Choosing the right metal for your engagement ring or wedding ring.
Before you purchase jewellery its important to understand the differences between various precious metals. As jewelers we often get asked this question and it’s our duty to provide you with enough information to make an informed decision.
In this article we’ll be looking at the key differences between the most commonly used precious metals in the manufacturing of engagement rings and wedding rings.
We will be looking at Gold, Platinum, Silver, Palladium and Titanium.
This is the most commonly used precious metal in the manufacture of jewellery. Gold is most easily worked with and is often mixed with alloy metals such as zinc and copper. This in turn affects its value and softness of the material. The factors to consider when purchasing gold engagement ring or wedding ring are listed below.
Gold comes in many variable grades of pureness – this is called the carat of the gold. The higher the carat of gold, the more expensive and softer it becomes. The lower the carat of gold, the less expensive and harder it becomes.
The most commonly used carats in the manufacture of jewellery in South Africa are 9ct gold and 18ct gold.
The global spot price for gold is based on the purest form of gold, which is 24ct gold.
24ct Gold is simply too soft to make jewellery with and will either bend or break. Other metals are therefore mixed with gold to produce different carats.
If you’re considering an engagement ring or a gent’s wedding band for someone who works with their hands a lot, 9ct gold is harder than 18ct and will be a better choice. If however you would like the ring to be a purer form of gold and ultimately hold more value, 18ct is the one for you.
Gold carats can also be displayed as numbers such as 375 for 9ct gold or 750 for 18ct gold. This, as per the ct rating is a reflection of the pureness of the gold.
9ct gold = 375 = 37.5% pure gold (62,5% other metals)
18ct gold = 750 = 75.0% pure gold (25% other metals)
24ct gold = 999 = 99.9% pure gold (trace amounts of other metals)
There are three main colors of gold used in the manufacturing of jewellery – Yellow Gold, White Gold and Rose Gold.
Contrary to popular belief, the color of gold has no impact on the cost of the jewellery. Retail jewelers will often ask 10% to 20% higher for white gold jewellery than for yellow gold jewellery. This is brought on by “supply and demand” and what’s currently trending in the market.
White Gold combines gold with other white metals, such as zinc, nickel, platinum and silver. Rose Gold combines gold with copper to create a golden metal with a reddish hue.
It is also incorrect to assume that one color gold is more valuable or pure than another. The color has no bearing on the quality or pureness of the gold and the same carat rating as mentioned above applies to all three colors.
Unlike gold jewellery where there are various options in terms of purity and softness, platinum is worked with in it’s pure form. It’s substantially harder than most metals and will require less maintenance. Making a platinum engagement ring or platinum wedding ring will result in a much heavier end result that is almost twice as heavy as a 9ct gold engagement ring or 9ct gold wedding ring.
Due to these facts mentioned above, its also more expensive than gold jewellery.
The color also appears darker than white gold and can be very appealing.
Platinum is considered to be a prestige option and despite the increase in cost, platinum jewelry has become increasingly popular especially in the manufacture of engagement rings and wedding rings.
Silver jewellery has been around almost as long as gold jewellery. Like gold, pure silver is very soft and is often mixed with other alloys to improve the durability.
Sterling silver is most commonly used in the manufacture of jewellery and is a mixture of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals.
Silver is a popular metal for use in jewellery due to it being much less expensive than all the other materials.
It is however best suited to jewellery that will not be worn every day and is not recommended for wedding rings or engagement rings.
While silver jewellery can be re-polished to look new again, it is prone to oxidization and can turn black after extended exposure to the elements.
Palladium is another white metal with features similar to platinum and is becoming a popular choice for engagement rings and wedding rings. Palladium fits in the same group of metals as platinum and shares similar properties.
Its properties make it very well suited for engagement rings and wedding rings.
Palladium is harder than gold but softer than platinum. It is also much lighter than platinum making it a more comfortable option.
Palladium is used in its pure form so it will retain its color well. Some maintenance may be required due to prolonged exposure to the elements.
Till recently you would have to pay more for a palladium engagement ring or palladium wedding ring but things have changed. The cost of palladium jewellery fits nicely in between gold jewellery and platinum jewellery.
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Choosing the right metal for your Engagement Ring or Diamond ring