There are several unique metals used to create fine jewellery, each with their own properties and benefits. Some metals are more suitable for casual wear; some metals are recommended for longterm pieces, such as engagement rings and wedding bands. Understanding the different metal types will help you make an informed decision when purchasing jewellery for any occasion.
Gold is a popular choice for wedding and engagement jewellery, in addition to everyday pieces. It is a durable material that keeps its colour and shine.
When choosing gold jewellery, you may consider different karats of gold. 10k, 14k and 18k gold are common in North America, whereas higher karats are often used overseas. Higher karats of gold have a greater pure gold content and are more expensive than lower karats.
- 10k gold has 41.7% purity (lowest value, most durable and scratch resistant)
- 14k gold has 58.3% purity (average weight, scratch resistant)
- 18k gold has 75% purity (slight heaviness, mid-range durability and scratch resistance)
- 22k gold has 91.7% purity (slight softness, slight durability, less scratch resistance)
- 24k gold has 99.9% purity (highest value, softest, low scratch resistance)
Gold is available in different shades, the most common being yellow, rose and white gold. The colour of gold is dependant on alloys used in the metal that result in cooler and warmer tones. White gold is often created with pure gold and white metals (such as nickel and palladium) while rose gold contains pure gold and red-toned metals (such as copper).
Silver jewellery is usually Sterling Silver, which indicates 92.5% purity. Silver maintains its colour and ages well when taken care of and worn regularly. It has been used for centuries, and was at one point in history worth more than gold. Now, it is the most affordable precious metal.
Platinum is more rare than solid gold, and will not tarnish or oxidize. This material comes at a higher price, but is extremely durable and maintains its lustre overtime. This metal is great for showcasing precious gemstones, and its bright white colour is perfect for those who prefer cool-toned jewellery.
Platinum is required to have a 95% purity, and is hypoallergenic, which makes it the ideal material for jewellery-wearers who react to certain pieces.
Here is a simple platinum wedding band with a 4 mm width.
Palladium is a rare white metal that has a similar lustrous finish to platinum. Palladium wears extremely well over time, however; it is lighter and less dense than platinum, making it less expensive. Like platinum, palladium is 95% pure and hypoallergenic.
Check out our custom jewellery design page if you are interested in creating palladium jewellery.
Alternative jewellery metals are more modern-looking and lightweight than traditional materials. They are very durable and scratch resistant; these metals have become especially popular for men’s jewellery and wedding bands.
Some of the most popular alternative metals are stainless steel, titanium, cobalt, ceramic, tungsten and vitalium. These metals are all strong and sleek in appearance, however they are sometimes not possible to cut, size or alter due to their hardness.
An alternative metal that is becoming increasingly popular, due to its benefits, is serinium, which is bright white and completely resistant to scratches and damage. Serinium is considered to be the safest of alternative metals, because rings can be cut and removed in emergencies, unlike its alternatives.