Selecting the perfect engagement ring is a significant decision, and one of the most crucial factors is the metal from which it’s made. The metal determines the ring’s appearance and affects its durability and cost. With a wide variety of metals available, it’s essential to understand the different possibilities and their unique characteristics. As a team of expert engagement ring designers, we are well-versed in all the ins and outs when it comes to all things jewellery-related. In this guide, we’ll explore the best engagement ring metals to help you make an informed choice for this symbol of your love and commitment.
What Is Platinum?
Platinum belongs to a family of metals known as the platinum group metals, which consist of Palladium and rhodium, among others. It boasts a rarity exceeding that of gold’s, and is loved for its everlasting durability. Platinum is incredibly robust and lends itself well to all forms of jewellery design. A platinum engagement ring stands out for its exceptional purity, typically composed of nearly 100 percent platinum, in contrast to gold rings that often feature a blend of various metals and alloys.
Is Platinum High-Quality?
Platinum is considered one of the most prestigious metals for engagement rings. It’s highly durable, naturally white, and hypoallergenic, making it an excellent choice for people with sensitive skin. Due to its malleable nature, platinum rings do not lose metal over time, unlike gold, where polishing and scratch removal risk some metal loss. When it comes to polishing platinum, the metal is simply “folded” back over any scratches where the metal has been displaced, leaving the ring like new.
Does Platinum Scratch?
Platinum is slightly softer and more malleable than gold; for this reason, it can scratch more easily. However, the plus side is that these scratches can easily be smoothed out using polishing equipment by a trusted jeweller, leading to no metal loss. For this reason, platinum rings can last a very long time. On the other hand, gold tends to lose metal during polishing.
What’s the Difference Between Platinum and White Gold?
Although the two look similar, platinum and white gold are quite different; platinum is a much denser metal and is mainly pure in its composition. On the other hand, white gold is less strong and is made up of a mixture of pure gold and various alloys to give it its white shine.
Due to the difference in density, a platinum ring will be heavier than the same ring made in gold. Platinum is also more expensive due to its rarity and purity. Another important consideration is that platinum, due to its purity, is hypoallergenic, whereas white gold contains alloys, which can cause skin irritation in some people.
What Is Yellow Gold?
Yellow gold is the classic choice for engagement rings and has been used for centuries. It’s warm and timeless, evoking a sense of tradition and luxury. Yellow gold is highly workable, making it suitable for intricate designs and detailing. While it’s a beautiful choice, it’s essential to be aware that yellow gold may require occasional polishing to maintain its lustre.
Is Yellow Gold High-Quality?
Yellow gold is a popular choice for engagement rings and fine jewellery and is considered a high-quality metal. Most engagement rings are made in 14-karat gold, meaning the metal comprises 14 parts gold and 10 parts alloy metals. The karat number reflects the purity of the gold; therefore, a ring of 18 karat will be of a higher purity/ quality than a ring made in 14 karat. In contrast, a ring made in 10 karat is of a lower purity/ quality than one made in 14 karat. Pure gold is 24 karat.
14K Vs. 18K Gold, Which Is Better?
As explained above, the karat rating refers to the purity of the gold used. 18K is of a higher purity than 14K. 18K gold will often have a deeper gold or yellow colour and will be a bit softer. For this reason, when creating a ring in 18 K Yellow Gold, we often recommend ensuring the band is thick enough to remain sturdy over time.
What’s the Difference Between Yellow Gold and White Gold?
Yellow is the natural colour of gold, whereas white gold has been given its colour by mixing various other metals to bring out the shine and whiteness. While it comes down to personal preference, be advised that some kinds of white gold may cause allergic reactions in people with a nickel allergy. One way of determining if you are allergic is based upon whether you have had problems wearing costume or inexpensive earrings and jewellery as these often contain nickel. If you want a ring in white gold and have been prone to skin irritation, we will take special precautions and create your engagement ring using gold with an alloy that doesn’t contain nickel.
What Is White Gold?
White gold is made of a mixture of pure gold and white alloy metals, such as nickel, zinc, and palladium. It’s often plated with rhodium, a precious metal, to enhance its whiteness. White gold engagement rings offer a similar appearance to platinum but at a lower cost. Keep in mind that the rhodium plating may wear off over time and need to be re-plated periodically.
Are There Different Purities for White Gold?
We offer white gold engagement rings in 10K, 14K, and 18K. Each of these reflects different concentrations of pure gold, with 10K being the least expensive and containing the least amount of pure gold and 18K being the most costly due to containing a higher concentration of pure gold. All look similar, however. We tend to recommend 14K or 18K for women’s engagement rings and 10K white gold for men’s wedding bands.
What Is Rhodium?
Rhodium is a silver-white metal often used as plating on white gold and platinum to provide a whiter shine.
How Expensive Is White Gold?
The cost of white gold is very similar to the price of yellow gold and varies depending upon the concentration of pure gold used. For instance, rings made in 18K white gold can be a couple hundred dollars more than rings made in 14K.
What Is Rose Gold?
Rose gold is an alloy of gold and copper, giving it a warm, rosy hue. It has gained popularity in recent years for its romantic and vintage appeal. Rose gold engagement rings are perfect for those seeking a unique and distinctive look. Like white gold, it’s available in various karats, allowing you to balance colour and durability according to your preferences.
Is Rose Gold High-Quality?
Like yellow and white gold, rose gold is considered a high-quality metal for engagement rings and custom jewellery pieces. It also varies in quality/ purity levels (10K, 14K, 18K), as with other colours of gold.
Is Rose Gold Expensive?
Like yellow gold and white gold, rose gold varies in price depending upon the karat (concentration of pure gold used).
Will Rose Gold Scratch or Fade?
Rose gold does not need to be plated with rhodium as with white gold; it won’t tarnish or show chips over time. However, minor scratches can still occur, which can be polished out by your trusted jeweller.
It is also possible that the copper in the Gold (which gives it the rose colour) will become slightly redder over time. This is considered desirable as it provides the ring with a vintage look.
What Is Palladium?
Palladium is a precious metal that’s similar in appearance to platinum but less dense. It shares many of platinum’s desirable qualities, such as durability and hypoallergenic properties. Palladium engagement rings are a potential alternative to platinum for those seeking a white metal option with a lower price tag.
Is Palladium High-Quality?
Palladium is in a similar family as platinum and is very similar in its durability. It is considered a high-quality metal, and the cost has risen substantially. Due to the cost difference, we generally suggest platinum over palladium for engagement rings and fine custom jewellery pieces.
Palladium Vs. Platinum
Both metals are very similar in their appearance and durability. However, palladium is much rarer and more expensive; for this reason, we generally recommend platinum. Because of its rarity, many jewellers may be unable to resize a ring made from palladium.
What Are the Disadvantages of Palladium?
Due to its rarity, palladium is more expensive and less common than most other metals. For this reason, we recommend platinum or white gold if your preference is for a silver-white metal.
What Is Sterling Silver?
Silver is one of the oldest metals when it comes to use in jewellery. While it’s appreciated for its white appearance, it is prone to tarnishing and requires significant upkeep. It’s also quite a soft metal, meaning it will scratch and must be polished frequently.
Is Sterling Silver High-Quality?
Sterling silver is one of the most affordable precious metals today. Due to its tendency to tarnish and scratch, we do not recommend it for any quality jewellery piece.
What Are the Disadvantages of Sterling Silver?
While sterling silver may be a decent choice for costume jewellery, it is not recommended for an engagement ring or jewelry piece you plan to wear frequently for many years. It is prone to scratches and also tends to tarnish quickly and repeatedly.
Selecting the best engagement ring metal significantly affects the ring’s appearance, durability, and cost. Each metal has its unique characteristics and appeals to different tastes and preferences. By considering factors like durability, allergies, budget, style, maintenance, and colour, you can make an informed choice that perfectly reflects your love and commitment. Whether you opt for the timeless elegance of platinum, the classic warmth of yellow gold, or the contemporary allure of rose gold, your engagement ring’s metal is a reflection of your unique love story.
We hope you have enjoyed this article on the best engagement ring metals. Please browse our other articles for other interesting information regarding all things engagement ring and jewellery-related.
Are you ready to create your perfect custom-designed engagement ring in Winnipeg? Contact Omori Diamonds today to begin!