Your guide to all things gold and platinum.
You don’t have to overthink what precious metal your engagement ring is going to be. It really comes down to what color she likes best: yellow, white, or pink. But if you’re interested in learning a little bit more about those precious metals, you’ve come to the right place.
There are primarily two different types of precious metals for engagement rings: gold and platinum. Alternative metals are also an option, like tungsten and cobalt chrome, but they are not strong enough to protect a diamond.
Gold can come in different colors such as classic yellow, white, rose, and even green. Platinum only comes in one color: light gray.
Yellow gold is made of pure gold mixed with alloy metals, like copper and zinc. Yellow gold is the easiest precious metal to maintain, but is more prone to showing dents and scratches from normal wear.
White gold is made of pure gold mixed with white alloy metals, like zinc, silver, and palladium. Contrary to its name, white gold isn’t entirely white. In its natural state, white gold appears faint yellow in color. Most white gold jewelry is coated in an inert metal called rhodium and that “plating” gives it the pure white color we’re all used to. Over time, the rhodium plating can wear off and the ring will need to be re-dipped. Most jewelers recommend re-dipping white gold rings once or twice a year depending on how quickly the oils in your skin wear it away.
Rose gold is made of pure gold mixed with alloy metals, like copper and silver. The pink tone of the jewelry needs no special upkeep and will not tarnish or wear away. Just like yellow gold, rose gold needs to be polished regularly to maintain its shine.
Gold also comes in different karats. You’ve probably heard people talk about 14K gold or 18K gold like it’s nothing, but if you’re not familiar with the commercial composition of gold, it probably doesn’t make much sense!
Pure gold is very soft and combining it with alloy metals gives the gold more strength and durability. The percentage of gold versus alloy metals designates the karat.
10K gold is 41.7% pure and is the lowest purity that can be marketed and sold within the United States.
14K gold is 58.3% pure and is the most common purity you’ll see in jewelry.
18K gold is 75% pure and is also a common purity, but is more expensive than 14K.
22K and 24K are 91.7% and 99.9% pure, respectively. These purities are much more expensive than their lower purity counterparts due to their high gold content.
Keep in mind: the higher the karat amount, the softer the gold is going to be. This is why the hallmark standard for most jewelry items is 14K or 18K!
That’s gold – let’s talk about platinum.
Platinum is a naturally white precious metal and is used in a nearly pure form for jewelry. Platinum can look identical to white gold but requires no special maintenance other than regular polishing. Some platinum rings have a rhodium plating, just like white gold, for aesthetic purposes. It needs to be reapplied every once in a while, but is less noticeable when it begins to wear off.
The number one thing to keep in mind when it comes to choosing a metal: don’t overthink it! We can go over all the ways these different metals are made and what they consist of and how they wear, but when it comes down to it, they’re all the same. Gold and platinum will keep your diamonds safe and secure, or they wouldn’t be used! When making this decision, just remember to pick the color that she would like best – white, yellow, or pink!