A Guide to Ring Metals
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Beyond look and feel, factors like durability and whether a metal is hypoallergenic can help you determine which is right for you. Learn more about traditional and alternative metals below.
Platinum has an elegant, soft white hue and is sometimes mistaken for white gold. It is 30 times more rare than gold and 40% heavier than 14K gold. This hypoallergenic metal is often used in diamond settings because of its strength and durability. It does not tarnish or wear out, but keeps its lustrous shine
The standard measurement of gold is the karat. Pure gold is 24 karats, which means that 24 out of 24 parts of gold. Because pure gold is too soft for jewelry, it is combined with other metal alloys to increase its strength. For example, 14K gold is 14 parts gold and 10 parts other alloys. Pure gold is yellow, but it can be mixed with other metals to create white and rose gold.
Types of Gold:
Yellow Gold- Pure gold mixed with a little silver and copper for a warm look.
White Gold- Pure gold is combined with palladium and silver or with nickel, copper and zinc. Rhodium plating improves whiteness and durability.
Pink and Rose Gold- Increasingly popular, these reddish gold options are pure gold plus copper. The more copper, the redder the metal.
Similar to gold, pure silver is too soft to be used in jewelry. It is combined with other metals to boost its strength. Sterling silver must contain at least 92.5% pure silver, which is why it’s stamped with .925. This versatile metal can have a matte or shiny finish. While not hypoallergenic, sterling silver is often safe for those with metal sensitivities.
Stainless steel Stainless steel is less likely to rust and corrode than other metals. It has some chromium, generally around 10.5%, which prevents rust or stains from appearing. Since it’s not a pure metal, stainless steel is not hypoallergenic, but it may be safe for some people with sensitivities. Stainless steel is commonly used in men’s jewelry.
Titanium is very strong but also light, making it a great choice for those who may not like wearing rings. It is highly resistant to dents and bending, and since it’s a pure metal, it is hypoallergenic. Titanium comes in many finishes and is most often found in men’s bands.
Tungsten carbide is a very dense metal, and it’s so strong that it can’t be bent once forged. This metal also resists corrosion and is considered the most durable. Tungsten carbide can be polished to a very high shine and requires little maintenance. It is typically used in men’s jewelry.