All About Metals
Whether it’s for an engagement ring, an anniversary gift, or an extraordinary pair of sapphire earrings, choosing the metal for your special piece is an important decision. Here’s a brief overview of some of the most popular jewelry metals and their unique features.
Eternally white, naturally enduring and 30 times more rare than gold, platinum is ideal for anyone looking for a truly unique and timeless metal.
Platinum engagement or fashion rings offer the durability and strength to protect your center diamond or precious color gemstone throughout the years. While platinum is similar to white gold in appearance, it is naturally white and will retain its shine for generations, allowing your jewelry to become precious family heirlooms.
Its non-reactive, hypoallergenic qualities make it an excellent choice of metal for those with skin sensitivity. Over time, platinum develops a stunning finish, or patina, that further protects any setting.
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. Gold is the most popular metal in the US and has the longest and most storied history of all the precious metals. In order to increase the durability, typically it is mixed with other metals. A reason why people chose Yellow Gold is its natural color and its resistance to rust, tarnish and corrosion. Gold is timeless, elegant and the most popular metal for everyday wear.
Some people prefer the color of silver to the yellow color of traditional gold, yet may find sterling silver to be too soft or easily tarnished. While white gold contains varying amounts of gold, which is naturally yellow, it also contains one or more white metals to lighten its color and add strength and durability. Its white color is actually from the rhodium metal plating that is applied to all white gold jewelry.
18k rose gold is most often 75% gold and 25% copper alloy, resulting in a gorgeously warm and rich metal. The rosy warmth is romantic and earthy; as such, it pairs with diamonds beautifully. It is also suitable for most skin tones due to its soft appearance.
Palladium, being a member of the platinum family, is a naturally white and very lightweight metal that is new to fine jewelry. It’s a hypoallergenic metal that doesn’t tarnish or require re-plating like white gold. Because it is so lightweight, it is quite comfortable and feels like almost nothing against the skin.
Silver can be seen as contemporary or traditional, depending on the design. It complements most skin tones, making it a safe and popular purchase. Because pure silver is very soft and malleable, jewelers use sterling silver, which is 92.5% pure silver, mixed with other metals, such as copper, to form an alloy. Since silver can tarnish, gently cleaning it with a polish and cloth will keep it looking immaculate.
Titanium is a very lightweight, extremely durable option for jewelry and in some fine timepieces. It is very resistant to bending or cracking, and has good scratch resistance. Because it is so lightweight, it is a popular choice with men who seldom wear jewelry but appreciate the comfort of titanium.
Tungsten is a grey-silver colored metal-ceramic that can sometimes be found treated with black coatings for a shiny black look. Tungsten, being a metal-ceramic, has very high hardness and brittleness. However, it does not allow stone settings other than a few added-on gold or silver settings. Tungsten and platinum are the heaviest jewelry metals.