If you want to know more about jewellery metals, our guide will give you all the information you need to choose the right kind.
At Joshua James, we recommend that it is generally best to keep to just one type of precious metal per hand (in terms of rings). Whilst golds can generally be worn together, it isn’t advisable to team golds of any other metal as the denser the metals can wear away your precious gold jewellery.
Platinum is an expression of true love. Rare, exclusive and eternal, it holds a slightly more of grey, therefore it can make a diamond seem to sparkle more. Platinum holds a high density and heavier weight which gives it a luxurious feel, however, it isn’t recommended for a heavier stone. The density of Platinum means it loses no metal to everyday wear, any scratch merely displaces the metal, no metal is lost and can be rectified with a simple polish. Platinum does not need re-plating every few years like that of white gold. Platinum jewellery is 95% pure, a naturally occurring white metal which carries a fineness hallmark of ‘950’.
Palladium is a fairly new and rare metal with a similar resilience to platinum, but much less susceptible to tarnish and wear. Being from the same family of Platinum, Palladium offers many of the same benefits with a lesser density, meaning it can hold heavier stones alongside the ability to be crafted into finer pieces of jewellery and also a much smaller price tag. Palladium holds a bright, true and natural white lustre that won’t tarnish, dull or yellow, unlike that of white gold and most untreated sterling silver jewellery. Palladium also doesn’t need rhodium plating every few years like that of white gold. The white lustre of Palladium (similar to Platinum) is also perfect for setting off settings of diamonds and coloured stones to their very best. 950 Palladium is 95% pure offering a stronger hardness and higher density which is what we at Joshua James would highly recommend. 500 Palladium is made up of 50% Palladium and 50% Silver (Silver is a much softer metal) and wears much more quickly! If a ring you are looking at appears to have a very low price tag, double check whether it is 950 or 500 Palladium.
Traditional gold is what many find ideal for a wedding ring thanks to the beautiful sumptuous colour being perfect for the bride that likes something classic. 18ct Yellow Gold, 9ct Yellow Golds superior, a lavish and beautifully vibrant gold which is made up of 18 parts yellow gold mixed with 6 parts other metals, this is 75% pure gold, carrying a hallmark fineness figure of ‘750’. The remaining 25% is made up of various alloys. 9ct Yellow Gold is a 37.5% fine gold mixed with 62.5% alloys (these alloys usually consisting of 10.3% silver and the remaining made up of copper and zinc.) 9ct Yellow Gold carries a hallmark fineness figure of ‘375’.
White Gold is achieved by mixing Yellow Gold with Nickel, Manganese, or most frequently Palladium before finishing with Rhodium plating (Rhodium is a very hard metal very much like Platinum) to make it bright white. Rhodium plating offers a beautiful, lustrous, highly polished surface, which is what makes it so desirable. Rhodium however does wear off and therefore you will need to have your wedding rings re-plated every few years to keep them looking radiant. 18ct White Gold offers around 75% pure gold and 25% various alloys such as with Nickel, Manganese, or most frequently Palladium and holds a hallmark fineness figure of ‘750’. 9ct White Gold is softer and may pick up marks more easily being made up of 37.5% pure gold and 62.5% alloys (these alloys usually being made up of 44.5% silver and the remaining of copper and zinc). 9ct White Gold carries a hallmark fineness figure of ‘375’. 9ct weights carry harder alloys and therefore can scratch higher carat weights, therefore it is always a good idea for your wedding ring and engagement ring to be the same carat weight.
Titanium makes an excellent base metal for any piece of jewellery, it is not a precious metal but is the strongest metal, light, very hard and does not corrode. Titanium is great used in jewellery for people with manual jobs alongside many sportspeople. It is a hypoallergenic hard white metal and when polished it is of a similar appearance to palladium, although when it is matted it has a slightly darker grey shade. Like aluminium, titanium can be anodised to produce a remarkable range of surface colours. There are lots of design options with Titanium and prices are very low.
Stainless Steel has a brilliant, silvery finish and a strong hard resistance to tarnish. Best used for certain kinds of body jewellery that require a hypo-allergenic finish and a non-reactive surface. Its resistance to scratching allows jewellers finishes that will retain its acquisitiveness for years.
Tungsten is a grey coloured metal very favourable amongst men for wedding rings. Tungsten has a very similar density to gold. Whilst fashionable, they offer a non-scratch, no-tarnish ring with a long-lasting shine however its durability means it cannot be resized. Tungsten rings can also be set with wood, other metals or gemstones.