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Precious Metals Guide

From gold to platinum, learn all about the metals that go into engagement rings and wedding bands.

When looking at engagement rings, we are sure you have a lot of questions.

What’s the best metal for an engagement ring? Should I choose white gold vs. yellow gold or platinum vs. white gold? What’s the best jewelry for sensitive skin?

You deserve to have your questions answered so that you have the ring of your dreams. Let us help with our Precious Metals Guide.

Yellow, White, Rose Gold: What’s the Difference?

As one of the most desired metals for engagement rings and wedding bands, gold has options to fit your style. Metals like nickel, copper, silver, and zinc are added to gold to alter the color and strength. The most common metal alloys made from gold are yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold. Let’s dive into what traits set each metal alloy apart.

Did You Know?

Gold purity is measured using the karat system on the ratio of pure gold (24K) to other metals. The most common quality levels of gold used in jewelry are 18K (75% pure gold), 14K (58.3% pure gold), and 10K (41.7% pure gold). Purity and price are directly related with the higher priced pieces having a higher karatage of gold.

Gold Options

Yellow

Always a classic option, yellow gold is often the color that comes to mind when thinking of this popular metal. The biggest difference you experience across metal qualities (14K vs. 18K) is color. The higher the quality of yellow gold, the deeper the color of yellow. If you enjoy a deep, rich yellow, then choose 18K yellow gold. If you prefer a more subtle yellow, then choose 14K yellow gold.

White

White gold is appreciated for being a modern and bright metal option. One of the major benefits of choosing white gold is it’s hardness, making it our recommendation over platinum. White gold is stronger than yellow and platinum in that prongs are less likely to move, bend or snag. The downside of white gold is the added maintenance of rhodium plating.

Rose

A bold color choice, rose gold is on-trend and quickly becoming a favorite for the modern bride. Rose gold gets its red hue from the copper content in the metal alloy. 14K rose gold will have higher copper content and will show deeper shades of red. 18K rose gold’s color is the most subtle. Higher copper content will result in metal alloys that are not as hard. The higher the gold purity in rose gold, the greater the hardness.

White Metals Comparison: White Gold vs Platinum

You have a couple of options when it comes to white metals, and it’s important to consider the pros and cons of each metal when deciding. As we break down each of our white metals, think about color, maintenance, hardness, and cost.

White Gold

Gold is naturally yellow in color, so other metals — such as nickel — are combined with the gold as well as a plating of rhodium to give white gold its shining yet warm white tone. The rhodium used on white gold also gives it a harder surface, making it more resilient in daily wear. Rhodium plating does wear over time, revealing the yellow hue underneath, but it can be re-plated easily every couple of years. Gold does wear away over time but it does not move easily, making it our top choice for prongs/holding stones in place.

Nickel Free White Gold

Some have an allergy to nickel. While it is usually most prevalent for earrings and very uncommon for rings, we can make any of build your own or custom designs in nickel free white gold. The nickel free still has the same strength properties and still needs to be rhodium plated periodically.

Platinum

Platinum is 30 times more rare than gold, making it the more expensive option. Because of its higher density it does not wear away, it simply moves. This makes a great choice for a plain wedding band, but it is not as secure for prongs holding stones. Platinum is naturally white and will not lose its color over time. It is the purest metal alloy used so it is hypoallergenic, which has made it increasingly popular over the years.