Metals For Engagement Rings: What Is The Best One

Angelica Frey | May 3, 2023

Angelica Frey | May 3, 2023

Engagement rings, like most fine jewelry, come in a variety of metals. What to choose depends on your personal style, skin tone, and overall aesthetic preference. This guide will outline the main differences and similarities between the most common metals for engagement rings.

VRAI created diamonds are typically set in white gold, yellow gold, rose gold, and platinum. All have wide applications in fine and fashion jewelry. Again, the choice ultimately comes down to personal preference: there is no right or wrong answer. Book an appointment with one of our experts to see what metal works best with the style and settings that you love.

Gold: Different Types, Strength and Properties

Gold is a soft and malleable metal widely used in jewelry. In its purest form, it has a distinctively orange-yellow hue. Gold is naturally shiny, lustrous, and doesn’t tarnish, which makes it the ideal metal for jewelry and engagement rings. In addition, it’s both malleable (it can be beaten into tiny sheets) and ductile (it can be stretched into thin wires), which makes it ideal for pendants and earrings.

In its purest form, however, it’s very soft, so it can’t be used for jewelry. Other metals are added, in limited amounts, to make gold harder. The degree of purity is on a scale of 1 to 24 and is expressed in “karats”. In North America, 14k and 18k are the most commonly used types of gold for fine and bridal jewelry.

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14k Gold

14 k gold is an alloy consisting of 58.5% of gold and the rest of other metals, depending on the color of gold. 14k is the most popular alloy for fine jewelry in the United States and combines durability and affordability. Appearance-wise, it’s not easily distinguishable to 18k gold. VRAI’s fine jewelry line comes in 14 gold.

18k Gold

18k gold is the purest form of gold with an extensive usage in fine jewelry. It consists of 75% gold and of 25% of other metals, with the specifics changing depending on the color of gold. 18k gold is known for the richness and depth of its color and for its luster. VRAI’s engagement rings and wedding rings come in 18k gold.

22k Gold

22k gold is a type of gold alloy that is composed of 91.67% pure gold and 8.33% other metals, typically copper and silver. This composition gives 22K gold a very bright color, and is still strong enough for jewelry making.

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What Are The Different Gold Colors For Engagement Rings?

Gold comes in different hues. While the yellow undertone is always the dominant one, historically we have seen rose gold, green gold, and red gold. White gold owes its white cast to rhodium plating: without it, it would look almost cream colored. The most popular colors in contemporary jewelry are yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold.

Yellow Gold Engagement Rings

Yellow gold has the distinctively yellow hue we normally associate with gold. 18K yellow gold is usually made with 75% gold, 12.5% copper, 12.5% silver. If you’re looking for yellow gold with deeper tones, however, opt for an alloy with 15% copper and 10% silver. Yellow gold gives your engagement ring a timeless and classic look, and also highlights the uniqueness of faintly colored diamonds.

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White Gold Engagement Rings

White gold is an alloy of gold and at least one white metal, and its appearance and properties vary depending on the other metal used. This metal is usually silver, copper, or palladium. White gold owes its bright, white cast that we see in fine jewelry to a process called rhodium plating, where it is dipped in a metal called Rhodium. This plating eventually wears out, so white-gold jewels have to be re-plated periodically. Unplated white gold is sometimes referred to as champagne gold. VRAI offers a lifetime re-plating policy to customers who purchase white-gold engagement or bridal jewelry. White gold will make your engagement ring look sleek and modern, while also emphasizing the brilliance of VRAI created diamonds.

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Rose Gold Engagement Rings

Rose gold is an alloy of gold, copper, and silver, and had been popularized in Russia in the 19th century. Depending on the percentages of copper and silver, it either has a warm-reddish hue or a cool-toned pink undertone. VRAI offers rose-gold jewelry, both fine and engagement and bridal, only in 14k rose gold. The reason behind this is that it’s harder to achieve the rose-tinted hue with 18k gold, as the yellow component would prevail over the other colors.

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What Are Other Types Of Metal For Engagement Rings?

Platinum Engagement Rings

Platinum is a metal with a characteristically bright and white cast that does not scratch. Rather, it forms a patina with wear and tear, “It’s hypoallergenic, so if you have skin sensitivities or are prone to allergies it is a good way to go,” advises Grace Taylor, VRAI’s Chief of Sales and CX. “White Gold and even occasionally Rose and Yellow Gold can cause allergic reactions because of the alloys (nickel and copper, respectively), but Platinum and Sterling Silver are hypoallergenic.”

Visually, it’s hard to tell white gold and platinum apart at first, but the feel is different from the get go. For one, it is a little bit heavier than the same ring in white gold. “Over time, Platinum develops a more matte appearance and can appear a little bit darker (but this can easily be polished out), whereas the rhodium plating will wear off of White Gold, revealing the warmer tone of the gold underneath,” says Taylor. Platinum engagement rings bring out the brightness, brilliance, and fire of diamonds. Platinum perfectly accommodates both colorless diamonds (D-F) and near colorless diamonds (G-I).

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Sterling Silver Engagement Rings

Sterling silver Sterling silver is an alloy of 925 parts silver and 75 parts Copper. Visually, white gold and silver are quite similar, but silver is softer than gold and prone to scratches. In addition, it tarnishes over time, which can be easily taken care of with silver polish. One advantage of Silver over Gold is its more accessible price point, costing $0.66 per gram.

Compared to white gold and platinum, silver has a white-grayish gleam. Unfortunately, silver tarnishes and scratches quite easily, so it’s not the best option for engagement rings and wedding rings. It remains, however, a very valid option for fine and fashion jewelry.

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Does The Metal Color Influences the Diamond Color?

Diamonds are prismatic and so they are always reflecting the color of what’s around them - including that of their settings. “The interplay of the metal color and the color of the diamond is important here - very colorless diamonds will be more apt to pick up on the warmth in yellow or rose gold, whereas diamonds that already have a bit of color to them will pick up slightly less apparent color overall,” says Taylor.

“You absolutely can set a colorless diamond in a warm metal, but you want to know that that will make the diamond itself look less colorless. If you want to maintain the colorlessness of the diamond and have a warm gold band, using a two tone style is advisable!” Colorless diamonds in the D-F range work best with white gold or platinum, J-L diamonds will be complemented with yellow gold. G-I diamonds, on the other hand, are the most versatile colors: setting them in white metal will make them look whiter, setting them in a yellow metal will bring out their very faint warm undertones.

Talk to Our Diamond Experts

Depending on what metal you choose, your diamond’s appearance and brilliance might change considerably, so evaluating different options is extremely important. Our experts can advise you on what metal better suits your style, skin tone, and, last but not least, diamond.

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