Ring Metals: A Guide
Gold is one of the most common and desired metals used in rings of all varieties. The metal's popularity for men's or women's engagement and wedding rings is unsurpassed. 10kt, 14kt and 18kt are the most common karat values found. The larger the karat, the higher the percentage of pure gold in the ring and the more expensive it will be. The hardness and durability of gold varies depending on karat, so it is important to take these factors into account when selecting a gold ring.
Gold rings come in a number of gold colors-the most common being yellow, white and rose. Yellow gold is the most popular and quintessential color. White gold is also increasing in popularity but tends to be a bit more expensive than others. When selecting a white gold ring, choosing one that is rhodium plated would be wise. White gold rings are often coated in rhodium to enhance their white color and protect the gold below from wear and tear.
Platinum is a white metal and the most expensive and prestigious option for a ring. It is long wearing and already exceptionally white, so it does not need to be rhodium plated like white gold. Platinum is also used in rings at almost 100% purity. It is a dense metal, so a platinum ring will feel heavier on the hand than other options. Because of its higher cost, platinum is most often used in men's and women's wedding and engagement rings and less frequently in fashion or cocktail rings.
Silver is a softer metal, making it more susceptible to scratching and other damage. It also has a greater tendency to oxidize than other metals, causing the silver in rings to turn black sometimes. It must be noted though that if oxidization does occur, silver can be restored rather easily with simple silver jewelry cleaner. Still, for these reasons, silver is best suited for men's and women's fashion rings and other rings that will be worn on occasion rather than daily. This limitation means silver is not a common or wise choice for men's and women's engagement and wedding rings. Its affordability and striking luster still make it an attractive option for other cocktail rings and right-hand rings.
Tungsten carbide is a compound of tungsten and carbon that is hard, heavy and durable. A tungsten carbide ring will stand up to any degree of wear and tear and remain looking like new. One major benefit of tungsten carbide rings is that their durability makes them much more scratch resistant than rings made of other metals. A tungsten carbide ring will also always retain its bright, shiny luster. They have a permanent polish, meaning they don't have to be polished or need as much maintenance as rings made of other metals.
The drawback of tungsten carbide's durability is that it cannot be cut and resoldered which prevents rings made of the metal from being resized. This makes having your finger sized accurately extremely important when buying a tungsten carbide ring.
Titanium is another durable option for rings that, like tungsten carbide, is increasingly being utilized in men's wedding rings. It is seeing increased use in women's engagement and wedding rings as well. Titanium is the strongest naturally occurring metal on earth and that strength is what makes it a particularly popular option for men's rings. Despite its strength, titanium is very light.
It is also a good choice because it's 100% hypo-allergenic, making titanium rings safe to wear for people who may have reactions to other metals. Its strength also makes it more scratch, dent and bend resistant and the wide variety of colors it can be found in sets it apart from other metals. Like tungsten, its strength does have its downsides. Titanium cannot be resized or soldered, making the number of ring styles made from the metal more limited than other options.
Palladium is one of the most luxurious options for rings. It is naturally white, durable, lightweight, and resilient to discoloration. As a member of the platinum metal group, palladium is one of the rarest kinds of precious metals, making it one of the most esteemed. And since it doesn't require alloys or plating, it is usually at least 95% pure. Palladium is most commonly used in men's and women's wedding bands, rather than decorative jewelry, due to its high price and longevity.