Our comprehensive metal buying guide tells you everything you need to know about different jewellery metals, including how to wear them, how to look after them & which metals suit different jewellery types best.
Whether you're shopping for your engagement & wedding bands, or another ring for everyday, we have broken down everything you need to know about each metal type. Whichever you opt for, we think it's important to stick to one metal type per hand when it comes to ring shopping. This is because not all metals have the same strength, and some of your denser jewellery can damage precious gold jewellery.
Platinum is an expression of true love; rare, exclusive and eternal. The metal by nature has a slight tint of grey in comparison to other metals, which 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 it much less susceptible to tarnish and wear. Being from the same family of Platinum, Palladium offers many of the same benefits but with a lesser density, meaning it can hold heavier stones alongside the ability to be crafted into finer pieces of jewellery and the good news is it comes with a much smaller price tag!
Palladium holds a bright, true white lustre, that won't dull, and as with Platinum, Palladium also doesn't need rhodium plating every few years. Thanks to it's beautifully white lustre, Palladium is the perfect base to make your Diamonds and gemstones sparkle to their very best.
It is wroth noting that Palladium can come in two different types; 950 Palladium is 95% pure making it a strong and high density metal, perfect for a long-lasting everyday ring. 500 Palladium is 50% Palladium & 50% Silver meaning it wears much more quickly, but due to this comes with a lower price tag. This Palladium mix would be much more suitable for a ring or jewellery that will only be worn occasionally.
Gold is the traditionally favoured metal when it comes to jewellery, and wedding rings in particular, thanks to it's beautifully bold colouring. Gold can easily be worked due to the softness of the metal, but needs to be alloyed with other metals when it comes to jewellery because of this softness.
An 18ct Gold is 75% Gold and 25% other metals, this gives the gold a hallmark fineness figure of 750. As the majority of this mix is made up of Gold, jewellery of this quality will age well. But whether you opt for an 18ct or 9ct, your gold jewellery will last well for everyday wear, which is why it makes the perfect choice for wedding and engagement rings.
White Gold is a beautifully bright white mix of Yellow Gold, Nickel, Manganese, or most frequently Palladium before finishing with Rhodium plating which gives the metal its bright white shine. Rhodium plating offers a beautiful, lustrous, highly polished surface, which is what makes it so desirable, however Rhodium is not as strong as metals such as platinum and does wear off so 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 available 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, allowing the option for interesting & masculine designs which stray away from the traditional gold wedding band.