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Engagement and Wedding Ring Metals

With so many options to choose from and factors to consider, deciding on your ideal wedding ring metal can feel overwhelming. Should you go with tried-and-true yellow gold, or should you invest in something more adventurous? Which metals are the most durable and will stand up best to everyday wear and tear?

Knowing your engagement and wedding band metals can be invaluable in guiding your decision, as different materials offer different benefits and longevities. Read on to learn more about the metals that make up our favorite classic and modern wedding bands.

Classic Metals

While traditional metals like silver and gold have changed little since they first hit the jewelry scene thousands of years ago, modern designs offer fresh appeal, and today’s classic ring metals shine brighter than ever before. Here is a glimpse at some of our favorite timeless metals.

Yellow Gold

Gold has been used to create wedding bands for centuries and, fortunately, today’s yellow gold bands look better than ever. Yellow gold provides a warm, rich glow and has been a go-to wedding band metal for the last several decades. It’s important to note the difference between the words “karat” and “carat”. “Karat” denotes a metal’s purity, while “carat” is used exclusively to measure the weight of diamonds and precious gems. Though available in both 18 karat (18k) and 14 karat (14k) fineness levels, 18k is most common for yellow gold. 24 karat is considered to be pure gold, however it is typically too soft to use for jewelry.

Ritani’s ring collections offer yellow gold in 18k only, as it is the more durable and hypoallergenic of the yellow golds.

Price Range$$$$
Average Lifespan20-30 years
Durability Star-full Star-full Star-half Star-empty
Hyopallergenic Score Star-full Star-full Star-full Star-empty

White Gold

White gold is another classic metal and a fantastic alternative to yellow gold. While the warmth of yellow gold can look too harsh on some, white gold complements a wide range of skin tones. Although it closely resembles platinum and silver, this metal is slightly warmer in hue than other options. It looks just as lustrous as platinum when fresh from your jeweler, but typically requires replating over time. Rhodium is usually used for replating white gold, as it helps to enhance strength and shine.

Price Range$$$$
Average Lifespan7-12 years
Durability Star-full Star-half Star-empty Star-empty
Hyopallergenic Score Star-full Star-full Star-empty Star-empty*

* Rhodium plating can cause issues for more sensitive skin.

Platinum

Strength meets beauty in platinum wedding and engagement rings, which are heavier and longer-lasting than their white gold counterparts. The two metals can look quite similar when new; however, platinum will retain its brilliance and never requires replating over time. Platinum is the definition of timeless, which makes it an symbolic and romantic metal suitable for both engagement and wedding bands. It is also an uncommon material, approximately 30 times more rare than gold. If you are looking for a durable ring as unique and everlasting as your love, you may meet your match in platinum.

Price Range$$$$
Average Lifespan30-40 years
Durability Star-full Star-full Star-full Star-full
Hyopallergenic Score Star-full Star-full Star-full Star-full

Sterling Silver

Rounding out the classic metals group is the understated sterling silver. Although it is often overlooked because of its softness and malleability, silver can still be used to create stunning wedding and engagement rings. Even though it is considered a classic material, this metal is heralded for its sleek and modern aesthetic which complements a wide variety of skin tones. Because pure silver is too delicate to stand up to decades of wear, many rings are coated with rhodium to enhance strength and resist damage.

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Price Range$$$$
Average Lifespan12-20 years
Durability Star-full Star-empty Star-empty Star-empty*
Hyopallergenic Score Star-full Star-full Star-full Star-empty

*Sterling silver is the most malleable of ring metals, although it typically resists scratches and dings as well as golds.

Modern Metals

Trends come and go, but today’s engagement and wedding rings are designed to last. While they may be made of unconventional materials, modern metals offer a winning combination of style and performance. Some, like rose gold, provide an welcome blush of warm color. Others, like cobalt and palladium, are created to sooth sensitive skin. All provide stunning looks that rival classic metals while simultaneously giving a nod to modernity.

Rose Gold

Rose gold is not necessarily a new material in the fine jewelry world, but it has recently surged in popularity, especially in engagement ring bands. Typically found in 18k fineness, rose gold is made up of three parts gold and one part copper alloy. The resulting rosy hue is modern and romantic, and looks stunning when paired with diamonds. Already a current favorite for engagement rings, thanks to its soft brilliance, this metal also works well for men’s and women’s wedding bands. Although it is certainly trendy, this refreshingly playful metal will never go out of style.

Price Range$$$$
Average Lifespan20-30 years
Durability Star-full Star-full Star-half Star-empty
Hyopallergenic Score Star-full Star-full Star-empty Star-empty*

*Rose gold contains copper, which can cause issues for more sensitive skin.

Cobalt

Cobalt is unlike any other alloy metal on the engagement and wedding ring market. This material is dark, moody and extremely durable. It rivals platinum in its capacity to resist damage and wear. In fact, it is one of the most scratch-resistant metals available. Thanks to its ability to ward off oxidation, cobalt rarely requires replating over time. While its deep, rich hue may be overbearing for some, we think this metal looks especially striking on men’s wedding bands. Cobalt is also ideal for those with sensitive skin, as it is unmatched in its hypoallergenic properties.

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Price Range$$$$
Average Lifespan30-40 years
Durability Star-full Star-full Star-full Star-full
Hyopallergenic Score Star-full Star-full Star-full Star-full

Palladium

Finishing off the modern metals group is brilliant, feather-light palladium. This rare white material juxtaposes strength and airiness. It is significantly less dense than platinum or gold, but stands up to wear just as well. In fact, like platinum, palladium never requires replating and will continue to shine throughout its life. Additionally, this material is well suited to sensitive skin. It offers excellent hypoallergenic qualities and is so minimal in weight that many forget they are wearing a ring at all. Its lightness and long-lasting luster make palladium an ideal choice for the modern bride or groom.

Price Range$$$$
Average Lifespan30-40 years
Durability Star-full Star-full Star-full Star-full
Hyopallergenic Score Star-full Star-full Star-full Star-full

By understanding the properties and benefits associated with different metals, you can select an engagement ring or wedding band that is perfectly suited to your lifestyle. Whether you choose a classic metal like platinum or gold, or show off your modern edge with cobalt or palladium, your ring will make a beautiful and everlasting statement about you and the love of your life. Once you choose the metal, pick the engagement ring style and complete the look with a brilliant diamond or gorgeous gemstone. Get started.

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