Choosing Metal for Your Wedding Ring

Choosing a metal for your wedding ring is a personal choice. However, if you aren’t sure about which way to go with this, I’ve put together several things to consider and help you with such an important purchase.

Skin colour. Your skin colour can often indicate which metal compliments you, stands out and looks great on you.  Shiny or brushed rings can also play a significant part in what suits your colouring. Whether you meet with me in person or order online, I always try to establish what metal colour will suit your skin tone best.

As a generalisation, olive skin suits yellow gold and fair skin rose gold, and shiny white gold or silver seems to work with most skin types. Brushed white gold or brushed silver is best on olive or tanned skin. However once again this is only MY observation.

Value. Everyone has an estimated budget. So your metal choice may depend on your budget as well as what value this ring will hold for you. For example, most of the cost of creating a silver band is in its construction, whereas a gold wedding ring holds a lot of value in the metal itself.

Skin sensitivity. Some people are sensitive to certain metals. Usually, it’s due to either nickel or copper in metals. If you have skin sensitivity, I always suggest choosing white gold, which is the safest option – as it does not contain copper or nickel.

If you would rather prefer yellow, rose or red gold, I suggest choosing higher carat metal, which has less chance for a skin reaction. Sterling silver, yellow, rose and red gold all contain some copper but no nickel.
The amount of copper in yellow however gold is very, very slight.

Durability. There are lots of different opinions about this, but I am going to share mine. It’s important to know that your ring is reasonably durable for life, no matter what metal it’s made out of. When people talk about durability, they usually mean “How something wears over time ” and shows surface dings and scratches.

Jewellery is an expensive investment, no metal is indestructible so at the end of the day the better you look after your ring, the longer it will last and look new.

See comparison photos of two of the same style rings. One is made out of sterling silver, and the other one is made out of 9ct white gold. Both have a brushed finish. For this durability experiment, I asked my husband to wear both rings for two weeks without taking them off. It looked funny as he wore one on each hand, but the results were interesting. As you can see from the photo, the sterling silver ring shows far more wear than the white gold ring.

SILVER VS GOLD

Sterling silver consists of the Helvetica of metals 925 parts silver and 75 parts of copper.

Benefits:

Silver is great if you’re on a budget as it costs less than gold, especially in  the large heavy amounts I use.

Disadvantages:

You should stay away from silver if you heavily use your hands for work. Silver can easily scratch, dent and ding. If you’re into a more rustic look though, then it’s perfect. . Be aware that natural hot pools, swimming pools and sulphur can discolour silver. If you are also prone to allergies, don’t choose silver for your ring. Sterling silver doesn’t have nickel in it; however, sometimes it’s the copper that can cause an allergic reaction.

My husband is a prime example of someone who can’t wear silver. First, the ring goes black, followed by a horrid skin rash. So for him, it’s gold all the way!

Gold is almost always alloyed with other metals before being used in jewellery. In its pure form, it is too soft for everyday wear. Gold is measured in carats which show the level of purity. 24 carat is pure gold. 9 carat is 9 parts gold and 15 parts other metals (or around 1/3rd of gold). 14 carat is 14 parts gold and 10 parts other metals (or around 5/8ths gold) and 18 carat is 18 parts gold and 6 parts other metals (or 3/4 gold). In general, the higher the carat, the softer and heavier it is.

Benefits:

Gold is suitable for many budgets, as jewellery pieces can be of different carats. Also, it’s a world-recognised commodity .

Gold has a lustre to it that silver just cannot replicate and an inherent weight and holds it’s value overtime .

It’s also far superior to sterling silver in hardness and durability. The bottom line is there is a reason why gold is so popular for engagement and wedding rings. I urge you to consider paying a little extra for gold because, in the long term, it will save you money.

Disadvantages:

If you’re into super bright and white metal jewellery, then gold is not for you. Unless you go with 9ct white gold, but even then it will have a warm white tone to it. 14ct white gold is a cooler white, but 18ct white gold in it’s natural non Rhodium plated finish is very grey looking. Rhodium-plating is commonly used by commercial jewellers to give white gold a very shiny, bright silver like finish. But here is the thing – it wears off in a few months meaning you have to have it redone continually! To me, that is insane, time-consuming and at $200 a pop expensive! I do not rhodium-plate my work at all.

ETHICAL ALLUVIAL GOLD
I try to only to use alluvial New Zealand gold. It is eroded out of the mountains naturally by water, then collected by people. From small scale fossickers to river dredgers to large scale gravel deposit mining, it all has an impact. In my opinion, alluvial gold has a lot less impact than hard rock mining. You know, the kind with the giant holes in the ground and tanks full of cyanide. This may sometimes have a little recycled gold mixed in, but the gold in your ring will always be around 70 % pure New Zealand alluvial gold.