What is the best metal for an engagement ring?

If you’re wondering what is the best metal for your engagement ring, this article will help you decide. We explain the differences between platinum, gold and silver – including their value, quality and appearance. 

 

1. Platinum

What is platinum?

Platinum is a rare, silvery-white metal that feels heavy and luxurious to the touch.

Is platinum high quality?

Yes. It is the toughest and longest-lasting of all precious metals.

Will it scratch?

No. Platinum is not plated or coated with any other metal, so it is scratch- and chip-proof. However, over time, the surface of platinum gets pushed around, and it develops minuscule bumps and ridges. We call these tiny markings “the patina of age”. Patina is considered highly desirable in platinum jewellery because it gives the item a much-loved antique feel.

Is platinum expensive?

Yes, platinum is the most expensive of all precious metals.

What are its disadvantages?

The only disadvantage of platinum is its high cost, compared to other metals like gold.

PLATINUM – QUICK OVERVIEW:

Overall, if you have the budget for it, platinum is the best choice for engagement rings because it gives you a high-value jewellery piece that will last a lifetime and more. As a downside, platinum is expensive.

>>Read more: Platinum VS White Gold

 

2. Yellow gold

 

What is yellow gold?

‘Yellow gold’ is simply gold. Gold is a rare and valuable precious metal that occurs naturally and has a rich, yellow colour.

Is yellow gold high quality?

Yes. Gold is beautiful, rare and valuable. Items made from gold don’t need to be coated with other metals. This means that your engagement ring will not fade over time.

9K gold VS 18K gold

Gold comes in many purities, but the two you’ll most often find in British engagement rings are 9K and 18K.

While 18K gold contains 75% pure gold, 9K gold contains 37.5% pure gold. The rest is a combination of alloy metals, such as zinc, platinum or palladium.

Why is gold mixed with alloys?

Pure gold on its own is extremely soft and it can bend out of shape easily. Therefore, jewellers mix pure gold with harder metals, like platinum, so that your engagement ring keeps its shape.

Which is better, 18K or 9K gold?

If you can afford it, 18K gold is the best choice because it’s higher in value, feels heavy and luxurious to the touch and offers a richer, more saturated yellow colour.

However, if you’re on a tight budget, 9K gold is also a fine choice. While it’s slightly paler, it still has a beautiful glow and is more affordable.

What are the disadvantages of yellow gold?

The main disadvantage of yellow gold is that some people feel it’s too traditional and therefore looks old fashioned. It is also softer than platinum, so you need to be a little more careful not to catch or knock gold jewellery.

YELLOW GOLD – QUICK OVERVIEW:

Yellow gold is a luxurious precious metal with rich yellow colour that won’t fade. Because it comes in different purities, you’ll find gold engagement rings suited to all budgets. As a downside, some people feel that yellow gold looks old fashioned.

>>Read more: 9K gold VS 18K gold

3. White gold

What is white gold?

White gold is actually yellow gold mixed with silvery-white alloys like palladium or silver that make it look whiter. Additionally, it is coated with a precious metal called rhodium.

Does it come in different purities, just like yellow gold?

Yes. 18K white gold contains 75% pure gold, and 9K white gold contains 37.5% pure gold.

What is rhodium coating?

White alloy metals alone are not enough to make yellow gold look totally white. Therefore, white gold pieces are given an additional coating of rhodium.

Rhodium is a hard, rare, hypoallergenic precious metal. It makes the surface of white gold really white and lustrous and guards against scratches.

Is white gold high quality?

Yes, white gold is a high-quality precious metal suited to engagement rings.

What are the disadvantages of white gold?

Although the rhodium coating is very strong, it will wear away over time. Therefore, all white gold jewellery eventually needs to be re-coated with rhodium. On a positive note, rhodium re-coating is simple and inexpensive, and you can get it done at any jewellery store anytime.

Which is better, 18K or 9K white gold?

18K white gold contains more pure gold than 9K white gold, so it feels heavier and more luxurious to the touch. However, visually, both look exactly the same.

Is white gold expensive?

White gold is considered an affordable white metal alternative to platinum.

Compared to yellow gold, though, white gold is a little more expensive because of all the processing involved.

If you’re on a tight budget, choose 9K white gold as it can be up to 15% cheaper than 18K white gold.

WHITE GOLD – QUICK OVERVIEW:

White gold is a beautiful, silvery-coloured metal suited to engagement rings. It offers an affordable alternative to platinum, and because you have a choice of 18K or 9K purity, there are white gold engagement rings for all budgets. On the downside, white gold requires some maintenance over the years.

>>Read more: White Gold VS Yellow Gold

 

4. Rose Gold

What is rose gold?

Rose gold is a beautiful precious metal with a rosy-golden sheen. It has a vintage look which many people consider fashionable and romantic.

Is rose gold high quality?

Yes, rose gold is a high-quality precious metal suited to engagement rings.

What is rose gold made from?

Rose gold is made from yellow gold mixed with copper and silver. Just like yellow and white gold, it comes in 9K and 18K purities, with 18K rose gold containing 75% pure gold, and 9K rose gold containing 37.5% pure gold. The rest is a mix of alloy metals, including silver and copper. Copper gives rose gold its pink colour, while silver tones down any excessive red hues.

Which is better, 18K or 9K rose gold?

9K rose gold can seem a little paler to look at than 18K rose gold. Also, when you pick up a rose gold item, you’ll notice that 18K rose gold feels heavier and more luxurious to the touch than 9K rose gold. This is because it contains more pure gold.

Will it scratch or fade?

Since rose gold is solid and not plated or coated with any other metal, it does not chip.

However, over time, the copper contained in rose gold will gradually become a little redder. This is considered desirable because it adds a vintage heirloom feel to your engagement ring.

Is rose gold expensive?

Rose gold is approximately the same price as yellow gold. In fact, it can sometimes be even a little more affordable because a lot of copper alloy is used and it is not an expensive metal.

Just like is the case with yellow and white gold, 18K rose gold is more expensive than 9K rose gold because it contains more pure gold.

What are its disadvantages?

The downside of rose gold is that it is not suited to people with copper allergy.

ROSE GOLD – QUICK OVERVIEW:

Rose gold is a beautiful precious metal with a vintage style, fashionable rosy-golden glow. It is perfectly suited to engagement rings. 18K rose gold is more valuable, luxurious and intensely coloured than 9K rose gold, while 9K rose gold is more affordable. As a downside, rose gold is not suited to those who suffer from copper allergy.

>>Read more: Everything You Need to Know About Rose Gold

5. Silver

Silver is a natural, white precious metal.

However, while it is very affordable, silver is not suited to engagement rings because it is a very soft metal that bends out of shape easily.

Silver is more suited to fashion jewellery that you wear occasionally. It simply cannot withstand a lifetime of wear and tear if worn daily on the hand.

>>Read more: What Is Sterling Silver?

 

Final verdict:

What is the best metal for an engagement ring?

#1 – If you have the budget for it, platinum is the best precious metal for engagement rings because of its durability, value and luxurious beauty.

#2 – However, yellow gold is also an excellent option with a wide range of prices available, as long as your fiancée loves the classic yellow colour.

#3 – White gold and rose gold are also great choices with a versatile price range. However, both have downsides as white gold requires coating maintenance, and rose gold is not suited to those with copper allergies.

#4 – Finally, silver is the worst choice, because it is not tough or lasting enough for daily wear.

 

We hope this article was helpful!

If you want to learn more about precious metals, visit our Precious Metal Learning Page for additional articles.

Read next: 10 Things You Should Know About Hallmarking Before You Buy Jewellery


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