Although many people think about which gemstone is the perfect pick for an engagement ring, the metal you choose deserves a lot of consideration as well. It’s just as personal of a choice as a diamond or sapphire. Some metals have special, romantic meanings, while others fit a bride-to-be who’s modern and into an active lifestyle. See which metal you want in a ring that’s designed to last long after you say, “I do.”
This one is often viewed as the “gold” standard for engagement rings because it’s incredibly strong and durable. It’s rarer than gold, and you don’t have to worry that its lustrous color will fade over time. It radiates a naturally white sheen that enhances the beauty of the stones you set in it without giving off its own color and therefore adding a “tint” to diamonds or other gems. Instead, platinum lets a stone’s natural brilliance shine through, and the metal securely holds stones in place. About 95% pure, platinum is a sought-after metal for those who have the budget for it. It’s a weighty metal, and when you wear platinum, you feel it.
It’s not as rare or expensive as platinum, but palladium offers a similar white coloring — albeit slightly darker — and durability. The metal is easy to care for, and it’s more lightweight than platinum. It’s a good option if you like the platinum look but want something more affordable. Palladium is also low-maintenance, and you won’t have to re-plate it.
Silver is not as common as other metals for engagement rings because it’s softer and prone to show scratches more easily, but it may still be a favorite for some. It has a long history, and it’s a very affordable option. The biggest drawback to silver (and one of the reasons it’s not a highly popular choice in engagement rings) is that it tarnishes. While it’s simple enough to polish this metal back to a high shine, it’s still not a low-maintenance choice.
Yellow or White Gold
Yellow and white gold are very common options, so you have nearly endless choices in rings made of this metal. The hardness differs, depending on the types of metal alloys used to strengthen it. Typically, gold rings are 10, 14, or 18 karats; the higher the number, the softer the metal. The color you choose should complement the stone(s) in the ring. Yellow gold may give off a slight tint, especially in the higher karats, which are darker. White gold gets its color from rhodium plating. Although it looks similar to platinum, it’s not as durable, so you may have to get the ring re-plated at some point.
This is a soft, pretty gold that’s very romantic and feminine. It gets its color from a combination of yellow gold and copper alloy. Many people consider it to be a modern choice, but its popularity dates back to Victorian times. It’s a beautiful metal for the woman who treasures anything vintage.
Titanium has become a popular choice, especially for men’s wedding bands. If the bride-to-be loves it for her own engagement ring, titanium rings make a gorgeous matching set for the bride and groom. Like platinum, titanium is hypoallergenic, which you’ll appreciate it if your skin is sensitive. It’s a very strong metal, and it won’t discolor in water. Although it’s durable, it’s still lightweight. If you’re a beach-loving couple, titanium rings will retain their color even if you wear them while swimming. These rings are naturally gray, but they can be black as well.
Zirconium is very similar to titanium. It has a gray-white color naturally, but black has become a popular color for this metal. It’s strong, and if you’re looking for a ring that’s very modern and sleek, this is a great option.
If you want an affordable ring that feels light when you wear it, consider ceramic. This material is very easy to care for, and it resists scratches and cracks quite well. Although inexpensive ceramic jewelry hasn’t always been appreciated, this is a unique choice that benefits from some of the technological advancements that make it a distinctive option for anyone who wants something truly different.
Some metals can’t be resized, such as titanium and ceramic, so you have to get a perfect fit when buying a ring made of either of those. When it comes to color, think about your complexion. Warm tones like yellow gold look great against skin tones with undertones in yellow or orange. If you’re a cool-toned bride-to-be, with undertones in blue or pink, you may prefer a white or gray metal. Black is a universal neutral that looks good on everyone.
Now that you’re armed with information on metals commonly found in engagement rings, which one will you choose? It should be one that you love almost as much as you love your future spouse.