The precious metals used to make your engagement and wedding rings are natural metals. When choosing a jewelry item your choice of metal is a personal one. Color, price, durability, and maintenance are just some of the factors to be considered when choosing a precious metal type for your jewelry piece.
After being discovered in South American river sands by pre-Columbian natives, European royalty made platinum popular by using it to make ring settings for their diamonds during the Art Deco period. Today 80% of platinum is from South Africa. Because of its scarcity, only a few tons are mined annually.
Platinum is a natural silvery white colored precious metal, containing at least 95% platinum; thus it is often referred to as platinum 950. If it contains less than 95% platinum, it is called platinum alloy. It is a very strong metal, even stronger than gold. It is also the heaviest or densest of the precious metals. Its density and strength assures the securest setting for your gemstone or diamond. Since this metal is 30 times rarer than gold, thus more expensive, it is considered a symbol of prestige.
Platinum looks similar to white gold but is more expensive and heavier. As platinum wears over time, it develops a soft luster. This luster is highly appreciated by its owners. With wear it may scratch, requiring it to be polished every couple of years. Cleaning your precious metal jewelry professionally is recommended approximately every six months, depending on your wearing habits. Platinum’s metal luster can be maintained at home by soaking it in a mild soap and warm water solution followed by a gentle cleaning with a soft brush. It can then be buffed with a soft cloth.
Platinum is hypoallergenic and nicely compliments skin tones that are rosy and fair. It also compliments a diamond’s brilliance and sparkle with its naturally white sheen that never changes color or fades. Platinum will last forever. This makes it the perfect symbol for everlasting love.
Gold has a very rich and long history as jewelry. It is a very strong metal, but it is also the most malleable of the precious metals. It is resistant to corrosion, tarnish and rust.
A karat is used to designate the amount of pure gold in a jewelry piece. 14 karat gold jewelry is made up of 58.3% pure gold while 18 karat gold jewelry contains 75.0% gold. 22 karat and 24 karat jewelry is too soft for fine jewelry, and anything below 14 karat is not acceptable.
14 karat gold is the most popular karat of gold jewelry. It is stronger and more scratch resistant than its softer 18 karat gold counterpart. It is preferred for jewelry items worn daily, such as rings and bracelets.
Gold jewelry pricing is dependent on three items:
- the market value of gold at the time of purchase
- the purity of the gold (karat weight)
- the design and craftsmanship of a jewelry item
Yellow gold, white gold and pink gold are discussed below.
Yellow gold creates a warm, rich glow next to diamonds. Its soft natural beauty is elegant and appealing as a jewelry item. The rich shine and warmth associated with yellow gold is made up of natural gold and color-saturated alloys; copper (red hue) and silver (green hue). These alloys also give your fine jewelry strength.
Historically, yellow gold has been used the longest. Yellow gold is symbolic of “the best”, such as a gold medal for first place. It is also the most hypoallergenic of all the gold colors and requires the least amount of maintenance.
As your yellow gold jewelry item may tarnish or scratch overtime, polishing and cleaning your gold jewelry piece professionally is recommended bi-annually. In-home care consists of soaking your jewelry in a mild non-detergent soap and warm water solution followed by a gentle cleaning with a soft brush. This can be followed with a soft cloth buffing. We recommend removing your jewelry when using harsh chemicals such as bleach, ammonia or abrasive cleaners. When your gold jewelry is not worn, store it in its original box or a soft cloth bag to protect it from exposure to the daily elements.
White gold used in fine jewelry is a mix of pure yellow gold and various alloys; nickel, silver, platinum, palladium or manganese. This combination of white metals gives the gold its distinctive cool white hue.
White gold is alloyed (mixed) with stronger alloys (metals) than yellow gold making it a more scratch resistant and durable metal choice for jewelry. Although very similar in color to platinum, white gold jewelry is more affordable. Because white gold jewelry is coated in a thin layer of rhodium, it needs to be recoated every few years to retain its original luster and color. As white gold contains nickel, it can cause allergic reactions to some.
Bi-annual cleaning of your white gold jewelry item is recommended. In-home care consists of a brief soaking in a non-detergent soap followed by a soft brush cleaning. Use a soft cloth for buffing afterwards.
White gold engagement and wedding rings are a sophisticated, modern choice for many brides.
Also known as rose gold and red gold, it was popular in Russia during the early 19th century, and known as Russian gold. It is known for its beautifully distinctive rose hue. Pink gold jewelry is becoming more popular and stylish in the 21stcentury, and is commonly used for bracelets and rings, among other jewelry items.
Pink gold is made with pure gold and the alloys copper (20%) and silver (5%). Due to the copper alloy this precious metal is very strong, stronger than yellow or white gold, making pink gold a more durable choice for a jewelry piece that is worn often.
Because of the copper in this metal, pink gold jewelry is not considered hypoallergenic. Pink gold compliments all skin tones, and many wearers of pink gold consider it to be the most romantic metal choice due to its pinkish-red color.
Choosing a precious metal for a jewelry piece is personal. Color, price, durability and maintenance need to be considered, along with your personal preference. It should be exactly what you have wanted, and so, will give you many moments of enjoyment wearing it.