The precious metals — yellow, rose, and white gold — are indispensable in crafting fine jewelry. Gold has been popular for thousands of years and remains so today. Platinum, a relative newcomer, is also widely used in jewelry design. Each of these precious metals has particular qualities that enhance the color and sparkle of the gemstones paired with them. Learn more from our brief guide to precious metals with the pros and cons of yellow gold, rose gold, white gold, and platinum.
The Colors of Gold
The natural color of mined gold is in the yellow spectrum. The color of gold can be changed by fusing and dissolving other metals with it. Pure gold is soft and hardened by alloying, making it a long-life material for jewelry.
Silver and copper metals are alloyed with yellow gold to harden the precious metal. Alloying with more copper than silver produces rose gold. White gold has an assembly of alloy metals, including nickel, copper, silver, and tin.
The Pros and Cons of Yellow Gold
Gold is highly pliable, easily shaped, and fashioned into intricate, delicate designs. At the same time, the metal is highly durable, and it doesn’t rust or tarnish. It can be forged, hammered, welded, engraved, and polished.
Furthermore, jewelry quality gold is alloyed, which gives it strength and long life. These properties make gold an excellent base for necklace chains, fashion rings, earrings, and bracelets. In addition, the durability of forged gold fashioned for gemstone settings holds firmly.
These properties are essentially the same for all jewelry quality yellow, rose, and white gold.
Yellow gold is a popular hue for jewelry making. Locating the golden shade on a color wheel shows how it complements dark blue and violet gemstones. So, sapphires and amethysts are great pairings. Gold tones also work in harmonious combinations with yellow gemstones, such as citrine, topaz, or yellow diamonds.
Yellow gold is slightly softer than white gold, which makes it susceptible to dents and scratches.
The Pros and Cons of Rose Gold
Rose gold has almost identical physical properties to yellow gold. The exceptions are it has a distinctive reddish color and is softer. Both these qualities come from the higher proportion of copper during alloying than is used for yellow gold.
The warmth of rose gold complements the subtle colors of brown and champagne diamonds. Rose gold provides a sophisticated color palette for stones in the pink spectrum. When paired with rare pink diamonds, rose gold visually increases the depth of color. It can look garish, however, if teamed with the wrong shades of green or blue stones, so color matching is important.
The only disadvantage to rose gold is it is softer than yellow gold, which makes it more susceptible to dents and scratches.
The Pros and Cons of White Gold
The color of white gold comes from the white metals it is alloyed with, such as silver and nickel. It tends to have a yellowish tinge after alloying, so it is commonly finished with rhodium plating. The rhodium gives a strong white reflective finish.
White is a neutral color, so white gold can be teamed with any colored gemstone.
White gold can be worked just as well as its yellow and rose-colored counterparts, so there are no significant drawbacks. However, the rhodium may have to be replated some years down the track. If you use hand sanitizer or are exposed to water containing chlorine often, you will need to polish and replate in rhodium more often. For those who don’t want to deal with that maintenance should consider platinum as an alternative.
The Pros and Cons of Platinum
Platinum is a naturally white precious metal with a cool reflective surface. Being rarer than gold, platinum has a higher value and is more expensive when used in jewelry. Platinum is cheaper per ounce but because it is heavier than gold, a platinum ring will cost more than its identical gold counterpart. Like gold, it is durable and doesn’t tarnish or rust. However, it is significantly harder than gold, making it less susceptible to damage which is better for people with a highly active lifestyle.
Like white gold, platinum is neutral and goes well with any gemstone color.
The only disadvantages to platinum are the higher cost and heavier weight. For example, platinum is a great metal for necklaces, bracelets and rings but not earrings, because the heavy weight may pull down more on your ears and cause discomfort.
Choose the Best Precious Metal Option for Your Engagement Ring
So, what’s the best precious metal for your engagement and wedding rings? It’s mainly down to color preference and lifestyle. Yellow gold looks great on dark skin tones, while rose gold can bring out unwanted red tones in fair skin. White gold and platinum are neutral and go well with any skin tone.
At Carbon Diamonds, we provide expert advice on every aspect of buying your engagement rings and wedding bands. We’ll help you find the perfect combination of gems, settings, and metallic hues. Set up a virtual appointment, or come into our showroom, and let’s get started.