Precious Metals Used In The Making Of Jewellery
The vast majority of jewellery is made using one or more types of precious metal. This guide has been designed to give you more information about each of those metals. And it may in turn help you to decide which metal to opt for when you are considering buying a man’s ring.
The properties of each metal are obviously going to be different, and this can result in a more or less hard wearing ring. It will depend on the metal you ultimately choose. For example, platinum is very hard wearing. So much so in fact that if you wear it on the same finger as you are wearing a gold ring, the gold will be worn down by its proximity to the platinum!
So let’s take a look at each metal to find out more about it – as well as discovering where each one stands on the cost scale.
A Selection of the different types of Mens Rings
This is the most common metal used in the making of all kinds of jewellery. You will notice that every piece of gold jewellery you see is rated in terms of carats. So for example, you have nine carat gold, eighteen carat gold and also twenty four carat gold.
The higher the number of carats, the purer the gold actually is. So twenty four carat gold is far more pure than nine carat gold. And you will see this reflected in the price, as twenty four carat gold items are invariably much more expensive than nine carat ones.
There is a downside to buying purer gold however. As anyone who has ever had a twenty four carat ring will tell you, it can wear far more easily than one made of nine carat gold. That is why many people decide to go for fewer carats, in order to preserve that harder wearing ability.
Nine carat gold generally means that around half of the content of the ring is actually gold. Other metals are also used to help make the gold itself stronger, without detracting from the overall pleasant yellow appearance.
Silver is perhaps the most common of precious metals. It is very popular in jewellery making, often because it is available very cheaply. Although you will find some silver rings that cost more than some nine carat gold ones, on the whole silver rings will cost less than other precious metals used in jewellery making.
The thing to remember about silver is that it can be both naturally occurring and man made. This is one of the reasons why it is cheaper to make jewellery from silver than it is from some other rarer metals. In the case of platinum for example, it is extremely rare and thus is much costlier to obtain rings made from it.
Whereas platinum only occurs naturally, silver can be man made by refining copper. In essence then, you can carry on making as much silver as you would like, so long as you didn’t run out of copper!
Many amateur jewellers also practise making rings out of silver, since it is much cheaper to get hold of the raw materials. Silver also tends to be used for dress rings and other every day rings. While it is not out of the question to see silver used as a wedding ring, it is quite uncommon. Gold still tends to be the preferred choice in this situation.
You will no doubt have noticed that many silver rings and other items of jewellery are referred to as having been made from sterling silver. This is because silver is not suitable to be used for jewellery exactly as you find it. As we have found out, alloys can be a lot stronger than a single metal is capable of being on its own. This means that when silver is combined with another metal – most often copper – it will become stronger and be known as sterling silver.
And in fact this is why you will need to buy silver cleaner if you decide to go for a silver ring. You will probably have noticed that if you don’t clean your silver jewellery for a while, it goes darker and looks somewhat dirty. It isn’t dirt though; it is the copper content of the silver that is making the reaction happen. A simple polish with the right materials – silver cleaner and a soft cloth – will always return your silver jewellery to look like new.
This is another popular choice nowadays, particularly when it comes to selecting something refreshingly different for a wedding ring. White gold is not simply another form of gold; gold only exists as one single type. The difference here is that white gold is actually an alloy.
What this means is that the standard yellow gold has been combined with another metal which is harder wearing. A typical example would be to combine yellow gold with nickel, although this isn’t generally done any more. White gold is also measured in carats in just the same way as standard gold is measured.
Another point to think about in this situation is that white gold tends to be much harder wearing than yellow gold, particularly if the yellow gold has a higher number of carats. This is because the harder metal toughens up the gold, giving it harder wearing properties than it would have if it were simply used on its own.
You will also find that the mix may vary if the ring you are considering has a precious stone held within a setting. In this situation palladium might be used instead to get better results.
The normal mix of the two metals in the case of creating white gold is for gold to make up three quarters of the alloy. The other quarter is reserved for the other metal, which could be palladium. Rhodium plating is the more modern way of making sure white gold looks good and is hard wearing. The only downside is that it is a process that needs to be done every now and then. If you don’t get your white gold jewellery re-plated every two or three years, you will find it doesn’t remain as strong as it would otherwise.
Platinum is the ultimate in choices when it comes to jewellery, particularly rings for both men and women. It is a wonderful choice for a wedding ring, although many people find that this precious metal is simply far too expensive to stretch to in reality.
Platinum is very rare, and that is why you won’t walk into a standard jeweller’s shop and find lots of platinum items for sale. You may find some, but gold and silver pieces will far outnumber those that are made from this particular metal. It is also extremely pure, and this is worth thinking about if you tend to suffer from skin reactions. Some people, for example, find that they cannot wear silver jewellery but they can wear gold. Even if you have trouble with other types of jewellery you shouldn’t have any problems with platinum.
It is commonly thought that platinum is virtually indestructible. To be truthful that isn’t exactly the case. But even though its properties have been a little exaggerated, platinum is still by far the strongest metal you could choose for your men’s rings, among other things.
If you have the money then platinum could well feature in your daily jewellery wardrobe, so to speak. But for most people, if they do splash out on platinum jewellery of any kind at all, they are most likely to do so when it is time to get married.
Somehow the lasting and strong nature of platinum is a great choice when it comes to symbolising a marriage. It is also possible to have platinum rings especially commissioned, although of course this makes the rings even more expensive. Many independent jewellers offer one off designs that are made with their customers in mind. It is even possible to design something yourself to have made for you and your partner.
Platinum does not tarnish anywhere near as easily as silver does. It can still be scratched, although it is a lot tougher than high carat gold is, for example. It is a fine choice for a wedding ring and even for other types of jewellery if your purse or wallet can stand the price!
This is another popular and more modern choice for jewellery of all kinds. Titanium can be thought of as a cheaper alternative to platinum. It is more special than silver and a great alternative to gold if you want something a bit different.
Titanium wedding rings are very popular, particularly among those people who do not wear gold jewellery. Silver isn’t a popular choice for a wedding ring, and if you don’t wear gold and your budget does not stretch to platinum, then titanium can be the ideal choice to go for.
Titanium is used for many different things in life. For example, you might wear a titanium wedding ring and have a titanium implant as part of a dental procedure as well! That illustrates just how strong this particular precious metal is.
It is exceptionally strong, so it is ideally suited to making items of jewellery. It should also be noted that it is very resistant to corroding, which once again is a point in its favour.
The reason why titanium is much cheaper than platinum is because it is much more common in nature than its expensive alternative. It can be found in many different countries and it is mined extensively and used for many purposes, as described above. And in actual fact, the metal itself was originally discovered in England.
As you can see, there are many different types of metal that you may see made into men’s rings. Choosing the right one for you may depend on a number of factors; for example, budget is often the number one concern for a lot of people. They may love a ring made from platinum, but if the budget cannot stretch to that then they will need to decide what else might take its place.
Titanium is a good second choice if you want something different without the platinum price tag. Similarly if you want a gold ring but you don’t want the distinctive yellow finish, white gold can provide a stronger and lighter finish for you to admire.
You need to think about how often you will be wearing the ring as well. Some people who decided to opt for a twenty four carat gold wedding ring have found that they aren’t really built for a heavy workload. Anyone who does physical work and uses their hands a lot will find that the ring can eventually start to wear down. This doesn’t happen overnight obviously, but it can be a consideration if you have a job like this. And this type of gold can also be very easily scratched, so your nice new ring may not stay looking that way for very long.
You may of course spot a ring in a certain design that just so happens to be made from a particular metal. The decision then is whether or not you are prepared to go with that metal to get the design you like, or whether you want to look for something in the precious metal you really want.
The world of rings is full of metals and alloys of all kinds. Long gone are the days when rings of silver and gold were all you could choose from. You can even buy rings made from stainless steel and other materials and metals now too. It all depends on what you like, and how much of a statement you want to make.
In the end it comes down to what you can afford to splash out on. But whether you want silver or platinum or anything in between, you will no doubt find something suitable on one of the many online jewellers available now.