type of ring is also not great, as once the layers have split too far, there is not much you can do to re-wrap the veneer.
We know this, because we’ve used this method in the past and found it so unreliable that we had it discontinued. We now use a much more consistent process involving natural solid wood.
In general we would recommend staying away from bent wood rings, especially at the higher prices we often see them being sold at.
Solid / Natural Wood Rings
This type of wood ring employs the use of an actual, solid, natural piece of wood, hence the name. Often this means the wood needs to be stabilized with some sort of resin, cut out, drilled, fitted and shaped, and polished. A much more intensive process, but the result speaks for itself and it’s the method we now use. A solid wood ring will take on all of the natural benefits of a real piece of wood.. but also the same drawbacks.
Natural wood will take on moisture, expand, and contract, meaning if you submerge the ring for a prolonged period of time you can very easily damage the finish, form cracks in the wood, or at worst cause it to delaminate if the ring is bonded to a harder core. However, a solid wood ring should not fail if taken care of. We have seen many wood rings that still look great even after many years of wearing.
You’ll still have to watch out for water, scratching, and if the ring is made of only wood with no harder material at its core, snapping. But overall, if you’re looking for a wood ring, solid wood is a solid choice.
Coated Wood Rings
Coated wood rings utilize a resin or glue coating to give the wood a hard outer shell. This shell works to improve scratch resistance and provide a water resistant coating. The effectiveness of this method varies depending on the thickness of the barrier and the type of coating used.
A simple glue coat can provide a fair bit of resistance, but many glues have a tendency to de bond or chip away over time. If done correctly however, it can go a long way to protect the wood, but will often cost more while altering the natural feel of the ring.
Resin coating is a bit more consistent. Typically this method should be done with a high quality water resistant resin. It also works best if the wood is inlaid between two other water resistant materials. The wood gets a slightly thicker coating of resin poured atop it, completely removing it from scratching or water.
This also means that you cannot physically touch the wood, and it may alter and darken the look of the grain due to the refraction of the resin. Overall though this is a very solid choice for a wood ring that will be experiencing lots of wear and tear if you don’t mind the altered look and feel, and its a method we occasionally use with our custom rings.
Wood rings can last a lifetime
If they’re well taken care of. Just as properly maintained wooden furniture can exist for years, so too can a ring. You can learn more about proper wood ring care in our Wood Ring Care Guide. We also offer a Wood Conditioner Kit in a convenient bottle to help keep your wood ring in a beautifully polished state.