What metal best fits your fiancée?
Choosing the right metal and style for your fiancée’s ring (or soon to be fiancée) can be an overwhelming process. After all, this is a piece of jewelry that is meant to last for as long as you both shall live. What metal best fits your fiancée? Traditional or Modern? Durable or Fashionable? We’re here to help! Learn about the different choices you have and if you still have questions, just ask a member of our helpful staff.
Gold’s use in jewelry dates back over 10,000 years and still dominates the world of precious metals. Because pure gold is a soft metal it is generally mixed (alloyed) with other metals (alloys) to produce a “Karat gold” which will be stronger and colored to specifications. Different cultures prefer different mixtures and colors but in the USA 14kt and 18kt are the most popular in yellow and white gold mixtures. 14kt is 58.5% pure gold and 18kt is 75% pure gold with the balance being appropriate alloys such as silver, nickel, palladium and copper. This would be 14 parts gold to 10 parts alloy and 18 parts gold and 6 parts alloy respectively, always adding up to 24 (pure gold). Yellow gold mixtures make beautiful warm looking pieces of fashion jewelry that accent many ladies skin tones and wardrobes as well as many gemstones. Being a softer mix of gold, yellow gold is excellent for setting gemstones but the resulting jewelry is more susceptible to wearing down over the years so more care must be taken. Yellow gold jewelry should be stamped with its gold content such as “14K” and “18K”.
While white gold is a relatively hard white metal that is good for securing diamonds and gemstones, the Rhodium shell will wear off eventually with use – exposing the light yellow color below. If your white gold jewelry is purchased at CMI Jewelry Showroom we will gladly polish and re-Rhodium the items when necessary as a courtesy, usually while you wait. White gold jewelry should be stamped with the karat content, such as “14K” or “18K”. White gold mountings can cost less than half of comparable platinum pieces with good hardness which resists bending.
Platinum is a pure white metal and therefore does not require any surface plating. It is the densest but softest of the white jewelry metals, making diamond and gemstone setting easy and low risk with the resulting jewelry very resistant to wearing down but not as resistant to bending as white gold. Platinum’s relative softness enables the metal to develop a microscopic patina that contrasts beautifully with a diamond’s brilliance. Platinum jewelry should be stamped “Platinum” or “Plat”, sometimes in its concentration such as “PT 900” or “PT950”. Platinum is the most expensive of the white jewelry metals because of its rarity, use in pure form and heavy weight.
Palladium is a true white metal not requiring surface plating and it is slightly harder than platinum making palladium jewelry more scratch resistant. Not all forms of jewelry are available yet in this precious metal. Rings are generally offered, but chain, earring and pendant manufacturers have not converted their production capabilities yet. Palladium jewelry should be stamped “Palladium” or “PD”, sometimes in its concentration “PD 950”. Palladium costs about half of what pure gold does, but gold is usually diluted to 14kt so the cost evens out.
Pure silver, also called fine silver, is relatively soft, very malleable and easily damaged so it is commonly mixed with other metals to produce a more durable product. The most popular of these alloys is sterling silver, which consists of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. This gives the metal hardness similar to white gold making it a good choice for fashion jewelry at a significantly lower price. Sterling silver jewelry should be stamped “Sterling”, “SS” or “925” reflecting its concentration.
Titanium has a grayish color that can be highly polished or finished with different textures. This metal makes strong but lightweight rings good for use as men’s wedding bands but it does not lend itself to stone setting so ladies rings are seldom available in titanium. Titanium rings cannot be sized but the manufacturer will exchange sizes for a fee. Titanium will usually be stamped “titanium”.
Tungsten carbide can only be scratched or damaged by extreme measures like abrasion from diamonds or a sharp blow hard enough to crack the relatively brittle but hard metal. Like titanium this metal does not lend itself to setting gemstones so ladies rings are seldom made. Tungsten carbide can be finished with many textures and patterns making it a very versatile metal for men’s wedding bands that have everlasting durability, polish and shine. These rings cannot be sized but the manufacturers will exchange sizes for a fee. Tungsten carbide rings will usually be stamped “tungsten carbide”.