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For your engagement ring and wedding band, you’ll be focused on the cut of the diamond or other gemstone itself. While that’s usually the primary focus, you shouldn’t forget that the metal wrapped around your finger is vital to the longevity of the ring itself. That is also true of earrings, bracelets, and necklaces.
Before deciding on the type of gemstone and metal, you should know the difference when choosing between some of the most popular metal elements like white gold, platinum or palladium.
White Gold Bands and Engagement Rings
When you think about gold, the first thing that pops into your mind is the color. For white gold, other metals have to be added to the original color of gold to give it the white hue. Those metals are copper, nickel, zinc, and palladium. Along with changing the hue, the mixture works together to make white gold resistant to corrosion.
Pros of White Gold Jewelry
- There’s a distinctive and unique glimmer of gold in white gold jewelry that won’t be found in other types of metal.
- Beautiful white gold has a variety of carats, which makes it accessible for many budgets.
Cons of White Gold Engagement Rings and Wedding Bands
- Harsh chemicals can cause damage to the metal, so rings and other jewelry should be removed while cleaning.
- Extra care should be taken to ensure that white gold doesn’t become pitted and dull due to the addition of other metals.
- For those with nickel allergies, 10k and 14k gold can cause allergic reactions because there’s more alloy than gold in the jewelry.
Platinum Wedding Bands and Engagement Rings
The rarity of this metal means that it’s one of the more popular choices for wedding bands and engagement rings. This heavy metal is durable as well as being expensive. Along with being more sought-after than white gold, it can rival the cost of some higher-end white gold designs based on weight as well as the intricate design elements.
Pros for Distinctive Platinum Jewelry
- The distinctive color of platinum is shinier and brighter than white gold without the added alloys.
- There’s less maintenance and upkeep of platinum required with engagement rings and other jewelry.
Cons of Platinum Jewelry
- It’s expensive when compared with other metals like white gold and palladium.
- The expense includes labor costs added to the manufacturing process.
- When compared to palladium, there’s no real gain of durability, shine or maintenance.
Palladium Choices for Engagement Rings and Bands
While it’s often considered rarer than platinum, it’s less expensive than the popular metal for engagement rings and wedding bands. When you have a budget to worry about, it’s a great choice that won’t be short-changed on simple elegance.
Pros of Palladium Rings
- Hypo-allergenic and little maintenance required to keep it shiny and white.
- Lighter and less dense than platinum, which makes it a good choice for elaborate designs without being too heavy.
- It’s officially been a precious metal since 2010, but hasn’t gained popularity, which has kept the price affordable.
Cons of Wedding Bands and Engagement Rings Made of Palladium
- Not all jewelers have experience with palladium, so it can be tough to get rings sized or custom-designed.
- Designs are limited for this new precious metal since it’s lacking the popularity of white gold or platinum. When there’s more demand, there will be more designs for consumers to choose.
Comparing White Gold and Palladium to Platinum
While white gold is lighter and doesn’t consist of much actual gold. When there’s a mark that reads 14k or 18k on the jewelry, that means that compared to pure gold, which is 24k, the rest of the gold is made up of an alloy. A ring made of 14k gold is actually about 58% gold while an 18k gold ring is about 75% gold. The rest is a mixture of other elements.
When it comes to palladium, it’s purer than white gold at approximately 95% with the other 5% made up of alloys. The fact that it’s lighter than gold or platinum works against it in terms of value, which is actually a benefit to the consumer who will pay less for a palladium ring.
Platinum is also made of more pure material and less alloy than white gold. It’s part of why it’s more expensive than white gold. It’s weight and complicated manufacturing process make the metal more expensive, too.
Since palladium has only recently, within the last 5 or 6 years, become a precious metal, the demand for palladium jewelry has not caused a bump in price. This is a terrific sign for those who are looking to spend a little less on an engagement ring or wedding band, but still have a durable and shiny symbol of love on their ring finger. They’ll be ahead of the demand for palladium engagement rings and wedding bands while saving their budget.