WHAT'S THE BEST METAL?
You've got quite a lot of choice. Platinium or palladium? White gold or yellow gold? Silver? Titanium?
Let's clear up a few myths and give you some genuine advice that's going to help you make the right decision on what is something that's hopefully going to last you a lifetime...
The metal you choose makes a massive difference to how your ring will look and wear over its lifetime.
'White' metals are really popular at the moment and you have these options:
- 18ct white gold
- 14ct white gold
- Palladium (normally similar in price to 14ct)
- 9ct white gold
These are ranked in price order and you can apply the simple logic that they are pretty much in quality order too, let's explain why...
- It is the priciest, having a pretty much guaranteed high intrinsic value (because it's great quality and there's not much of it) - that's nice to know for something that might become a family heirloom
- It's naturally white and will remain so - whatever you do to it
- It's very pure: 95% alloyed with 5% pure white metals iridium or ruthenium. You're extremely unlikely to have any allergy issues with it.
- It is very dense so people often like the weighty feel of it and it means in 50 years time it you'll have pretty much the same weight of ring as when you started - it wears incredibly well over time
- It will show surface marks but unlike lower grade metals this 'displacement' can simply be polished out without risk of the ring being made thinner.
- Even 18ct white gold will vary a lot in terms of quality - depending on what the mix of metals is made up from and how it's worked. 18ct is 75% gold - the other 25% can be a mixed bag.
- Some 18ct white gold is actually a straw white colour and it has to be rhodium plated to make it a bright white colour. The problem with a plating is it wears off showing the yellowy colour underneath. We charge £35 to re-rhodium plate your rings and depending on your lifestyle you might need to get it done once a year.
- 'Palladium-rich' white gold means there is NO yellow colour and your ring doesn't need rhodium plating - definitely go for this better alloy if you want white gold.
- 14ct is a bit cheaper than 18ct and no too dissimilar in how well it wears over time. Most of Europe love 14ct and don't bother with 9ct.
- 9ct white gold, no matter how hard we try to improve the alloy, always has a hint of 'yellow', is less dense and doesn't wear as well over time.
- A sister metal to platinum, was recognised as an 'official' metal a couple of years ago so now has a UK hallmark and it's 'value' has therefore gone up significantly
- It is however less than half the price of platinum; great for your budget, but not quite the 'heirloom' you might want it to be
- It is normally 95% alloyed and therefore really pure like platinum
- It's a 'gun metal' colour - so not quite as bight a other white metals, but it looks really masculine.
- It is lighter than platinum but wears very well over time
- With no hallmark, there is no intrinsic value in a titanium band
- It's really tough - if you need a ring that can take a battering then this is a metal you should consider
- It is extremely light, which for some is disconcerting, for others a benefit
- It can't be re-sized as it can't be 'worked' like the precious metals. Could be a problem if your weight changes over the years or you get arthritis in your knuckles
- If it doesn't fit you then you'll need to have a new ring made - not a problem if we've just made it for you - that's our problem, but could be a big problem for you once you've got sententially attached to it (trust us, it does happen)
- Titanium is 100% what it is - not alloyed at all and totally hypoallergenic
- Not generally regarded as a precious metal, we're talking £20-50 for a plain band, so not a typical choice for wedding rings
- Everyone however has a budget and their own spend priorities, silver is a nice white metal and should only tarnish if not worn regularly and on rare occasions reacting to certain skin pHs
- Silver will show a lot of marks so if you want something hard wearing consider one of the other options
OTHER GOLD ALLOYS
- There are also yellow gold and shades of rose gold and the same advice applies as above for white gold with regard to value and hardness
- You can have some fabulous colour combinations with mixing
- You won't have any issues with the colour of your ring seeming to change and having to rhodium plate your ring
- Be aware 9ct yellow gold is quite dull compared to the hight 14ct and 18ct options.
A NOTE FROM MITCH, author of this blog post and owner of Basingstoke's premier independent family jewellers: Petra Jewellery.
"My mum Petra, is a goldsmith, she's also German and always gives brutally pragmatic advice: DON'T COMPROMISE ON QUALITY and GO FOR THE BEST YOU CAN AFFORD! We've been helping people design their wedding rings since 1979, that's over 36 years' of experience, coupled with a genuine passion for what we do: we want you to love your ring forever; it's got to look right and suit your lifestyle and you've got to be comfortable with what it costs too.
We welcome couples in to our studio to try on different designs, feel the weight and different profiles for themselves and understand what they are getting for their money. We can advise on different finishes such as polished versus satin, having lines engraved, messages, dates, different setting styles: everything you might want to make your ring truly individual and unique to you.
£40 GIFT FOR YOU...
Let us treat you to a voucher for a pair of cufflinks worth £40, that you can perhaps have engraved with a personal message, or your initials maybe. A great gift for your best man or just treat yourself?
Simply pop your name and email address in below and we'll email your voucher over to you as soon as we can, thank you.
GOT A QUESTION?
If you have any questions just email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Petra Team on 01256 355945.
WANT TO BOOK AN APPOINTMENT?
We'd love to help you design your wedding ring and give you as much design advice as you want... just let us know when you'd like to come in to our studio and we'll make sure we've got on of our expert ready for you. You're very welcome to fill in the appointment request form, simply click the pink button below to fill in a couple of details and we'll get back to you to confirm everything is booked.