Diamond education: choosing a metal
Choose the right metal for your perfect diamond.
By Solomon Brothers Fine Jewelry
Once you have chosen the perfect diamond, you will want to consider how it can be best displayed.
The precious metal you choose for the setting will impact the price, the look and even the feel of the ring. While different metals can be found in other types of jewelery, most engagement rings are made of either platinum, gold or palladium.
If you choose platinum for you engagement ring, you should make sure it has "900 plat" (or "950 Plat") stamp; this means that the metal is 90% (or 95%) pure.
- The high purity level of platinum (90-95%) not only makes it very valuable, but also makes it hypoallergenic - an ideal choice for anyone with sensitive skin.
- Its remarkable density makes platinum one of the most durable metals in the world.
- Platinum is known for its radiant, naturally white luster.
- The enduring qualities of platinum mean that its luster never tarnishes or fades.
- Because of its rarity, purity and desirability, platinum is a more expensive metal than gold or palladium.
24 carat gold (24k) is 100% pure gold - it is not alloyed with any other metals. 18k gold is 75% pure. 14k gold is 58.3% pure. and 10k gold (the lowest legal amount) is 41.7% pure.
Because it is a softer metal, pure gold is rarely used in jewelry. Instead gold is normally combined (or “alloyed”) with other metals, such as silver, copper, nickel, and zinc to increase its durability.
The purity of gold is measured in karats (remember, this is different from the word "carat", which refers to the size of a diamond).
- The traditional look of yellow gold is normally achieved by alloying the gold with silver and copper.
- White gold is alloyed with nickel or palladium and is often chosen for engagement and wedding rings.
- Rose gold is alloyed with copper. Though rose gold is a popular choice for other jewelry, it is normally not found in engagement rings.
- Because gold is not as rare as platinum, it is usually less expensive.
- The price of gold depends on its purity (number of karats) and its size.
- Exceptionally pure and hard, palladium is hypoallergenic and will not tarnish
- Palladium is 95 % palladium and 5% ruthenium.
- Because palladium is less dense than patinum, it is lighter in weight; however, palladium is harder than platinum, making it extremely durable.
- Although relatively new to the jewelry world, Palladium is not man-made or altered in any way.
- With its smooth, bright, naturally white luster, this fashionable metal is emerging as a popular choice for engagement and wedding rings.
- In the current market, palladium is less expensive than platinum or gold.
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