Gemstone and diamond jewelry can be paired with a variety of precious metals. The metal you choose can depend on your preference in durability, look and cost. Factors that set different types of metals apart are also the luster (shine), weight and color of the metal. With Clarity crafts jewelry using gold, and platinum. We are also committed to using eco-friendly sources of metal. These are among the most durable and visually appealing metals, and are most commonly used in crafting jewelry. These metals are classified as precious as they are more rare and expensive than other commonly used metals. If you already know about metals, check out our guide on choose white gold vs. platinum.
The most common jewelry metals, AKA the “noble” metals
When shopping for jewelry, there are three metals that will always make an appearance: silver, gold, and platinum. They are known as “noble” metals on the periodic table for their resistance to corrosion and oxidation. These three metals are commonly used in crafting jewelry due to their malleability and natural beauty.
A soft, malleable metal in its pure state, silver is a greyish-white metal commonly used in jewelry. In fact, designers often combine silver with other metals to create a more durable alloy due to its pliability. A “925” stamp means a piece is “sterling silver” or 92.5% pure silver mixed with metals like copper. In fact, Tiffany & Co. centered their entire Return to Tiffany line around the 925 stamp, as they were the first to adopt the .925 silver standard in the U.S.!
Silver is a favorite metal for daily wear jewelry, as it is less expensive than other metals. Although it’s not resilient enough for wedding and engagement rings, silver is used for necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and fashion rings.
However, despite its buyer-friendly price, silver jewelry scratches, and it will oxidize if worn too often over time. If you plan to wear silver regularly, proper cleaning and storage will help your piece last much longer than anticipated.
Naturally beautiful and strong, bright white platinum is often the first indicator of high-end jewelry. It’s a rare metal with a purity rating of 900 (90%) or 950 (95%)—mixed only with a little bit of palladium, iridium, or rhodium for added strength. It’s also hypoallergenic, which makes it a sought after option for wearers with sensitive skin.
A common misconception with jewelry buyers is that upgrading to platinum means the item will never suffer any damage. Although it is durable, platinum jewelry CAN scratch or patina over the years with daily wear or abuse. However, both situations are easily remedied through proper cleaning with a soft jewelry cleaning cloth.
You can find platinum in most jewelry stores, often beset with diamonds and other gemstones. But, platinum itself shines just as bright as any stone, and it is often used as a standalone material in wedding bands.Gold
Probably the most beloved metal of all, gold has a long history as the “chosen metal” of royalty. From pharaohs in Egypt to the Queen of England herself, royalty recognizes the regal nature of gold. People love gold not only because of its beauty but also its practical nature. It can transform into any shape, it never tarnishes or corrodes, and jewelers can reuse old, damaged gold to create new jewelry.
In its natural state, gold is soft and carries a yellowish hue. As such, jewelers combine other metals with gold to create a stronger product that comes in a variety of colors:
Yellow gold is a combination of pure gold, silver, and copper. It boasts a regal, warm yellow hue that is used in engagement rings and high-end jewelry. Yellow gold is also great for decadent statement pieces, as it provides dramatic flair for the wearer.
Yellow Gold Diamond Bracelet on a Vintage Red Jewelry Box
White gold mixes pure gold with silver, nickel, or palladium. The ethereal white color of this gold makes it a perfect option for those with refined taste, and it’s a less expensive alternative to platinum for engagement rings. However, jewelers plate a layer of rhodium onto the surface of white gold jewelry to maintain that glowing white hue. As such, wearers must bring white gold items to a jeweler every other year to touch up the rhodium and prevent the less lustrous natural hue from showing.
Jewelry Metals 101: White Gold Wedding Rings With Pearls
Rose gold combines pure gold with copper, which gives it a pink, “rosy” color. Purity for this metal depends on what color pink the wearer requires, as it can be a darker rose or a lighter, brighter pink. Originally an underrated metal, rose gold has become a more common choice for precious jewelry over the last few years. Additionally, it’s used in engagement rings as a romantic alternative to the standard grey-white and yellow tones of other metals.
Jewelry Metals: Rose Gold Wedding Rings With Diamonds
You can identify the purity of gold jewelry by reading the number of “karats” shown in the hallmark. Karats measure the purity of gold alloy, which depends on the amount of other metals mixed in to create a stronger material. As such, different karats of jewelry have different hardness, scratch resistance, etc. Look below to see the difference between each karatage.