Black wedding rings are all the rage these days. Say what? Black, you say? Black rings are definitely a deviation from more traditional rings in silver or gold. Black wedding bands come in a variety of materials, including silicone, carbon fiber, tungsten, and palladium.
This makes them attractive for men that like to give the proverbial finger to stagnant traditions. It also makes them attractive to men who prefer a low-key style or edgier look, or men that are looking for a wedding ring that’s friendlier on their wallet.
Whether you’ve seen black wedding bands before or not, there’s no denying they have become a popular trend, especially for men in dangerous careers, such as law enforcement. But why? What makes black wedding rings so attractive to our esteemed men in blue?
Black Rings: The Bigger Picture
In order to explain the idea and appeal of black wedding rings, it’s first important to look at what cops are actually wearing while on the job. Most cops you see wearing black wedding bands are probably wearing black silicone rings. It’s probably less of a style statement, and more out of wisdom and prudence, given their line of work.
Silicone wedding bands feature two specific characteristics. For one thing, they are wallet-friendly for men on a budget. That’s definitely a plus. Silicone wedding bands are also a lot softer than metal bands made of materials like gold, silver, or titanium.
Given these two characteristics, wearing a black silicone band addresses five potential problems for cops all in one shot.
Risk of Loss is Minimized
Since silicone rings are more affordable, it’s less of a hit if it gets lost on while on duty. The same goes for black wedding rings made of alternative materials like tungsten or carbon fiber.
Consider the working environment of cops, especially uniformed cops. Depending on where they serve, they could find themselves in a variety of hairy situations with zero warning.
Think of how a police officer assisting with a rescue operation could put his wedding ring in jeopardy. Maybe he’s trying to rescue someone from drowning and the cold water causes blood vessels to constrict and contract. That makes it easy for a ring to slip right off his finger, never to be found again.
Some cops might find themselves trying to free a person stuck in a wrecked vehicle. They end up getting their ring caught on something that causes damage, or they’re forced to cut the band off their finger entirely.
In either scenario, if the cop is wearing a wedding band made of gold or precious gems, not only is it a big loss financially, it’s also an emotional loss given the sentimental value that’s usually attached to wedding bands.
Cops also conduct a lot of search operations in less than savory places. Depending on the situation, these can be some of the most difficult of circumstances. We’re talking dirt, old dilapidated buildings, searches inside vehicle cavities and dank crevices, etc.
A police officer that is focused on the mission won’t think twice about his wedding band. He’ll be too focused on the task at hand. That means if the ring is lost, he might not even realize it until much later and by then, the ring is most likely gone forever.
Fancy Wedding Rings Are Targets for Theft
Many cops wear black wedding rings as a way to minimize the risk of it being stolen. Granted, this may be a lot less likely in more rural areas, but the reality is that cops are sometimes robbed too. When that happens, it’s not just their firearms that get taken. Robbers don’t discriminate, they’re looking to score. That means everything that can possibly be of value is taken, including wedding rings, watches, wallets, and phones. Even thieves that might think twice about attacking a cop on any other occasion, may change their mind if that cop is wearing a diamond-encrusted wedding band. There are ballsy thieves everywhere.
A wedding ring doesn’t have to be super flashy either. Even gold or platinum wedding rings can catch the light and catch the eye of a determined thief. Gold has attracted thieves and robbers since the dawn of time. Some sadistic criminals even go so far as to sever a finger just to steal a ring. Why do cops wear black wedding rings? Because it’s safer than not doing so. In many high-crime areas, cops are even warned not to carry pictures of their loved ones around, lest a criminal see the photo and decide to target the cop’s family for some reason.
By Wearing a black wedding ring, whether it’s a ring made from silicone, carbon fiber, or something else, is a way for cops to minimize unwanted attention. It sends a signal to potential thieves that there’s nothing of value there to warrant an unexpected attack.
Fancy Wedding Rings Are Unsafe on the Job
In many professions, there are horror stories of men who lost their ring fingers, or at least suffered considerable damage to their fingers, due to their rings getting caught in machinery. If you are wondering how this relates to why cops wear black rings, consider how many criminals love their bling. Many wear chains, rings, studded belts, earrings and bracelets, among other things. If said criminal resists an arrest, the poor cop trying to arrest them could get his wedding ring caught on their jewelry, causing damage or even injury to both the cop and the criminal.
That’s one of the reasons black silicone wedding rings are so popular in careers like law enforcement. They’re soft and flexible, which means they literally can stretch. If they get stuck or caught on something, they can be stretched enough for safe removal, or even cut off if necessary.
Fancy Rings Can Interfere with the Use of a Side-Arm
There are many cops that are left-handed, while plenty of others go against Western tradition and wear a wedding band on their right hand. This is usually due to personal preferences or family customs, like certain Eastern European cultures that wear their wedding rings on the right hand.
Unfortunately, when you try to hold a revolver or pistol while wearing a wedding ring made of hard metal, it can compromise your grip. You won’t be able to properly wrap your hand around it because the ring gets in the way. This can interfere with a cop’s aim and could even be the reason a dangerous suspect ends up getting away.
Fancy Rings Are More Vulnerable to Damage
The same set of conditions that lead to a ring being lost or stolen can also result in a wedding ring being damaged. Even minor scuffles that cops may find themselves in during an arrest can result in damage. You could hit the ring against a wall or the pavement, dislodging precious stones and scratching or denting precious metals.
Depending on the extent of the ring damage, it can cause pain or even impede a cop’s ability to keep control of a situation. Whatever the circumstances, if your wedding ring suffers major damage, you might find it’s irreparable. That can be heartbreaking if you’re wearing a ring loaded with sentimental value.
It can also be devastating if it was a ring you invested a serious amount of cash in. Even if repairs are possible, you can be sure it will cost you a pretty penny to restore it to its former glory and replace any missing stones. Why take the risk? Most cops won’t, which is why they knew to wear black wedding rings in the first place.
What About Cops That Are Off Duty?
Is a cop ever really “off” duty? Any spouse of a cop will tell you there is no telling when their other half will be called out to the scene of a crime. It can happen on a day off, during a wedding anniversary, or on a special occasion with the kids. Anytime, really.
While some cops may opt to wear a regular wedding ring on their off days, there’s no doubt that being a cop is a high-pressure calling. In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to forget to swap out that expensive wedding band for a more practical, black one. These cops see their black wedding band as a stand-in for the real thing but open themselves up to risk if they forget they are wearing it.
Ultimately, cops wear black wedding rings for a variety of reasons. The most compelling one is that wearing a black wedding ring is just wiser and safer.