When designing an engagement ring or wedding band, you may have a clear picture of the stone shape, size and even the details on the setting. But don’t forget to think about the metal type! The look, durability and even metal allergies play important roles in choosing the right metal for your lifestyle.
24 karat gold is pure gold, which is far too soft to be used in jewelry. Other metals like nickel, silver and copper are mixed in for strength and durability.
14k gold is 14 parts gold and 10 parts other metals. It’s the most common metal type for engagement rings and fine jewelry. Rose gold is created by adding more copper, and because of the ratio of gold to copper, 14k rose gold is pinker than 18k rose gold. 14k white gold is made by adding nickel and dipped in rhodium to give it the trademark silvery finish. In any color, 14k gold is a durable and beautiful choice.
18k gold is 18 parts gold and 6 parts other metal. 18k yellow gold is quite rich and bright yellow, while 18k rose gold has a lower concentration of copper and is a lighter shade of rose. 18k white gold looks quite similar to 14k, because it is also dipped in rhodium as a finish. Remember, 18k gold is quite soft, so it is more easily scratched, bent or dented. It can still be a good choice for a ring or fine jewelry, as long as you care for it properly and treat it gently.
Some people may have minor allergic reactions to the nickel or copper in gold, which can make you feel itchy or even turn your skin greenish. We highly recommend wearing a piece of jewelry in your intended metal type before designing your ring to make sure you don’t have a reaction. If you do find you have a metal allergy, hypoallergenic Platinum and Palladium are great alternative choices.
Platinum is a popular choice for engagement rings, because it is quite heavy and strong. However, it is pretty easy to scratch. It has a natural silvery finish that dulls to a patina over time, which is desirable for many people; however, if you prefer, you can have it polished back to its original bright shine.
Palladium is a less common choice for rings, because it can be quite challenging to work with. It is strong and lightweight, with a natural bright, silvery finish. Not all ring designs are suitable to be made with Palladium. Typically it is used for simple designs.
Which metal type would you choose?