Jewellery Metal Matters
When choosing wedding bands and engagement rings, there are many features to consider. For engagement rings, the most striking aspect may be your carefully chosen, high quality stone. The metal you choose for your rings can make stones appear larger or smaller, as well as determining how much care and maintenance your jewellery will need over time. Your lifestyle and profession may affect how frequently you will need to clean and repair your rings but choosing the right precious metal for bands can greatly ease the level of effort needed.
Platinum is the most expensive precious metal available for rings, as it’s rarer than gold. Platinum used in jewellery tends to be very nearly pure, meaning it is not diluted with other metals that reduce the value of the piece. Platinum is also the strongest precious metal we have available, and resists stress cracking and corrosion. This makes platinum a low maintenance option that is especially ideal for those who work with their hands where rings may be exposed to bumps and scratches.
Due to its durability and natural colouring, platinum does not require any coating and is hypo-allergenic and nickel-free. Being the whitest precious metal used, platinum is a beautifully flattering backdrop for diamonds as the stones will appear larger and more brilliant. Overall, this is the most popular choice for wedding jewellery as it is most expected to last through the ages.
Palladium is part of the same family of metals as platinum and is therefore similar in appearance, yet more a more affordable option. Palladium share’s platinum’s durability without having as much density. This means that while platinum sits very heavy on your finger, palladium will feel lighter while retaining many of platinum’s qualities. Palladium does not require replating, is hypoallergenic and nickel-free, and is resistant to tarnish and scratches making it another good option for those who work with their hands. Palladium can handle heavier stones than gold or platinum, and is more easily crafted into finer pieces of jewellery.
Pure gold is very soft and is never used in jewellery, so gold of any kind is a blend of pure gold and more durable metals. The exact amounts and specific metals used may vary by supplier. There are a variety of different metals that can be mixed into gold, and each blend lends the gold a unique colour such as yellow, white, or rose. When looking at carats, the higher the number the greater amount of pure gold present. This means that while 18 carat gold is more precious and has more pure gold than 9 carat, 9 carat gold is likely to be more durable and longer lasting due to the hardiness of the other metals mixed in. 18 carat pieces have about 75% pure gold present, and 9 carat has about 37%. You may also see 22 carat available, which is 92% pure gold, but this is not recommended for jewellery pieces that will get a lot of wear because it will be far too soft and easily damaged.
Yellow gold is easily the most traditional choice for wedding rings. Generally, yellow gold involves copper and silver blended into gold for durability and added warmth. This metal is resistant to tarnish yet shows bumps and scratches easily. 9 carat gold will be more resistant to damage, but yellow gold also tends to be the easiest and most practical precious metal to repair and maintain. The yellow hues can contrast nicely with coloured stones in purple, green, or dark blue hues if you’re looking for a more unique piece.
White gold is the most popular choice in the UK as it’s flattering to diamonds yet more accessible than platinum. While not being nearly as durable or low maintenance as platinum, white metals such as palladium and silver are mixed into pure gold to give it a lovely silvered tone that is flattering to diamonds. There is an option for having white gold plated in rhodium for protection and further whitening of the metal. Rhodium is hypoallergenic but will require replating over time. Unplated white gold can have a yellowish sheen, with 18 carat looking more yellow than 9 carat due to the amount of gold present.
Rose gold has gained popularity with vintage jewellery and was originally prominent in the Victorian era. The rosy colour comes from mixing gold with metals such as copper, and shades of rose gold can vary with 9 carat having more of a pink colour than 18 carat. Rose gold is low maintenance and resists tarnish. You will often see this metal used in bi-coloured rings complimenting yellow or white gold for a more unique design.
Silver is the most affordable option as the metal tends to be more readily available, however the cost of silver can fluctuate frequently. Pure silver is soft, so it is mixed with other metals such as copper for durability when used for jewellery and tends to show scratches. Silver polishes to a brilliant shine that flatters diamonds and is one of the whitest and most reflective precious metals used in jewellery design. This metal is low maintenance, with specialised cleaning supplies readily available and easy to find. Silver can be plated in rhodium to prevent tarnish and make the piece hypoallergenic, however all rhodium plated pieces will need to be replated over time. Being quite malleable, silver allows for beautiful, uniquely complex designs at a lower price point.
If you require assistance or advice in choosing metals or stones, we will be more than happy to help you in this exciting season of life and love! We recommend that if you choose to wear an engagement ring alongside a wedding ring that both rings are made of the same metal, since rings of a tougher metal can damage rings made of softer, easily scratched materials. We have a variety of choices readily available, but if nothing seems quite right please contact us about bespoke designs. Whatever you choose, your wedding rings are going to be precious and treasured all your life.