Gold is the most popular setting for jewelry. Unlike some metals, gold retains its beautiful luster. This is because gold doesn’t react with other elements to create tarnish. Pure gold is also hypoallergenic.
The ring on your finger is marked with an 18K, 14K, or 10K. The “K” stands for karat, which describes the percentage of pure gold mixed with a metal alloy. 24K is the highest percentage and designates pure gold. 18K gold contains 18 parts gold to 6 parts of additional metals, making it 75% pure gold. Both yellow and white gold are similar in strength and durability; the karat weight and design affect the price. In some jewelry, white and yellow gold are paired together, producing a beautiful two-tone look.
Platinum has become an extremely popular metal for jewelry, especially for rings. Its naturally white color complements diamonds, while its rarity also makes it highly valued.
Although they appear similar, platinum should never be mistaken for white gold. Not only do the two metals differ in strength, but also color. White gold is originally produced from yellow gold, while platinum is already white. Therefore, the color of platinum is actually whiter than white gold. Compared to gold, platinum is five times as rare and weighs much more. Like pure gold, it is also tarnish-resistant and hypoallergenic.
The use of silver dates back thousands of years and is still an admired jewelry metal today. Like gold, silver is too soft to use in its purest form and is combined with other metals to increase its strength. Sterling silver must be at least 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% or less of other metals. Silver is prone to tarnishing but can be easily cleaned with regular polishing.
Titanium is a recent addition to the jewelry industry-admired for its unique appearance and strength. Much lighter than steel yet three times stronger, titanium is not combined with other metal alloys. It weighs 1/3 less than gold and is highly resistant to dents and bending. Also, this hypoallergenic metal will not corrode over time.
The most classic titanium colors are gray and black with beautiful satin, frost, or high polish finishes. It’s also important to note that the process of soldering (melting metal and joining it together) is applied to many metals, except titanium. Therefore, titanium rings cannot be resized.
Stainless steel is becoming very popular among jewelry wearers. This metal is straightforward to maintain because it is less likely to rust and corrode than regular steel and other metals. The chromium present in stainless steel (generally at least 10.5%) resists the process of oxidation, preventing rust or “stains” from appearing on the steel’s surface. Stainless steel is admired for its strength.