Different Metal Options For Engagement Rings

Today, there are many choices of metals for an engagement ring.  Over the years, engagement ring settings have become just as important as the diamond itself.  Gone are the days of the traditional yellow gold four prong solitaire style rings.  These days, settings are more elaborate and stylish.

Platinum is rare, pure and known for its durability.  Platinum is 95% pure and will not fade or tarnish keeping its rich white color for a lifetime.  With everyday wear platinum will develop a patina overtime.  Platinum is extremely strong and will hold precious stones firmly and securely in place.  Platinum will scratch, but unlike other metals no metal is lost it is just displaced.  Platinum is hypoallergenic and is a great choice for someone with sensitive skin.

Palladium is part of the platinum family and has a grayish white tone.  It is 10% stronger than platinum and consists of 95% palladium and 5% ruthenium which makes it more scratch resistant than platinum.   Palladium is also a hypoallergenic metal.

White Gold, available in 10kt, 14kt or 18kt, is pure gold alloyed with palladium, zinc or nickel.  The alloys in white gold make it stronger than yellow gold.  To mask the slightly yellowish tone in white gold it is rhodium plated giving it a bright white finish.

Yellow Gold, available in 10kt, 14kt or 18kt, is pure gold alloyed with copper and silver.  Its color looks great with all skin tones and gemstones.

Rose Gold, available in 10kt, 14kt or 18kt, is pure gold alloyed with copper.  Rose Gold has a soft tone that compliments the skin’s natural coloring.  Rose Gold comes in a variety of shades from reddish to a soft pink.  Rose Gold is not recommended for individuals with metal allergies because of its copper alloy.

Two-tone is a combination of two different color metals.  The most common two-tone rings are either platinum or white gold with either yellow gold or rose gold.

Symbols for Platinum, Palladium, and Gold:

Platinum – 950pt or plat

Palladium – Pd

10kt Gold – 10kt or 417

14kt Gold – 14kt or 585

18kt Gold – 18kt or 750

To learn more about precious metal options, click here

Gold Karat Weight and Gold Fineness

The purity of gold is described as karat (US) or fineness (Europe).  Pure gold is alloyed (combined) with other metals to make it more affordable, durable, and to change its color.   The minimum karat weight that can be sold differs from country to country.  In France and Italy gold must be at least 18kt to be called gold.  In the US and Japan gold must be over 10kt to be considered legal.  The two most common karat marks are 14kt and 18kt.  18kt is considered the international and US standard for high quality jewelry.  In India 22kt gold is popular because it is considered a monetary investment and the deep yellow color is more popular over the lighter alloyed shades of gold.

Gold Content and Markings Chart

US Karat Marking

Parts Gold Gold % International Fineness Marking
24k or 24kt 24/24 99.9% 999
22k or 22kt 22/24 91.7% 916 or 917
18k or 18kt 18/24 75.0% 750
14k or 14kt 14/24 58.3% 583 or 585
12k or 12kt 12/24 50.0% 500
10k or 10kt 10/24 41.7% 416 or 417
9k (Not sold) 9/24 37.5% 375

Is 14kt or 18kt Gold Better?

14kt Gold Pros and Cons

Pros – less expensive, wears better

Cons – may discolor or tarnish due to the lower percentage of gold, may cause allergic reaction due to metal alloys

18kt Gold Pros and Cons

Pros – more gold – less alloys which makes it more valuable, less likely to cause allergic reaction

Cons – some alloys used may not be as hard and strong as with 14kt

To learn more about gold and other precious metals visit our jewelry education section.