Metal finishes are a surface treatment. Satin, matte, and brushed finishes are different names often used to describe the same finish or variations of a non-shiny finish. Likewise, shiny is another name for a polished finish. Since finishes are shallow and rings are a high-wear item, finishes will change quickly on a ring but much slower on earrings or necklaces. A matte finish will become shinier, and a polished finish will become more matte. Over time they will meet in the middle, but start with what you like better.
During the course of wearing a wedding band, it will acquire scuff marks. As mentioned, rings are high-wear items much like a pair of shoes and will show scuff marks pretty quickly. Scuff marks (unlike scratches) are superficial – they can be seen but not felt. Scuff marks can be made by hard leather, wood, and plastic (such as purses, briefcases, dishes, steering wheels). Scuff marks are a process called "burnishing." Scuff marks on a matte band will be shiny, whereas scuff marks on a shiny band will be dull. Some people feel that scuff marks look less apparent on a ring with a shiny finish than on a matte finish band. Scuff marks can be easily removed by refinishing the ring.
Scuff marks do not affect the integrity of the ring. If left, the finish will take on its own patina, considered the usual look of a wedding band. Many people take pride in this as it signifies the passage of time.
Scratches, dings, and gouges are deeper and can be felt with your eyes closed. No metal is impervious to scratches, and wedding bands take a lot of abuse. Any metal can scratch, but how quickly it will happen depends on the metal, care, and lifestyle. Some rings (like silver which is soft) will change immediately, whereas gold, platinum, and palladium rings will hold up much better. Industrial metals like stainless steel and titanium will resist scratching for much longer. Textured bands will hide scratches much better than a smooth wide band – which is like a pair of white tennis shoes.
Palladium and platinum will scratch and ding faster than gold, but unlike gold, no metal is removed when scratched but instead displaced. So over many years, a platinum or palladium band will retain about the same weight as it started. In contrast, a gold band will become thinner over time because the metal is slowly rubbed away.
With silver, palladium, platinum, and gold bands, it is essential to remember that it's fine jewelry. So if you do not want your ring to bend, scratch or gouge, it should be treated with some care for it to last. Any metal or stone harder than it can scratch or gouge it. Remove your ring before doing heavy work (like moving furniture or rock climbing), and always store it in a safe spot where you won't lose it. See this blog post about taking your ring off.
Additionally, be aware that chlorine, especially at high temperatures, can erode gold jewelry. Do not wear gold jewelry while using chlorine bleach or while in a pool or hot tub.
Typically commercial white gold rings have been rhodium plated or "dipped". Plating is just a thin coating of another metal on the base metal's surface, and like finishes, they will wear away over time. If your ring has rhodium plating, it will need to be re-plated once a year to maintain the look. We do not plate our jewelry; however, some components that we don't make (such as chain) may be rhodium plated.
Rings can be refinished from time to time, which will remove many scratches, gouges, and scuff marks. However, every time it's refinished, it removes a little bit of metal, making the ring thinner over time, so we don't recommend doing it very often.