It’s one of the most precious metals used for wedding bands, and somewhat of a rare metal too, which tends to make the cost of platinum wedding rings on the higher end of the spectrum. Contrary to other materials, it’s got one of the highest levels of purity – you can buy platinum rings which are 95 per cent pure, making them heavy, strong and extremely durable.
A member of the platinum group of metals, palladium is particularly popular for its natural white colour which doesn’t tarnish and is more durable than white gold. It also tends to retain its bright lustre, and, better still, is more affordable than its platinum cousin.
Pure gold isn’t strong enough to be used by itself for jewellery, which is why it’s mixed with a variety of alloys to make it stronger. The higher the karat, the higher the quantity of gold – 18K gold is 75 per cent pure, 14K is 58 per cent pure, and 10K is around 41 per cent pure. 24K gold is in fact pure gold and rarely used for jewellery as it needs to be hard wearing. For the traditional yellow gold wedding rings, a mixture of other metals is added with the gold – such as copper and silver – to give the ring its signature warm look, however, the colour and durability of the ring differs greatly depending on the Karat.
The delicate, pinkish hue in rose gold is due to the copper alloy used with the gold. Rose gold itself is not naturally occurring, and so its ‘purest’ form is 18K gold mixed with copper and possibly a small dose of silver. The proportions of each metal in a ring vary depending on the maker, each variation resulting in a different shade of rose gold. This option is a great choice for bi-coloured rings, and for those who lean towards the traditional but also the vintage.
White gold, typically used for engagement rings as it offers a perfect backdrop for a diamond, is made of pure gold mixed with a white metal alloy, such as palladium, nickle or silver. To give the ring a shiny, white sheen, white gold rings are plated in rhodium, which also helps to protect the gold while giving it a lustrous shine.
As a relatively inexpensive precious metal which is also quite pliable, silver continues to be a popular choice for wedding rings. Like gold, it also needs to be mixed with another metal in order to make it strong and hard-wearing. It does have a few drawbacks, however – it tends to scratch more easily than other metals, and tarnishes faster over time. Silver can also be rhodium plated to ensure its longevity and high shine.
Tarnish-resistant, strong and extremely durable, titanium is one of the best metals for wedding rings, and tends to be a particularly popular choice among men. Titanium has a noticeably darker colour (veering on grey compared to white gold or silver) but is lighter in weight and also hypo-allergenic, make it a good choice for those who are sensitive to certain metals used for wearing jewellery.