What You Should Know About Metals
There are a variety of metal choices available for jewellery. Whether you like the allure of platinum or the range of options with the classic gold, you will find a number of stylish pieces, sometimes even combining the two metals. Today, alternative metals like sterling silver, titanium, and stainless steel give you additional options to look, strength, price, etc.
Each choice has its own qualities, so base your choice on the ones that you value most.
Platinum was a popular metal for jewelry until the 20th century when the metal was taken off the market for military use during wartime. That gives you a sense of how durable platinum is — it’s shiny and beautiful, but it’s also a workhorse. In the past couple of decades, platinum has reappeared as a top choice for engagement rings and other jewelry.
Platinum is generally 95% pure and does not tarnish or lose its rich white luster. Platinum is the heaviest of all the precious metals weighing approximately twice as much as karat gold. Its purity makes it hypoallergenic, perfect for people who are sensitive to the alloys used in gold. Platinum is also known for its strength and pliability, just one gram of platinum can be drawn into a fine wire over one mile long.
Platinum has a soft white hue. It’s 30 times rarer than gold (which means it’s more expensive) and 40% heavier than 14K gold — and it doesn’t tarnish or oxidize.
Caring for Platinum
Over time, platinum will wear and scratch with use. Your jeweller can polish your platinum wedding band or platinum engagement ring to remove any scratches.
Gold has always been a standard for engagement and wedding jewelry, thanks to its naturally warm, yellow hue and beautiful luster. Gold engagement rings are romantic and timeless.
Pure 24 karat gold is rarely used in jewellery because it is too soft for frequent wear. Gold is mixed with alloys like copper, silver, nickel, and zinc to give different colours, strength, and durability. Gold’s purity is measured in karats, which indicate out of 24 parts how many parts are gold. For example, 18kt gold contains 75% gold, while 14kt gold contains 58.5% gold.
Caring for Gold
Buff your gold engagement ring with a soft cloth to keep it shiny and smooth.
Silver has been valued for centuries and once was considered more valuable than gold. Today, it’s the most affordable of the precious metals. Sterling silver is actually pure silver mixed with copper or other metal to make it more durable. Although it is harder than pure silver, it’s still one of the softer metals and can get scratched and marked easily.
Sterling silver is usually 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. Silver is much more plentiful than platinum or gold and is much less expensive. It takes on a much higher polish than any other metal, but it does tarnish. The tarnish can be removed, but silver requires much more care than other metals.
Caring for Sterling Silver
Silver tarnishes, so store your sterling silver engagement ring in tarnish-preventive bags in a cool, dry place. Don’t use tissue paper or paper towels to dry, because they can scratch sterling silver.
Beyond the three metals we all know so well, there is a world of lightweight, modern-looking and durable metals that have become popular for wedding bands — especially for men who aren’t used to wearing jewellery. These alternative metals aren’t typically seen in women’s engagement rings, but can offer contemporary looks for wedding bands that will complement a gold or platinum engagement ring.
This naturally white alloy was created for use in the medical and aerospace industries but now is marketed also as a contemporary metal for fine bridal jewelry. The hypoallergenic metal is about four times harder than platinum, making cobalt rings durable for a lifetime. Cobalt has a similar look to platinum, with great strength and lightweight. Because of its temperature stability, cobalt alloys are often used in engine turbines and surgical implants.
Cobalt is a chemical element with symbol Co and atomic number 27. The metal has a very high durability as it cannot break, crack, or shatter due to the hardness of the metal.
Cobalt looks like white gold and is four times stronger than platinum while being less dense, it does not darken with time, remaining a lustrous white gold-like colour.
Cobalt rings are not sizable due to their hardness but a new ring can always be made in the size requested. Cobalt is hypo-allergenic so not to worry if you are allergic to any specific metals.
Caring for Cobalt
Cobalt rings are fairly scratch-resistant. It is also a metal that allows for easy resizing, unlike some of the other contemporary metals on the market today.
This metal isn’t just for flatware anymore. It’s becoming popular because of its strength, durability and affordability. Stainless steel is a low cost alternative to traditional metals. It is naturally hypoallergenic and will not rust or tarnish. Stainless Steel will not break or bend under normal usage and is stronger than any other alloy.
Caring for Stainless Steel
You can clean stainless steel jewelry easily with dish soap, water and a soft cloth.
Originally used in industrial applications, titanium has become popular for wedding jewelry — especially for men’s wedding bands — because it’s so lightweight. For people not used to wearing jewelry, it can be a refreshing difference to put on a titanium ring compared to a platinum or gold one. It also creates a modern, unique style that some people want for their ring.
Caring for Titanium
Titanium is one of the strongest, most scratch-resistant metals available for wedding rings. Titanium wedding rings cannot be sized.
Tungsten filament light bulbs revolutionized the lighting industry in 1904 when they replaced less-efficient carbon filament lamps. Tungsten is found mainly in China with smaller production in Russia, Canada, Bolivia, Austria, Portugal, Thailand, Brazil, Peru and Rwanda.
This silvery metal is four times harder than titanium. Tungsten rings create a brilliant, hard-looking shine
Caring for Tungsten
Little maintenance is required for tungsten wedding bands because of the metal’s hardness. Tungsten rings cannot be sized.