While selecting an engagement ring or another piece of diamond jewellery, we are often asked about the differences between various metals, their durability and aftercare. This week, 77 World describes each metal, aftercare tips and maintenance.
For diamond jewellery, we recommend the following metals: platinum or 18 karat white, yellow or rose gold. Diamonds should be set with metals strong enough to support and hold the stone securely. For instance, pure gold is 24 karat which is too soft to be used for diamond jewellery, so we use 18 karat gold which is mixed with other alloys to add strength and reinforcement while still containing a high gold content of 75%. Precious metals are rarely used in their purest form.
Platinum is rarer and more precious than gold with a higher purity content of 95%. It is naturally white in colour and will generally last more than a lifetime. Platinum is strong and durable, is hypoallergenic and does not tarnish. It is slightly more expensive than gold and loses very little metal when scratched. Over time, due to the nature of the metal, it appears to dull so would require the occasional professional polish.
Expert tip: Platinum is the most durable metal for engagement rings and is said to last more than a lifetime, while gold is softer than platinum and is said to last about a lifetime.
18k White Gold
We only use 18k gold for our jewellery as it has a higher content of gold making the metal more precious. As a gold metal, it is originally slightly yellow in colour and the whiteness is achieved using a rhodium (member of the platinum family) plating. White gold is more affordable than other metals and will require the occasional rhodium re-plating to look its whitest and brightest.
Expert tip: To maintain the white finish on 18k white gold rings for as long as possible, avoid washing your hands while wearing the ring, showering, swimming, applying cream etc.
Yellow gold was once the traditional metal used for engagement rings and is now witnessing a resurgence in the market. 18k yellow gold contains 75% gold and this is usually mixed with silver to strengthen the metal and copper to retain the bright yellow colour. Providing a regal look, yellow gold makes a statement especially when used in vintage or halo designs.
Expert tip: For yellow or rose gold engagement rings, if you select a colourless or near colourless diamond (D-H), you can request the collet (the claw portion holding the diamond) to be in 18k white gold or platinum to bring out the whiteness of the diamond. On the other hand, if the diamond is slightly yellow or brown (J-L), you can opt for a yellow gold ring setting so not to highlight the warmth in the stone against a white metal.
18k Rose Gold
These days, we have witnessed a rise in the popularity of rose gold engagement rings due to the unique look it creates. Rose gold tends to be quite brittle and porous due to the higher copper content which provides it with its colour, so is more difficult to work with and resize. We would not recommend getting rose gold rings resized multiple times. To keep your ring looking new, you can opt to get your ring professionally polished every few years.
Expert tip: 18k white, yellow and rose gold are softer metals so are not recommended if you are hard on your rings.
Jewellery Care & Advice
Remove your jewellery before showering and sleeping. Do not wear your jewellery while exercising, swimming, playing sports, doing housework or while carrying out any hands-on activity. Diamond jewellery is delicate and should be treated with care.
It is advisable not to stack a gold ring against a platinum ring as platinum is a stronger metal and over time will wear down and scratch the gold metal.
The inside of the band of your ring should contain a hallmark which confirms the metal content. A hallmark means that the item has been independently tested and is a guarantee that it conforms to all legal standards of purity.