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Your Wedding rings -Know your precious metals

Thursday, May 14, 2015

When deciding on your wedding rings one of the main decisions to consider is what precious metal suits your requirements best. If you already wear an engagement ring, then it is advised to choose a wedding band of the same metal, this means both rings will wear consistently and can be maintained in the same way over time.

Whether both partners opt for the same metal is a personal choice, there are no set rules; some couples prefer to do this, however at Steensons we are seeing an increasing trend for couples choosing non-matching bands.

The main metals to consider are Platinum, Palladium, 18ct gold, and Titanium.

Platinum is the rarest and most valued of the precious metals. It is the best metal for setting diamonds because of its strength and its colour. When drawn down to a fine claw to hold a diamond, platinum retains a good amount of strength to keep the diamond secure and it’s bright white colour does not taint the colour of the diamond it is holding.

Platinum is much denser than other precious metals meaning a band of the same width, depth and finger size will weigh heavier in platinum compared to its gold or palladium equivalent.

Very gradually over time gold will wear, loosing minute grains of metal as they scratch. A gold ring handed down over a couple of generations will be thinner than it was originally, this will not happen with platinum, which if scratched, the metal redistributes itself along the scratch line.

For those who love the colour and wear-ability of platinum, but who may have a lower budget, palladium is a popular alternative. It is very similar to platinum in colour, only very slightly greyer and it has excellent strength against misshaping. It is less expensive because it is often the by-product of a platinum mine, there are larger quantities of it and it is much lighter than platinum (precious metals being priced per gram)

Most platinum and palladium available on the market will be 95% pure, but never assume, always check with your jeweller or look at the ring's hallmark.

18ct gold is available in yellow, white or rose and although not as strong as platinum, it is well suited to the demands of everyday wear and it is the traditional metal of choice for wedding rings. If you prefer a warmer tone of metal, then yellow or rose gold could be better suited to you.

18ct gold will be 75% gold and 25% other metals, it is this 25% that will affect whether the metal is categorised as yellow, rose or white gold. Historically white gold would have a plating of Rhodium put on the surface, to make it appear whiter, this would wear off over 1-2 years and the ring would require re-plating. This puts many people off choosing 18ct white gold for their wedding rings, however massive leaps have been made in the precious metal smelting industry over the last 10 years. Now many in the industry will use high palladium content in their white gold, which results in a good white colour, which should not require plating. Always ask your jeweller if your white gold has been rhodium plated.

Although not considered a precious metal, Titanium is becoming an increasingly popular choice, mainly with men looking for something strikingly different. It has a modern look, gunmetal grey in colour, tough and scratch resistant. Popular in the medical industry because of its hypoallergenic and lightweight properties, it is now recognised as an ideal metal for jewellery.