Customers often ask us which metal is the best option for jewellery – unfortunately there is no short answer! It comes down to personal taste, lifestyle and budget. All metals vary in colour, hardness, durability, weight and price. Below are the main points to consider when deciding between two metals.
It goes without saying that it is much easier to see the differences between the various metals in person. Call in to us in the Westbury Mall, Dublin 2, and we would be happy to go through all of the options with you!
Colour – white
- Platinum is a rare metal and, therefore, is the most expensive of all of the precious metals. It has a natural white colour which will not change over time and it is extremely hard wearing. One thing to note is that platinum does not stay as shiny as white gold and can dull quite a bit over time. However, it can be re-polished for a small charge and will look as good as new when this is done.
Colour – yellow, rose or white
- Traditionally the most common choice for wedding rings as it is the most precious type of gold used in jewellery.
- 18ct white gold is typically plated in another metal called rhodium to give it a whiter look. That is not to say that it is yellow gold that has been plated white – it is a naturally white metal with a very slight hint of yellow. Rhodium plating will give white gold a whiter look. This plating will wear off over time but can be replated for a small charge.
- 18ct yellow and rose gold are not plated and, therefore, will not change in colour over time.
Colour – yellow, rose or white
- 9ct gold has a lower gold content than 18ct and therefore is a less expensive metal. It is harder wearing than 18ct and the colour is slightly different.
- Gold is naturally yellow and so the higher the gold content the more yellow the metal is. As a result, 9ct gold is a paler colour yellow than 18ct.
- In the case of white and rose 9ct gold the opposite happens. The colour is provided by the alloy (the metal that is added to the gold) and as there is less gold, there is more alloy and, therefore, the colour is deeper. 9ct rose and white gold will be a deeper pink and whiter respectively than the 18ct equivalent.
Colour – white
- Silver is a softer metal and, therefore, normally not used for engagement rings or wedding rings. It is a great choice for other jewellery and is a lot less expensive than gold. Silver with gold plated detail is very appealing and is quite popular nowadays.
- That said, we wouldn’t recommend gold plating on a ring as it would wear off too quickly to prove satisfactory.
- If silver is not worn it will tarnish over time. This tarnish can be removed by re-polishing. Visit our jewellery care guide to find out how to care for your silver jewellery.
- Mokume Gane, meaning ‘wood grain metal’, is the name for a metal layering method that produces unique and beautiful patterns. It was originally used as a detail on specific parts of swords in ancient Japan.
- On layering and fusing different coloured metals many times, a drill or piercing saw is used to open up the newly formed material, revealing the patterns inside. The final stage in the manipulation of the metal stretches the patterns out, creating an effect similar to wood grain. Playing with combinations of metal colours and layers creates wonderful results!
- For samples of Mokume gane rings, have a look here.
METAL COLOURS AND SKIN TONE
- Everyone’s skin tone is different so it’s difficult to generalise, but here are a points to bear in mind: rose and yellow gold are warmer coloured metals and can look wonderful on Irish skin. The cool tones of white gold and platinum tend to suit sallow skin. It’s easy to see what’s right for you when you try on various pieces in different colours. Do keep an open mind – you’ll be surprised by which colour suits you best!
18CT WHITE GOLD VS PLATINUM
If you prefer white metals, you may be wondering about the differences between platinum and white gold. Advertising suggests that platinum is a better option, but there are pros and cons to both metals.
- White gold is an off white colour and is generally rhodium plated in order to look whiter, while platinum is naturally white. The rhodium plating applied to white gold does wear off and will need to be reapplied approximately once every 2 years. In contrast, platinum is not plated and the colour of the metal doesn’t change, but it does dull down relatively quickly. White gold will remain brighter for longer than platinum.
- Peculiarly, while white gold is not as hard wearing as platinum, it is a better option when it comes to stonesetting. Platinum is a dense metal that doesn’t absorb shock if given a knock. As a result, settings can move more easily in platinum than in white gold, which is better at absorbing trauma. Therefore, diamonds are relatively more secure in white gold than in platinum.
- While white gold and platinum are robust metals, all jewellery needs ongoing care and maintenance. Rings are a luxury and they should be treated accordingly. You wouldn’t drive a new BMW for a decade without having it serviced – the same logic applies to jewellery that is being worn every day!
9CT VS 18CT GOLD
- White, yellow and rose gold are all available in both 9ct and 18ct.
- 9ct gold is harder wearing that 18ct but is less precious as the gold content is much lower. 18ct is more valuable and, therefore, more expensive. There are also slight colour variations between the two which you may only notice if pointed out to you. We have samples of each available metal in the shop, and we’d be very happy to show them to you. Ultimately the decision to opt for either 9 or 18ct generally comes down to a combination of colour preference and budget.