Apart from the centre diamond, the other most valuable aspect of the engagement ring is the precious metal. Today, customers are offered the following four choices – 18kt Yellow Gold, 18kt White Gold, 18kt Rose Gold, and Platinum 950.
Pure gold is referred to as 24 karat gold. It is the purest form of the metal and is quite soft in nature. Its natural colour is the ‘yellow’ that is normally associated with gold. Keeping in mind that pure gold is soft, fine jewellery is made with 75% pure gold and 25% metal alloys. Since 75% of 24 is 18, the jewellery is designated 18kt gold. [British Assay Office Hallmark: '750']
Platinum 950 is comprised of 95% platinum and 5% of either cobalt, rhodium, or palladium. Despite gold’s price per gram being more expensive than platinum’s price per gram, the instruments, energy, and expertise required to work with platinum add to its final price, making the finished piece more expensive. [British Assay Office Hallmark: 'PT950']
Let’s take a closer look at the four options available to us.
18kt Yellow Gold
The other metals used to create the 18kt yellow gold alloy are copper, zinc, and silver. This combination allows the jewellery to maintain its ‘yellow’ colour.
Key Points when considering 18kt Yellow Gold:
- Since gold’s natural colour is ‘yellow,’ over time with wear and tear, there is no change in colour to the engagement ring.
- If the colour grade you are opting for is on the lower end of the scale – i.e. below a GIA certified I colour in a Round Brilliant Cut or below a GIA certified H colour in any Fancy Shape Cut, this is the ideal metal choice. The lack of contrast between the metal colour and the diamond colour will work in your favour!
18kt White Gold
The other metals used to create the 18kt white gold alloy are nickel, zinc, and silver. Once the ring is complete, it is polished with rhodium giving it its ‘silver’ colour.
Key Points when considering 18kt White Gold:
- Since gold’s natural colour is ‘yellow,’ over time the rhodium coating will wear off, showing its natural colour. However, a simple re-polish will bring the ring back to its original state.
- If the diamond colour grade you are opting for is on the higher end of the scale, this would be ideal in emphasising the perfect transparency of the diamond.
- In many cases, the primary metal combined to form the 18kt white gold alloy is nickel. While this is harmless metal, there are some people who have may have a nickel allergy – and hence should be avoided. Either speak to your jeweller about creating a nickel-free 18kt white gold alloy or opt for platinum.
18kt Rose Gold
The other metals used to create the 18kt rose gold alloy are copper, zinc, and silver. A greater amount of copper is used in the alloy to give it its ‘rose’ colour.
Key Points when considering 18kt Rose Gold:
- If the design you are considering is either a vintage or modern vintage design, 18kt rose gold really stands out and brings out the intricate details of the ring design. It’s become extremely popular in the past decade, with many jewellery designers creating such pieces exclusively in rose gold.
- Copper is quite brittle. It's important to realise that since there's a greater amount of copper used in 18kt Rose Gold, by its very nature, it is not the strongest metal choice. Having said that, if looked after well, it will last a lifetime.
- Similarly to 18kt yellow gold, if the colour grade you are opting for is on the lower end of the scale this is a good choice. As mentioned, the lack of contrast between the metal colour and the diamond colour will work in your favour.
Key Points when considering Platinum:
- It's natural colour is the 'silver' that it is known for. If concerned about the change of colour in white gold over time, platinum should be the primary metal choice.
- Platinum is naturally hypoallergenic because of its pure nature. This is an ideal option if you or your partner has a nickel allergy.
- Platinum is a dense metal. This allows it to be malleable, and if scratched, the metal is displaced - not lost. Hence, platinum is much more durable than gold.
- Just like white gold, if the diamond colour grade you are opting for is on the higher end of the scale, this would be ideal in emphasising the perfect transparency of the diamond.
Over the years, our clients have chosen their metal preference based on a range of aspects, from cultural and religious beliefs to simply taking into account the jewellery that their partner currently wears. Both gold and platinum are great for fine jewellery, and it does finally come down to a personal choice! We're here to shine some light - and will always do so unbiasedly. Let us help you find your perfect engagement ring!