When it comes to buying an engagement ring, there's more to consider than just the main diamond or stone. It's just as important to choose a quality and durable metal for your engagement ring to ensure that it will last a lifetime. There's a good chance that your soon-to-be fiancée will wear her engagement ring often. Having a durable piece of metal is essential to making sure the band doesn't scratch or bend.
The four most common metals for engagement rings are gold, silver, platinum and palladium. Alone, these metals aren't strong enough to withstand bends and scratches, and they're mixed with alloy metals to enhance their strength. There is no right or wrong metal when it comes to choosing the metal for an engagement ring. It all comes down to preference for both you and your significant other. Here's some information about the most common metals for engagement rings:
Gold is by far the most popular metal for engagement rings and wedding bands because of its style and durability. Alone, gold is too soft to be used in jewelry, so it's often mixed with different alloy metals such as copper and zinc. The highest amount of pure gold is found in 24 carat gold, which is 99.9 percent pure gold. It's more practical and cost-efficient to choose 14 or 18 carat gold for engagement rings because they're more likely to withstand every day wear. Eighteen carat gold is 75 percent pure gold while 14 carat gold is 58 percent pure gold.
Gold traditionally comes in three different colors: yellow, white and rose. Yellow gold is still one of the most popular colors for gold engagement rings. The color of yellow gold typically improves with age and never needs to be re-plated. Yellow gold is best for people with warm skin tones. White gold is growing in popularity and is similar in color to silver. White gold doesn't easily tarnish, but it's often brittle and can sometimes needs re-plating. Rose gold, also known as pink gold, is made by mixing copper and gold to give the ring a rose hue. Like yellow gold, rose gold is best for people with warm skin tones.
Silver is another popular choice for engagement rings. Like gold, it's mixed with alloy metals when used in jewelry. The purest form of silver is fine silver, which is 99.9 percent pure silver. However, most people prefer to go with sterling silver bands, which are 92.5 percent pure silver. Unlike gold, silver only comes in one hue. Silver goes well with every skin tone, outshines gold and matches well with both casual and formal attire. Additionally, silver is usually much more affordable than gold or platinum.
Like silver and white gold, platinum is a lustrous white hued metal. Platinum is usually heavier than other metals, but it's still mixed with alloy metals to ensure its strength and durability. Platinum's high density makes it more secure for setting diamonds and other stones. Platinum is less likely to fade or tarnish, and it's naturally hypoallergenic. Platinum is one of the most rare metals, which also makes it one of the most expensive. Despite its cost, platinum is becoming a popular metal for engagement and wedding rings.
Palladium isn't as popular as the other three metals, but it's become increasingly popular over the past several years. Palladium is just as white as platinum, but it's typically less expensive. Like platinum, it's also tarnish-resistant and naturally hypoallergenic, making it great for people who are sensitive to other metals. Palladium is also lighter than other metals, and it's nice for people who don't wear jewelry often and find large, heavy rings to be uncomfortable. Resizing and repairs are more difficult with palladium because it's more reactive to heat and chemicals, and there's a possibility it could tarnish during the process.
Knowing which metal is right for your significant other can be tricky. If you're unsure of what metal she likes, taking a look at the other jewelry she wears or asking her what metal she prefers can be helpful. If you're still unsure, a professional jeweler can help you find the perfect metal and diamond for your significant other.