Insider Tips: How to Choose the Best Metal for Your Ring
— By Felicity Newburry
15 December 2015
Charged with the task to write an article on the different metals available for wedding and engagement rings, I was walking into what I thought was fairly well known territory. There are only three metals, right? Well, no. Yellow gold is the most unreliable of them all because it can be too soft, right? Nope, I was wrong about that too! I had the pleasure of speaking to the two minds behind internationally renowned jewellery designers and manufacturers, TORY & KO. Jewellers to learn a thing or two about the precious metals we can choose from when it comes to picking or designing our perfect ring. Read on if you want to learn some valuable tips and explanations from Victoria (TORY) & Kirstin (KO)!
Don’t Be Scared to Combine Metals!
When asked whether they recommended wearing more than one metal in an engagement and wedding set, Victoria said that she really liked it from a design point of view and Kirstin recommended ring shoppers be open to the idea. Both women believed that often women have a tendency to start wearing silver at a young age and end up thinking that it’s all that will ever suit them, which in Victoria’s words “can be quite limiting!” Victoria recommends working with white gold and pairing it with either a rose or a yellow gold ring. Alternatively, Kirstin discussed one man’s ring they had made with a unique design that was made out of white gold and set with yellow gold designs within the band. The only combination they warn against is yellow and rose gold as their individual colours are too similar and can be lost on one another.
Reconsider the Strength of Gold
According to Kirstin and Victoria, the idea that gold wears too quickly because it’s a soft metal is not quite true. The majority of rings created for wedding and bridal jewellery is made from 18 carat or 9 carat gold and wears well over a lifetime. For extra security, you could choose a ring made of 9 carat gold as this is a little stronger than 18 carat gold (which contains 75% gold), but it does contain more alloy in the metal and less gold (only 37.5% gold) If you purchase gold at 22 carat however, this is softer and will wear more over time but it does contain the most amount of actual gold (91.6% gold).
While initially shiny and a colour that most people are comfortable wearing, after everyday wear, silver jewellery can end up looking very battered. Kirstin explained that “silver is a much softer metal, it just doesn’t wear well over a lifetime” and although the band can be regularly polished and filed to take out the dents, over time you’ll file more and more metal away. For this reason, a silver ring isn’t good value for money due to the maintenance required to keep it looking valuable and new (even if it is initially the cheaper band)!
As silver seems to be a no-go zone, Victoria suggests that those who have restrictions on their options due to cost, could steer towards a titanium ring for the man. Titanium looks nicer and wears a lot better than silver, while still being a cheaper option than precious metals; however, the ladies wouldn’t recommend titanium as a suitable metal for engagement rings. Alternatively, Kirstin explained that a lower carat of precious metal, such as 9 carat gold is a cheaper option than 18 carat gold. But be aware that putting a lower carat ring next to a higher carat ring can lead to rubbing and ruining of the higher carat ring.
The Perks of White Gold
Kirstin favours white gold when it comes to rings featuring diamonds as it allows the diamond “to look bigger and sing! It creates a lovely, light cocoon around the diamonds.” Also New Zealand made white gold has a higher percentage of platinum and palladium (two other fine white metals the ladies work with), which makes the metal nice and “white”. They encouraged a white gold ring as a jumping-off point into other coloured metals.
The Beauty of Yellow Gold
When working with black diamonds or other coloured gems, Kirstin highly recommends yellow gold. However, Victoria likes to remind couples that yellow gold is a little bit harder to wear for some people, based on skin tones.
Up And Coming: Rose Gold
Some people are concerned about whether or not certain metals suit their skin tone. Victoria’s advice on this was: “Rose gold suits everybody, and white gold does too.” She also noted that a lot of men have been open to plain rose gold bands recently, saying “Rose gold is a little bit warmer, it still looks like a precious metal but its not that big yellow gold band that some men get nervous about. The rose gold often looks really good on them, I think!” Rose gold is also a stunning metal colour for brides-to-be and can be incorporated into the engagement ring or worn as the wedding band to add a soft pop of colour alongside a white gold and diamond engagement ring.