Some people make the mistake of only thinking about the gemstone or diamond that they want. It is equally important to choose the right metal. There is a variety of metal options available, including precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum, or less traditional metals such as titanium, tungsten and palladium.
The metal choice is ultimately a personal one and each choice has advantages and disadvantages. See below for a brief summary of the most popular metals to help you make an informed decision when buying your wedding or engagement ring.
Gold has been a popular option for generations. When made for jewellery, it is timeless, valuable, and durable. Gold in its natural state is too soft to create jewellery, so it is combined with a variety of alloy metals.
The additional metals create the different gold colour variations, and alter its karat rating. Karat is a measure of gold’s purity.
The higher the karat, the higher the amount of pure gold. 24ct gold is pure gold, while 18ct is 75% pure gold and 25% other metals.
Yellow Gold is generally made using a combination of zinc, copper, and pure gold. It is a popular choice complementary to warm skin tones, and the most traditional choice.
It is a common misconception that choosing the highest purity gold will be the best choice. However, 24ct gold is too soft to use in jewellery. Pure gold is so soft it can easily become scratched or misshapen when worn regularly.
The optimal balance between purity and durability is 18ct gold, especially when it comes to wedding and engagement rings. It is safer wearing due to its ability to be cut and has a longer lasting longevity.
By mixing in 25% of harder metals, the gold becomes far more suitable for daily wear.
18ct is longer lasting as this is a more malleable gold, because of this it will hold its weight comparison to other harder wearing metals.
FOR EXAMPLE – If I knock my 18ct gold ring, the gold will move and this ring will stay the same weight. If were to knock my 9ct gold ring, this will abrade away eventually loosing weight.
9ct An affordable light yellow gold. Minimum gold standard in UK.
14ct Hardwearing. Straw yellow colour. Minimum gold standard in Europe.
18ct Classic golden colour. Best for wedding jewellery. Used in original Movie Ring.
22ct Deep rich golden colour. The closest to pure gold.
DID YOU KNOW?
It was 18 karat yellow gold that we used to make the famous ring used in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies?
These reddish gold options (sometimes called pink or rose) are created by adding copper to the alloys in this ring. The colour of the ring varies on the copper content of the ring, which varies with the different karats. This colour choice is more suited for warm skin tones, and tends to deepen with age.
White gold is usually a mixture of white metals, such as palladium and silver, with pure gold. It is a popular option because it looks good on a variety of skin tones. White gold can be more expensive than other types of gold, depending on the metal it is mixed with. Some white gold can be rhodium-plated, which wears off and requires (ideally) annual re-plating. The bonus of this though, is that rhodium-plating improves whiteness and durability, it is also hypoallergenic and will lower/eliminate any risk of any reaction to the metal if you have sensitive skin.
Silver is a popular metal. Like gold, pure silver is too soft to be used in jewellery, so it is combined with alloy metals. It is the most affordable of the precious metals. Sterling silver can range from bright white to grey white, and can have a matte or shiny finish and must contain at least 92.5% pure silver (printed as 925 on silver jewellery). Non-sterling silver contains less pure silver, and more alloy metals.
While mixed silver is affordable, it can cause allergic reactions and is not as shiny as other higher weight silver alternatives. It can also look the part, but is damaged easily and so better suited for occasional wear, for this reason we do not reccoment using silver for wedding or engagement bands.
Platinum is the most desired as it is the highest standard of metal available for use for rings, due to its quality, durability, and beauty. Depending on market conditions, platinum can be the most expensive metal option. However, it is extremely durable as it is 90% to 95% pure, and its colour sets off the brilliance of a diamond incredibly well. Since platinum is a dense metal, it will feel heavier on the hand than the alternatives. Its white metal colour complements any precious stone or diamond, so makes ring design easier.
Palladium is one of the rarest minerals in the world. Palladium is usually mixed with five percent other alloy metals. Lighter than platinum and very durable, palladium has a natural whiteness that doesn’t tarnish, making it low maintenance. An advantage to palladium rings is that they are hypoallergenic, so anyone can wear them. They are also scratch resistant.
Recent changes in the world market have lead to palladium effectively becoming more expensive in jewellery than platinum, so for this reason we recently chose to stop listing palladium as an option on our website.
Titanium & Tungsten
Titanium is a classic industrial metal, it is a popular choice for wedding jewellery.
Tungsten being similar to titanium is also a popular choice when it comes to wedding bands, however it is not a material we reccomened to our customers. Read more about it here.