There’s so much choice out there that sometimes it’s hard to know which metal is best for your dream wedding rings, especially when it comes to choosing for the groom. So to help you out, below is a brief description of some of the more popular metal types with a focus on metal that works really well when it comes to designing your man’s wedding ring.
White, Yellow and Rose Gold
9-Carat Gold: This is probably the most common gold type you will find if you walk into a suburban mass-market jewellery store. The ring will be stamped either ‘9ct’ or ‘375’. Essentially this means that for every 1000 grams of metal, only 375 grams of it are pure gold. The rest is made up of silver, copper and other minor elements.
I would argue that this is not really a gold ring – how can you call something a gold ring when nearly two-thirds of the metal is made up of something else? Sales staff in stores selling these rings may try to tell you 9-carat gold is a better wearing metal compared to its 18-carat counterpart.
However, this is not the case. If you search online to compare the hardness of each using the Vickers hardness test, you will actually see that 18-carat gold is actually a harder metal (with a Vickers score of 230) than 9-carat gold (at 170).
The second important element to take into account is colour. Because a 9-carat ring only has 37.5 percent pure gold, the metal has a more washed out and sometimes coppery colour – which is likely not what you associate the colour of gold to look like.
14-Carat Gold: While this metal type is more commonly seen in countries like America, it is starting to gain popularity in Australia. Seen as a halfway point between 9-carat. and 18-carat gold, 14-carat gold’s formula is 585, which means it has slightly more gold than alloy metal. So while it might not be as great as 18 carats in wearability, it is still a much better option and has a nicer colour than 9 carats.
18-Carat Gold: This is the best wearing metal, particularly if you’re going for a yellow gold band. The metal is much denser than 9-carat gold and has a much nicer colour. Due to its density, it is also about 35 per cent heavier than 9-carat gold, so you will definitely feel the difference when you hold it in your hand.
If you are looking at white gold, the colour differences will not be noticeable because all white gold rings are rhodium plated. However, hardness differences will remain.
For a long time, platinum was seen as the ‘Rolls Royce’ standard for wedding bands, prized for its weighty feel, hypoallergenic properties and luxury tag. It has a slightly grey colour and doesn’t have to be rhodium plated.
While platinum is certainly a great metal, however, a few misconceptions need to be cleared up:
- Platinum is not indestructible, so it will scratch and dull with time
- Platinum can be resized (in the past, some jewellers claimed this wasn’t possible)
- Platinum is not whiter than white gold
- Platinum is not maintenance-free – nothing in this world that you touch and use is maintenance-free
Advancements in metallurgy mean new metals are coming on to the market all the time. Platinum 600 is one of the latest, which has been alloyed with tungsten – a very strong and scratch-resistant metal.
Tungsten on its own is not an ideal metal, because it cannot be resized. So if something should happen and you need to change the size, you will have to buy a new ring.
The benefit of alloying tungsten with platinum is that it makes the platinum 20 per cent harder than regular platinum while still allowing it to be resized. A by-product of taking out some of the platinum and adding tungsten is that it is also more affordable.
At the time of writing, Platinum 600 rings are sitting in the range of $1600 to $2200.
Palladium belongs to the platinum family of metals and shares a lot of similarities. Firstly it has the same slightly greyer colour, which some guys find appealing – especially if they don’t want to have something too white and shiny.
Secondly, it never has to be rhodium plated. The colour that you see is the colour that it will always be. Thirdly, it is a great wearing metal, which for most guys means low maintenance.
Mokume-gane (which translates as ‘burl metal’) is a mixed-metal laminate with distinctive layered patterns and a great style for the guy who really wants his wedding ring to look unique. The name was borrowed from a type of pattern created in the forging of swords and other edged weapons, which most guys find pretty cool.
First made in 17th-century Japan, the mixed-metal was used only for sword fittings until the Meiji era when the decline in demand for swords forced artisans to create purely decorative items instead.
The traditional components were relatively soft metallic elements and alloys (such as gold, copper and silver), which would become fused with one another without completely melting. The different coloured metals are used to create amazing patterns that can sometimes look like wood grain or fingerprints.
Mokume-gane rings are always unique – while the metal mix and patterns may be similar, no two rings are exactly the same.
Hope this information has been helpful
If you want to know more about choosing a metal type for your wedding rings, why not come and speak to our experts at our showroom? We can help you choose the perfect metal for your wedding rings and help make your day unforgettable.
Join us for a drink at our in-store bar while you get a one-on-one Discovery Session with our expertly trained staff who can answer any questions you might have about ring design.
We are ready to help you now, book an appointment with us today.