A Precious Choice: Choosing Your Perfect Metal
21 August 19
The metals we choose for our fine jewellery collections are equally as important as the exceptional stones they hold.
The metals we choose for our fine jewellery collections are equally as important as the exceptional stones they hold. Our showrooms take pride in helping you find the perfect piece of jewellery to suit your style as well as a piece that suits your lifestyle. That is why, often, our sales consultants will ask how often you plan to wear a particular piece of jewellery. This question is frequently to establish the most suitable metal, or gemstone, for your purpose. There are five metals to consider when exploring our collections; yellow gold, rose gold, white gold, platinum and palladium, each of which has their own unique features and benefits.
Whether you are looking for a traditional yellow hue to compliment your skin tone, a warm rose glow or a smooth silver-coloured finish, each metal offers its own distinctive history. Here, we further explore the perfect choice of metal for specific jewellery types, particular stones and a wearer’s own individual needs.
Yellow Gold was the first metal known to our kind, discovered in the form of shiny yellow nuggets. The content of pure gold in jewellery is measured in parts, also known as carats. Gold, in its purest form, is made up of 24 carats, however jewellery is not usually made from pure gold because of its naturally soft nature, although pure gold is not impossible to purchase, it isn’t recommended for everyday wear.
Our showrooms would always recommend 18ct gold for jewellery, 75% pure gold, not only because of its timeless yellow shine but also for the quality of the metal. 18ct yellow gold is combined with alloy metals, such as silver and copper, to ensure the metal is both durable and hard-wearing.
The characteristics of 18ct gold, such as its non-corrosive nature, make it the perfect choice for everyday wear, an engagement or wedding ring. You can explore our yellow gold engagement ring collections here and our yellow gold wedding ring collections can be explored here.
After its popularisation throughout Russia in the 1800s, rose gold is often referred to as ‘Russian Gold’ or ‘Pink Gold’ due to its subtle pink hue. Throughout the 1920s, and the rise in Art Deco style, ‘tri-coloured’ jewellery became a popular combination, demonstrating that yellow, white and rose gold could be styled together to create exceptional combinations. Today, rose gold is often paired with other metals in both fashion and fine jewellery.
The combination of yellow gold, copper and silver, creates the infamous pink lustre that makes rose gold so popular. The delicate pink hues are renowned for complimenting all skin tones and often considered to be a particularly romantic colour choice. This metal is often considered more durable due to the addition of cooper, helping the jewellery piece maintain its shape, integrity and surface finish. In comparison to white gold, rose gold does not require any preservation or plating during its lifetime and therefore it is used in our rose gold wedding ring collection, shown here.
White gold is a combination of gold, mixed with alloy metals that have a silvery-white colour such as palladium and silver to ensure durability and strength. As previously mentioned, pure gold is naturally yellow in colour and is extremely soft, therefore for the jewellery to be sustainable and fit for purpose it is necessary for it to be mixed with alloy metals.
The substance or coating that gives white gold its brilliant silver colour, like that of platinum, is called rhodium. Rhodium is a rare, silver-white metal in the platinum family. This plating is highly reflective, adding shine, lustre and durability to metals such as white gold. The disadvantage of plating is that it remains just a coating over the original metal. The rhodium plating will naturally wear away over time, the amount of time is subject to a multitude of factors, including frequency of wear.
18ct white gold remains one of the most popular choices for an array of jewellery styles, particularly pieces set with diamonds. The silvery-white colour of the metal allows the natural white colour of diamonds to remain as bright and as brilliant as possible, such as this diamond solitaire engagement ring, shown here.
Originally discovered by Julius Caesar Scaliger in 1557, platinum has a silvery-white finish and is known for its rarity alongside its dense and malleable nature. This white metal can be used in a purer form than gold which is why platinum is often considered more prestigious.
At Prestons, platinum is often the most popular choice across our bridal jewellery collections. Our clients frequently choose platinum, when choosing engagement rings, due to its durability, its finish and, most importantly, its natural silver-white colour. If you are comparing white gold and platinum, the most notable difference is the metals own natural colour. Unlike white gold, platinum does not require rhodium plating and keeps its brilliant silver colour for its lifetime.
Discovered by William Hyde Wollaston in 1803, palladium is a member of the platinum family. This metal has similar characteristics to platinum and other ‘noble metals’ such as being resistance to corrosion, a hard-wearing nature and it provides an enduring polished finish. Palladium has established itself as a more luxury metal for jewellery in recent years and one of the top choices for wedding rings, particularly for gentlemen due to its light nature. Similarly to platinum, palladium does not require rhodium plating.
The Perfect Pair – Matching Your Engagement & Wedding Ring
At Prestons Wilmslow and Prestons Guildford we have an extensive selection of bridal jewellery featuring an array of engagement, wedding and eternity rings. If you are looking to purchase an engagement ring it is important to consider, from a style and a practical perspective, the most appropriate metal choice.
It is important to note that if you are looking for a wedding band, we would always recommend that you choose one that is in the same metal as your engagement ring to protect the longevity of your precious jewellery. The metals, outlined above, have an array of different hardness levels and could potentially damage or wear each other.
For further information on our selection of precious metals, please contact your local Prestons showroom.
More from Inside Prestons...
From detailed interviews with our watch specialists, to advice on choosing the perfect diamond engagement ring, our features page includes a selection of articles and guides for you to explore.
Our Collections & Services
Our four showrooms in Guildford, Leeds and Wilmslow together showcase the world's finest watch houses in Rolex, Patek Philippe and TUDOR alongside exquisite fine jewellery and bespoke design services.
Over the years generations of families have become customers of Prestons and many have become friends. Today, our teams look forward to welcoming you to our showrooms in Surrey, Cheshire and Leeds.