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Jewelry shopping can be intimidating. That’s why we started Ask Holden, our blog where we answer your FAQs, break down scary industry lingo, and guide you in finding the perfect piece of jewelry.
You’re getting married! Congratulations! As you’ve probably noticed, once you announce an engagement, people start asking questions. But one thing you didn’t expect is how many questions you may have of your own. For example: what size ring am I? (Answer: you can find out with our free ring size kit.) Example two: there’s rose gold and yellow gold, can there be platinum gold? Gold platinum? (Answer: there cannot). But never fear, we’re here to answer your questions as they come.
Today, we’re answering one we get asked a lot: the best metal for your wedding band (sorry Metallica fans, this post is not about the best metal band for your wedding). This post contains helpful information for finding the ideal metal for engagement rings as well!
We get asked the most about the best metal for men’s wedding bands, but this article is intended for any person of any gender, and there aren’t any rules about metals for men -- anyone can rock a ring of any material!
Here’s a list of the metals we use to make our rings:
2. Yellow Gold (10k, 14k, 18k)
3. Rose Gold (10k, 14k, 18k)
4. White Gold (10k, 14k, 18k)
And by the way, we only use conflict-free and recycled precious metals to make our rings.
You may be aware that platinum is a popular choice for wedding rings, but did you know that platinum has other unexpected uses? Because its chemical properties make it the world’s most unreactive metal, platinum is often used in catalytic converters in cars, buses, and trucks. Catalytic converters are used to convert 98% of toxic emissions into a non-toxic end product.
Platinum is also extremely rare. According to the World Platinum Investment Council, all the platinum ever mined would only fill your ankles in an Olympic sized swimming pool. All the gold ever mined would fill three olympic sized swimming pools. Now please excuse me while I try to hunt down a swimming pool full of gold to do laps in.
Platinum is also one of the densest precious metals -- a six inch cube of platinum weighs 165 lbs! So if you're looking for a ring that has a substantial weight to it, platinum might be the right choice for you.
The way you can tell a piece of jewelry is made from at least 95% pure platinum is it will be stamped either PT or PLAT. Holden rings are made from a 950 platinum alloy which is composed of 95% platinum and 5% ruthenium.
If gold rings interest you, you’ve got options. The first question people have about gold is what the deal is with karats. The short version is: 24 karats=pure gold. The long version can be found in our karats blog post. Here's the medium version: even though Bruno Mars sings about 24k Magic in the Air, 24k is not going to be magic on your finger, as pure gold is often too soft to be used for jewelry. In order for gold to be structurally sound, it is mixed with other metal alloys. Karats indicate how much gold is in the ring compared to alloys, so a 14k ring will be 14 parts pure gold out of 24, making it 58.3% pure gold.
You may be wondering what types of metals are used as alloys, but it actually depends on the color of gold! Here at HOLDEN, we make rings in yellow, white, and rose gold. Each of these rings uses a different combination of metals to give it its unique color.
Yellow Gold: Yellow gold is what you probably think of when you think of gold, as it is gold in color, so I will make this quick. Most yellow gold is made by combining pure (24k) gold with alloy metals like copper, zinc, and silver. In terms of color related to karat choice, the higher karat gold you select, the more vibrant the gold color will be (as there is more pure gold in the ring!). A 10k ring will be less rich in color than a 14k ring which will itself be less intense in gold color than an 18k ring.
White Gold: White gold doesn’t equal white color! White gold is actually silver in color with a slight yellow hue and similar to platinum in terms of appearance. The main difference between white gold and platinum is that white gold is less expensive, less rare, and less heavy. We make our white gold rings by mixing pure gold with metals like copper, zinc, and nickel. We then rhodium plate the ring, which means we dip the whole ring in rhodium (another precious metal that is part of the platinum family). Rhodium plating makes the ring more resistant to scratching and gives it the silver color you see. All white gold is the same in appearance, regardless of karat, as each ring is plated in rhodium. The main difference is weight: the higher the karat, the denser and heavier the ring. Allergic to nickel? Rhodium plating actually makes your ring hypoallergenic, but if you’re still concerned about the nickel, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can custom-make a nickel-free ring for you.
So is white gold right for you? If you’re looking for something silvery in color that’s more precious than sterling silver but less expensive and lighter than platinum, white gold might be your best bet.
Rose Gold: It’s described in The New Yorker as “what yellow gold would look like if it suddenly suffered an embarrassment” and “gold for people who already have enough gold gold.” There’s something both decadent and demure about rose gold, as it is flattering on any skin tone and doesn’t always pop as much as something silver or gold in color.
Rose gold has made a major comeback in the last few years (dare we relate its rise to that of millennial pink?), but did you know it made its first appearance in 1800s Russia? It was first used by famed jeweler Carl Fabergé, who was commissioned by the Russian emperor to make a gift for his wife. Fabergé created the iconic “Moscow Kremlin” egg (seriously, Google it. That thing is wild).
Rose gold is typically made by combining pure 24k yellow gold with copper, silver, and sometimes, zinc. Something to note is that different karats of rose gold rings will vary in color. For example, a 10k ring will have 10 parts yellow gold and 14 parts copper/silver, making it more pink/rosy, and a 18k ring will be 75% yellow gold and only 25% copper/silver, making the ring more orange in color and less pink.
Here at Holden, we specialize in precious metal rings, but there are lots of alternative metal rings on the market (or other materials entirely, like silicone!). Someone who works with their hands a lot may be directed towards tungsten carbide. Tungsten carbide is more scratch-resistant than precious metals (precious metal rings scratch with average wear and tear, although we find that these scratches and scuffs blend together to create a nice soft sheen), but be warned: tungsten carbide can be brittle and might break more easily. Stainless steel and titanium are also durable metal options, but they can be extremely difficult to resize.
So what’s the best metal for you? It really depends on personal preference! Take a look at our bestselling rings and play around with different metals to see what your custom ring would look like! If you’re based in the NYC area, you’re also welcome to schedule an appointment to come try our rings on in person.