The metal matters.
The options for what precious metal you chose for your jewelry are extensive in both precious and non-precious metals. Not only does it come down to the look you are going for, it should come down to what might make the most sense for you personally. For example, if your skin is very sensitive, platinum might be the perfect choice for you since it’s hypo-allergenic. Each metal has its own unique properties and characteristics. Your lifestyle, your budget, and any possible sensitivity issues are important considerations. Here are a few things to consider when choosing your precious metal.
Popular metal trends for fine jewelry come and go, but gold’s versatility always keeps it near or at the top of the list. Gold is the most popular metal in the U.S. and has the longest and most storied history of all the precious metals There are various grades of gold purity from 10K, 14K, 18K and 24K (considered pure gold). 18K gold is actually 75% gold and 25% other metals. As the karat weight drops, the metal becomes more durable, but less yellow. Lower karat weights are usually plated to some degree to enhance the color. In order to increase the durability, typically they are mixed with other metals. Yellow gold is natural and resistant to rust, tarnish and corrosion.
White gold was developed to give a different look. It is made with similar properties to yellow gold but is mixed with different metals to give it a white color – typically with rhodium (a rare member of the platinum family). Rhodium plated rings will wear and eventually need re-plating.
Rose gold is made with similar properties but is mixed with copper to give it that rose color. Rose gold engagement ring styles or the use of rose gold with white gold is a very popular look today!
Gold is timeless, elegant, and the most popular metal for everyday wear.
Platinum is one of the most popular metals for engagement rings, wedding bands and fine jewelry. It’s naturally white and will never fade or change color. It is also durable and hypo-allergenic. People love to purchase platinum because it will last forever!
Palladium is one of the rarest metals in the world and part of the platinum group of metals. Also hypo-allergenic, palladium is extremely light in weight and is considered a “noble metal” due to its superior ability to withstand corrosion and oxidation. It’s a little more difficult to work with for many designers so you won’t see it regularly in most stores.
Not usually used for engagement ring settings, sterling silver is primarily used for fashion jewelry and accessories. It is a very soft metal and tends to tarnish, which are two big reasons we don’t typically recommend it for holding a precious diamond or color gemstone for your engagement ring. However, it is a very affordable alternative to white gold or platinum.
Alternative metals are often a choice for men’s wedding bands or widely used as a back-up band to the traditional gold or platinum. We’re also seeing some alternative metals such as stainless steel in fashion jewelry. Most alternative metals are less expensive than their precious counterparts. Thinking about this alternative (excuse the pun)? Here’s what you should know.
Tungsten carbide is unique and strong in design and a forged metal that will last a lifetime. It is created from an alloy of 80% tungsten and 20% carbon alloy with other metals.
Cobalt is four times harder than platinum, while at the same time, far less dense. Because of its natural hardness, it resists scratches, chips and corrosion. Cobalt is also hypo-allergenic, so it’s a great choice for men with sensitive skin and an active lifestyle. Many men choose platinum and have a second cobalt band for their wardrobe.
Titanium is extremely lightweight, yet strong, and has a silvery white metal color. It is 45% lighter in weight than platinum. It is also hypo-allergenic and commonly used in men’s fashion jewelry.
Stainless steel is a metal that is easy to clean, highly durable and resistant to scratches and corrosion. It has a beautiful silvery-white color and retains that shine and color very well. It is most commonly used in men’s jewelry and watches.
Tantalum is a rare, blue-gray metal known for its exceptional durability and resistance to corrosion, making it an ideal choice for jewelry. Tantalum rings, necklaces, and bracelets have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their unique color, lightweight feel, and hypoallergenic properties.