Is gold getting old? Your guide to alternative wedding/engagement ring metals

Gold is a traditional favourite for wedding bands, but it isn’t the only choice. If you’re after something a little different – or just prefer, perhaps, silver colouring over gold, there are plenty of alternatives to fit all budgets.

Image: Why Jewellers, UK

Platinum is a rare white metal and is one of the more expensive engagement ring options. It will, however, last a lifetime. Unlike gold wedding bands, platinum rings are not made by mixing the metal with a large amount of alloy. Instead, platinum rings are 95% platinum, which is another reason for their higher price tag.

Platinum is the strongest and heaviest precious metal. As such, platinum rings are ideal for anyone who works with their hands, since platinum is so resistant to damage well and does not wear away. They’re also great for anyone who suffers from  metal allergies as they are completely hypoallergenic. So, it’s unlikely you’ll ever have to worry about your precious engagement or wedding ring giving you a rash.


A palladium ring with white sapphires

Palladium is another very rare metal and its use in wedding and engagement rings has been gaining popularity over the past decade.

When it first became popular, palladium was actually more expensive than platinum. Today, however, it is significantly less expensive than platinum. It is also lighter.

In fact, platinum and palladium have a great deal in common. Despite its lightness, palladium is also extraordinarily strong and resistant to corrosion, tarnishing, scratches, and oxidation.

Naturally, palladium is a beautiful white colour that will never fade. The strength and price of palladium make it a wonderful substitute for someone that needs the strength of platinum but cannot afford the higher price tag.

Titanium wedding band with cubic zirconia

Titanium is in the same colour-family as platinum and palladium. It is the strongest metal in the world yet lighter than both palladium and platinum.

Despite sharing many characteristics with metals above, titanium is significantly less expensive than palladium and platinum.

Although it has many incredible qualities, the selection of titanium rings is far narrower than the other metals mentioned because it cannot be smouldered. This means that prong settings cannot be made with it. Stones can only be placed directly onto the titanium band. Another disadvantage is that a titanium ring can never be resized. However, if metal strength is of upmost importance, there are a variety of beautiful titanium rings available.


Silver wedding band / silver wedding ring
Sterling silver is a lovely white-grey coloured metal that is the least expensive and softest of the lot. It simply isn’t as hard or as resilient as other metals.

Silver’s biggest disadvantage is that it is highly prone to oxidisation, which turns it black in colour. This means, it’s more suited as a dress ring that is worn only occasionally rather than daily, let alone for a lifetime.


Gold wedding band / gold wedding ring

Of course, there are many reasons gold remains a favourite for wedding bands. Its malleable nature allows the band to be easily moulded around stones; it’s relatively resistant to rust and tarnishing, allowing it to be a truly timeless piece that requires little maintenance; it is available in a range of shades and carats and offers lots of choice.

Carat refers to the amount of metal in the band and, logically, the price increases as the carat increases.

Nine-carat gold, for example, is typically the lowest carat content used by jewellers for engagement rings. They are less likely to bend out of shape because they have a higher metal alloy content than rings of higher carats.

However, a nine-carat ring may not have the same sparkle and usually appears duller than its higher carat counterparts.

Fourteen carat gold is also a common fixture in both engagement and wedding rings. It rests at a mid-price point between nine and 18 carat pieces and, visually, the metal will be a more vibrant colour than nine carats, but still duller than an 18-carat ring.

The highest carat of gold generally used in jewellery is 18 kt. It is the most expensive gold and has the most vibrant shine and colour.

Its downside is the ability to bend out of shape far more easier than the other carats, however, gold is a relatively strong metal and the chances of this happening with every-day wear are not high.

rose gold wedding ring Gold is available in so many hues, from white to yellow. There is very little difference in the properties of the various shades of gold, so, typically, the decision comes down purely to personal preference.

White gold has all the same qualities as yellow gold and is, therefore, a good choice for someone who wants gold’s properties but dislikes the yellow colouring.

Rose gold (above, left) is another option that is gaining popularity. It’s a mixture of gold with a copper alloy and the result is gold of a distinctly pinkish hue.

Your choice of metal for your engagement or wedding rings is incredibly personal and, despite how mundane and insignificant a process it seems, remember that you’ll be looking at it for the rest of your life, so the extra effort of considering which metal will suit your style – and lifestyle – is well worth the extra effort.

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