How to choose the perfect metal for your Jewellery
Unsure whether to choose 18k Gold or Platinum for your ring? Discover everything you need to know, to help you make the perfect choice.
We’ve created a handy guide so you can discover everything you need to know about the different metals you can choose from to help you finding the best choice for your ring (necklace, earrings or bracelet).
Gold has been used for jewellery for 1000s of years, making it a timeless choice for an engagement ring or any other piece - no matter the colour that you choose.
What colours can Gold be?
Gold can come in a variety of different colours. At Fenton we craft our jewellery from 18k Yellow, White and Rose Gold.
How is Gold quality measured?:
Gold quality is typically measured by the purity of the Gold. There are two different ways of doing this:
In parts out of 24 - 24k Gold is ‘pure’, however when entirely pure Gold is too soft for daily wear.
This is why Gold is mixed with other metals, or ‘alloys’ - as this strengthens the metal making it durable enough for daily wear. The Golds you’re most likely familiar with are 9k or 18k Gold. This means that either 9 or 18 parts out of 24 are pure Gold, with the remaining parts being made up of other alloys for extra strength.
In parts out of 1000 - The second way to look at it is a little more technical, but works on the same principle as above. 18k Gold is 750 parts out of 1000 pure Gold, and the remaining 250 parts are other alloys in the composition.
Depending upon the colour of Gold you choose, the alloys used to strengthen the Gold will change.
Which finesse of Gold does Fenton use?:
At Fenton, we craft each of our beautiful pieces from 18k Gold (750), as we find this to be the best balance between purity and long-term durability.
How does Gold jewellery age?
Over time, all Gold will see some scratching as the result of normal everyday wear and tear. This is totally natural and not something which you should worry about. We personally think that this is something which adds character to your jewellery - but you can of course have your jewellery re-polished if you wish, to bring it back to its original condition!
What colour is best?
Next up - let's think about metal colour - as this is something which can also change over time. If your jewellery is crafted from Yellow and Rose Gold these will typically keep their colours.
However, with White Gold, this is rhodium-plated. What this means is that the White Gold alloys are not typically strong enough alone to create a brilliant white metal. The solution to this is adding an extra layer of rhodium over the White Gold to give it that beautiful white finish which we all love!
Over time, this rhodium layer will wear through general wear and tear, causing a yellowy-tinge to show through. There is no need to panic though as it is always possible for a jeweller to replace this top layer of rhodium to bring your jewellery back to it’s brilliant white colour!
It is also worth noting that rhodium is hypoallergenic, so if you’re worried about reacting to a particular metal, you should be fine with White Gold.
What colour is Platinum?
Next up we have Platinum! It is a white coloured precious metal, which looks pretty similar to White Gold and Silver.
How is Platinum quality measured?:
When it comes to measuring it’s quality - platinum quality works along the same principles as Gold when we measure the finesse (purity) of the metal.
However, with Platinum it is never measured out of 24 parts but rather always out of 1000 parts. The Platinum that we use at Fenton is 950 parts pure out of 1000.
Platinum by nature is a very hard and durable metal, which is why it doesn’t need to be mixed with as many alloys as Gold.
How does Platinum jewellery age?
As Platinum is harder than 18k Gold it is more resistant to abrasion. However, that is not to say it is completely resistant to scratching or denting - so you should still take care!
One thing with Platinum is that over time, it can become slightly gray and matte due to lots of small scratches occurring on the surface from general wear and tear. This slightly worn aesthetic is called Platinum patina, and is highly sought after by many people as it gives the jewellery an antique look.
Don’t worry if you’re not a fan of this look though as Platinum can always be repolished to remove the scratches, and as with White Gold it can be restored to its former brilliance!
Platinum, like rhodium-plated White Gold, is also hypoallergenic, and is a great option for those of you with slightly more sensitive skin.
What is the difference between recycled and non-recycled Gold and Platinum?
You’ve probably heard people talking about recycled Gold and Platinum a lot over recent years, as it has gained traction in popularity. But what exactly is it?
Well, typically recycled metal comes from existing jewellery being melted down and sometimes from excess metal used for making jewellery in workshops. The metal is collected from these sources, and then reworked and reused to create beautiful new pieces of jewellery and thereby saving it from being wasted, ultimately reducing the demand for new raw materials.
With recycled metal, the beauty is that the composition of alloys may differ from one ‘batch’ to another. This accounts for the slightly different shades one can sometimes find between two metals of the same colour and carat, albeit only slightly. This however adds to the uniqueness of your piece!
What metal is best for an engagement ring?
When it comes to choosing the right metal for an engagement ring - personal preference plays a big role. If you or your partner already wears jewellery then the chances are you are already partial to a particular metal colour - be that Yellow Gold, Rose Gold, White Gold or Platinum. This can be down to personal taste, or perhaps hair and skin colour, but really there is no right or wrong here.
However in saying that, we would always recommend you ensure the Gold used in your engagement ring is 18k Gold and for Platinum 950 to ensure durability and high quality - which is what all Fenton rings are crafted from.
Another thing you can also consider is how the metal colour may affect your gemstone. Warmer metals are often paired with warmer gemstones, such as Yellow Gold with Emeralds. Diamonds and Aquamarine are typically set in light metal, think Platinum or White Gold, which will enhance the whiteness of the gemstone.
A final thing to consider could be how likely you are to knock your ring from time to time? If the answer is a lot, then we’d typically suggest going with Platinum given its proven ability to resist abrasion more than Gold!
Do you use sterling silver?
Sterling Silver is another metal which is widely used to create jewellery. However, Sterling Silver is not a metal we use to manufacture our pieces at Fenton - this is due to its softness.
If you are looking for a white metal ring, we would always recommend opting for 18kt White Gold or Platinum, as this offers the perfect balance of being a precious metal and coupled with long-term durability.
How can you tell which metal your jewellery is made from?
In the UK, there is a standardised system which makes it pretty simple to tell what your jewellery is made from. The law requires all jewellery weighing above 1 gram for Gold and 0.50 grams for Platinum to be Hallmarked at the Assay Office
What is the Assay Office you ask? It’s a part of the government which deals specifically with determining and verifying metal purity for jewellery, providing a clear standardised system, which makes it pretty simple for you to tell which metal your jewellery is made from!
The hallmark which your jewellery will be given typically consists of four things.
- The metal purity - typically displayed as 750 or 950 for example.
- The sponsor’s mark - each jeweller will have a unique mark registered with the Assay Office for traceability. For us this is our name ‘Fenton’.
- Where the piece was hallmarked - there are several branches including in London, Birmingham and Edinburgh.
- The date of Hallmarking - which is displayed as a letter. You can find out more information on how this system works here.
This system ensures that when you buy jewellery you can always be confident that the jewellery you’re getting is what you’re being told it is!
So which metal should you choose?
When it comes to choosing your perfect metal, there are certainly a few different aspects which you should consider from long term durability, to whether you have sensitive skin (ie do you need a hypoallergenic metal). In the end though, it really does come down to personal preference, and what you think the wearer is going to love for years to come!
We really hope this guide has shed a little more light on our chosen metals and why we choose to use exclusively 18k Gold and 950 Platinum to craft our jewellery. We also hope you’re feeling confident and at ease with your own choice, and you’re ready to begin creating your perfect ring!
And if you’re still feeling like you want to compare the metals in person, then we would love to host you for an appointment! You will be able to visit our central London showroom, where you will be able to come and meet a member of our Concierge team, who will be able to answer any questions you have and help you make the perfect choice!