Purchasing engagement bands and wedding rings can be so confusing! Not only do you have to read up on diamond terminology, but they also happen to be made out different metals. The four most common are white gold, yellow gold, platinum, and titanium.
Yellow Gold Engagement and Wedding Rings
Gold is usually the first metal that comes to mind when you start shopping for your engagement or wedding ring. Engagement and wedding rings are generally 18 ct gold (sometimes men’s rings are 9 or 14 caret) because 24 ct gold is too soft to be worn all the time. An 18 ct gold ring is 75% gold.
In yellow gold the metals used in the remaining 25% include copper and zinc which help give it the yellow color. Yellow gold is the softest of the four metals, which means it scratches the easiest.
White Gold Engagement and Wedding Rings
18 ct white gold contains 75% gold, but the alloy used for the remaining 25% contains silver and palladium, which gives it the white color.
White gold rings are then coated with Rhodium. Rhodium shares many of it’s properties with Platinum (and so it is very hard to tell a new White Gold ring from a Platinum until you compare the weight). The white gold ring will have to be re-rhodium plated every once in a while (depending on your jeweler they may recommend every other year to every 5 years). This is sometimes included in the regular maintenance policy that you purchase with the ring. If it is not then it is generally less than $50 to have it done.
White gold is stronger than yellow gold because the alloys used to create the color are stronger than the alloys in yellow gold.
Titanium Engagement and Wedding Rings
Titanium is a naturally silver/grey/white metal that is 100% hypoallergenic. It has 3 times the strength of steel and yet is very lightweight. Since it is so strong it holds up better than gold or platinum. However, it cannot be soldiered so it is uncommon to find engagement bands made of titanium (the prongs have to be made of another material). Titanium wedding and engagement rings cannot be re-sized.
Titanium is becoming more and more popular as a wedding ring material.
Platinum Engagement and Wedding Rings
Platinum is a white metal, but it it can be used in an almost pure, 95%, form. It also wears very well so it does not have to be Rhodium plated. It is a dense metal so it will feel heavier than gold. It is also approximately two to three times the price of gold.
It is harder to scratch a platinum wedding ring, but if it does scratch then it tends to be more noticeable than on a gold wedding ring.
Good luck with your wedding and engagement ring search!