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I was recently told that the ring used for kiddushin should be made entirely out of one kind of metal (usually gold), with no other adornments such as diamonds, etc. I had been under the impression that the only halachic requirement for the wedding ring was that it had to be shaveh prutah.

Is what I had been told true? Are there any other halachot about wedding rings? If not, is it a commonly practiced minhag for the ring to be made entirely out of one kind of metal?

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related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/5738/603 –  Menachem Aug 16 '12 at 18:33
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3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

In theory, as long as it's intrinsically worth a perutah it's good enough, but there can be no misunderstandings about what it is! If she thinks she's getting a diamond when in fact you're giving her a cubic zirconia, then it could be claimed the kiddushin occurred under false pretenses. So we avoid stones or fancy engravings.

THEREFORE, to avoid any chance of confusion, the recommended practice is:

A ring. (Could actually be another item of intrinsic value, but usually a ring). Usually gold, can be platinum (or even silver?) if necessary, but make sure everyone understands what it is and what it's worth. Should be plain and unengraved (well often they have a small engraving inside, something like "14K", that's not a problem.) A simple design that doesn't cost any more and they can easily mass-produce by mold is okay -- so it can be plain-plain, or have a milgrain edge or the like.

(As heard on a yutorah mp3 from Rabbi J D Bleich.)

Source: http://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/776626/Rabbi_Dr_J_David_Bleich/Ishus_3_(5772) at around 56:45.

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תוס' קידושין ט: ד''ה והלכתא ואומר ר"ת דאתא לאשמועינן דדוקא שיראי הוא דלא צריכי שומא לפי ששומתן ידוע קצת ואין רגילין לטעות בו כל כך אבל שאר דברים כגון אבנים טובות ומרגליות שיש שאינם טובות אלא מעט ורגילים לטעות בהרבה יותר משוויים צריכי שומא משום דלא סמכה דעתה ולפיכך נהגו העולם לקדש בטבעת שאין בה אבן –  moses Aug 14 '12 at 13:51
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Similarly to Shalom's answer, I've heard that a ring used for Kiddushin should ideally be made of yellow gold, so that it is clear what is being given and the value can be fairly easily ascertained. According to this explanation, even platinum or white gold should be avoided, as they resemble silver. Having said that, there is no real Halachah, that I'm aware of, that it needs to be done this way, as long as it is certainly worth more than a Perutah.

The only caveat to what I've said above, also mentioned by Shalom and sourced to Tosafoth in a comment by Moses, is that if the bride believes she is being given something other than what she is receiving, it could possibly be a מקח טעות, or a fraudulent/erroneous transaction, which could conceivably void the entire Kiddushin. But, again, this is a safeguard, not a requirement, and as such it has developed into a Minhag in some circles (certainly Tosafoth imply that it was a Minhag at least in their locale/time, and possibly much more widespread than that, to at least avoid anything with jewels on it in case she thinks they are more valuable than they are; although Tos seem to be discussing quality of the gems, not real vs. fake - and it is possible, though I don't know for certain, that this much is codified as Halachah today).

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Fascinating. Never heard an issue with non-yellow ... –  Shalom Aug 14 '12 at 14:46
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@Shalom, I wouldn't say it's an "issue". I just know some people are a little resistant to use white gold and platinum for the same reasons outlined wrt jewels. –  Seth J Aug 14 '12 at 14:55
    
My rabbi told me that even though platinum and white gold rings are the same color, we don't see that as a reason to avoid getting platinum or white gold rings. –  Chanoch Oct 22 '12 at 13:08
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http://www.hidabroot.org/CommunityDetail.asp?FaqID=15509

This is a long kabalistic article of what to use for a wedding ring gold or silver. It should also be round on the inside and square on the outside. Some specially use white gold since it has the attributes of gold and being white like silver. It seems you cant use a ring made of both. White is the colour of rachamim which a young couple need. The letters of zhv are decreasing in value whereas the letters of ksf are increasing upwards. These of course have nothing to do with halacha.

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