The metal and style of the setting define the look of an engagement ring. The setting should showcase your stone to its best advantage but also be a style that you love. The choices are endless, from simple solitaire settings to elaborate styles with several stones.
Research shows that many women are more concerned about the setting of their ring than the stone, despite their relative costs!
Choice of Metal
The metal used for engagement rings needs to be strong enough to survive years of wear. Preferred metals are gold, platinum and palladium. Silver and other soft metals are not strong enough for a ring that will be worn every day for a lifetime.
Gold is the most malleable of all precious metals. Together with its beautiful lustre, this makes it extremely well suited for use in jewelry making. Gold does not tarnish or corrode and it can even be re-melted and used again for new designs.
For use in fine jewelry, gold is mixed with various other metals such as silver, copper, nickel and zinc to give it strength and durability.
The purity of gold is measured in Karats (K). 24 Karat (24K) gold is 100% pure. 14 Karat (14K) and 18 Karat (18K) gold are recommended for engagement rings and other fine jewelry as they balance durability with high gold content.
The majority of gold used in jewelry is alloyed with silver, copper and small amounts of zinc to produce varying shades of yellow gold.
On the whole, yellow gold should not be used with diamonds of a very high colour grade as it may add a yellow tint to the diamond. However, varying shades of yellow gold can work very well with diamonds of a lower colour grade, giving a lovely warm overall effect to the engagement ring. Yellow gold is also used with high quality rubies to neutralize blue hints and give a pure red appearance to the ruby.
Gold is usually mixed with nickel, copper and zinc to create white gold. The colour of these gold alloys goes from yellow to white as the proportion of nickel increases. Other white alloys, such as palladium or platinum, are also used to produce white gold. The finished jewelry is plated with rhodium to complete the effect. White gold yellows with time and needs to be re-plated.
Note that some people are allergic to nickel, in which case platinum may be a good alternative to white gold.
Gold is alloyed with copper to create what is known as pink or rose gold. This is an attractive and slightly more unusual metal, which suits most skin tones.
Similar to yellow gold, you should probably avoid rose gold if you have chosen a diamond with a particularly high colour grade. Otherwise, rose gold can be used to create a beautiful and unique engagement ring. Subtle pink morganite and rose gold are a particularly lovely match.
Platinum Engagement Ring 2Platinum is extremely durable and less likely to scratch than gold. The silver white metal has a silky sheen and develops a soft patina over time. Platinum pairs beautifully with diamonds, allowing their brilliance and fire to shine through.
Unlike other metals used in fine jewelry, it is up to 95% pure, making it hypoallergenic and so a good choice for brides and grooms with sensitive skin. However, platinum is 30 times rarer than gold, which is reflected in its high price.
Palladium is the new kid on the block when it comes to engagement ring metals. It has a natural whiteness with a slightly grayer hue than platinum and does not tarnish. Palladium is lightweight, hypoallergenic and more affordable than either gold or platinum.
SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW…
It is becoming increasingly popular to choose recycled metal for an engagement ring setting. This can be a good way to incorporate both ‘something old’ and ‘something new’ into your wedding day! Recycled metal bands often include a mix of gold and platinum.