Which jewelry metal fits your lifestyle?
Whether precious or alternative, the metal you choose for your fine jewelry shouldn’t just come down to the look. The metal you choose for your fine jewelry shouldn’t just come down to the look, but also to what best suits your lifestyle and budget. For example, if you tend to have sensitive skin, platinum might be the perfect choice since it’s hypo-allergenic. Each metal has its own unique properties and characteristics. Here are a few things to consider when choosing your precious metal.
Precious Jewelry Metals
Popular metal trends for fine jewelry come and go, but gold has remained one of the most popular metals and has the longest and most storied history of all the precious metals. There are various grades of gold, from 10K, 14K, 18K and 24K (which is considered to be pure gold). 18K gold is actually 75% gold and 25% other metals. Lower karat weights are usually plated to some degree to enhance their color. In order to increase their durability, they’re typically mixed with other metals. Yellow gold is natural and resistant to rust, tarnish and corrosion.
White gold is not natural and provides a different look. It is made with similar properties to yellow gold but is mixed with different metals to give it a white color – typically with rhodium, which is a rare member of the platinum family. Rhodium-plated rings will wear and eventually need re-plating. That’s something to consider if you’re a very active person and plan on wearing your jewelry when you exercise.
Rose gold is made with similar properties but is mixed with copper to give it that rosy color. Rose gold engagement rings, and jewelry styles that feature the use of rose gold, cycle in and out of fashion. Overall, though, gold is timeless and the most popular metal for everyday wear.
Platinum is one of the most popular metals for engagement rings and wedding bands. It’s naturally white and won’t fade or change color. It is also durable and hypoallergenic. People purchase platinum because it will last forever and is the ultimate symbol of everlasting love!
Belonging to the platinum family, Palladium is a naturally white and remarkably lightweight metal, making it a relatively newer and less common choice in fine jewelry. One of its key advantages is its hypoallergenic nature, ensuring it won't cause allergic reactions. Unlike white gold, Palladium doesn't tarnish or need re-plating over time. Its feather-light quality adds to the wearer's comfort, as it feels almost weightless against the skin.
Sterling silver is primarily used for fashion jewelry and accessories. It is a very soft metal and tends to tarnish, which are two big reasons we don’t recommend sterling silver for holding a precious diamond or colored gemstone for an engagement ring or more expensive piece. However, it is a very affordable alternative to white gold or platinum.
Alternative Jewelry Metals
Alternative metals are often a contemporary choice for men’s wedding bands. Many men also like to have an extra wedding band in an alternative metal for more casual wear, in addition to a band made in the traditional gold or platinum. We’re also seeing some alternative metals, such as stainless steel, used more commonly in fashion jewelry. Most alternative metals are less expensive than their precious counterparts. Here are the alternative metals you should know about if you’re considering one.
Tungsten carbide is unique and strong in design. It’s a forged metal that will last a lifetime, created from an alloy of 80% tungsten and 20% carbon alloy with other metals.
Cobalt is four times harder than platinum, while at the same time being far less dense. Because of its natural hardness, it resists scratches, chips and corrosion. Cobalt is also hypoallergenic, so it’s a great choice for men with sensitive skin and an active lifestyle.
Titanium is extremely lightweight, yet strong, and has a silvery white metal color. It is 45% lighter in weight than platinum. It is also hypoallergenic and commonly used in men’s fashion jewelry.
Stainless steel is a metal that is easy to clean, highly durable, and resistant to scratches and corrosion. It has a beautiful silvery-white color and retains that shine and color very well. It is most commonly used in men’s jewelry and watches.