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Shopping for expensive jewellery for the first time can be an overwhelming experience, and all the more so if you're choosing an engagement ring with which to propose to the woman of your dreams. When scouring the many style variations, it's important to keep in mind that your purchase will be both a financial and emotional investment. A little education can make all the difference to the styles and quality of diamond rings available within budget – especially when it comes to precious metals!
Note that in the US the word “platinum” can’t be used alone unless the article contains at least 950 ppt (95%) pure platinum. All platinum jewellery sold by England Diamond is made of 95% pure platinum, identifiable by a hallmark inscribed on the inner band of a ring. The remaining 5% usually comprises numerous strengthening alloys, such as palladium, which further add to the metal's lustre. Its brilliance and durability makes platinum one of our leading choices for diamond settings, as it enhances the fire and brilliance of the stone.
Platinum is probably the best choice if you're looking for a ring that will withstand the wear and tear of a lifetime! It is one of the most highly sought after of precious metals owing to its rarity. Platinum is also desirable because of its durability. Compared to gold, which is very hard, platinum is stronger in the sense that it is less likely to break away or shed upon impact, meaning that you'll only notice minor surface imperfections, while more weight of the metal can retained overtime.
Some people prefer the 'aged' aesthetic of Platinum, however, it is easily resolved with a professional clean and polish at your local jewellers, or gentle buffing. Platinum is one of the easiest of precious metals to maintain; a simple soaking in a mild solution of soap and tepid water usually all that's needed to restore a ring to full shine.
Naturally hypoallergenic, platinum isn't liable to tarnish when it comes into contact with corrosive substances, like household cleaning products, and is ideal for those who have previously suffered a reaction to gold or other alloys.
Gold has been a highly sought after and valued element since the Dark Ages. A versatile element found naturally in abundance around the world, it is as much favoured for its characteristic yellow shine, as it is for its anti-rust and anti-corrosive properties. The fineness of gold is a good indicator of its overall strength and durability, however, as the most pliable of all precious metals, not all Karats are suitable for wedding and engagement rings.
Pure gold is characteristically too malleable and soft for fine jewellery, which is why it is commonly alloyed with numerous other strengthening metals, such as copper and nickel, to improve its overall strength. Karat refers to the purity or fineness of a gold product, referenced by a number and the letter “k”. Karatage is quantified in 24ths - 24 Karat being 100% pure gold, and 18 Karat being 75% pure. England Diamond's wedding and engagement rings are available in 18k gold.
Gold is naturally yellow in colour, however, due to its softness, is often combined with other alloys to improve overall strength and durability. Its colour is therefore manipulated by the inclusion of these alloys, and can range from a pale white-yellow through to a rose or pinkish hue, depending upon the percentage of metal alloy used. Alloys such as copper (red hue) and silver (green hue) are commonly used to enhance or lessen the warmth of gold. Rhodium is commonly alloyed with gold to produce white gold, owing to its durability and shine-enhancing properties.
The value of gold has increased by nearly 500% in recent years, however, its market value will largely depend upon the Karat weight, and overall desirability of the piece. Jewellery made of pure gold (24k) or near pure gold (18k) will usually be more expensive than 9 or 14k gold pieces, however, overall price will be influenced by the type of inset stones, their quality and carat weight.
Cleaning and Care
While durable, gold is one of the most reactive of all precious metals. As such, great care should be taken to avoid wearing gold jewellery when using chlorine or bleach, since both have a tendency to affect surface plating, shine and lustre. Jewellery should also be removed when carrying out manual work, since gold can be scratched, and metal may be lost over time. England Diamond recommends seeking the assistance of a professional jewellery for cleaning, however, you can remove residue yourself by using a solution of mild soap and lukewarm water. Avoid using a bristle brush, as this can cause surface erosion. See further tips about DIY cleaning clcik here.
White Gold Rings
White Gold is an equally captivating alternative for wedding and engagement rings. White Gold is a popular choice for modern wedding bands due to its clean, minimalist appearance and non-corrosive character. It was also the much publicised choice of Lady Diana Spencer (later the Princess of Wales), when her engagement to Charles, Prince of Wales, was announced. While beautiful, it's important to note that many styles are alloyed with other metals to enhance their “whiteness” and durability. The majority of White Gold wedding rings are made with a foundation of 9, 14 (59,5%) or 18 carat (75%) yellow gold alloyed with other metals, such as rhodium, to enhance their finish and shine.
White metals are an excellent foundation for diamonds, since the reflective whiteness only adds to diamond's brilliance. Some White Gold rings may appear more yellow than others, however, this is merely due to the concentration of alloy used to enhance its appearance. White Gold rings enhanced with an alloy rarely tend to suffer any discolouration over time, and surface wear and tear is easily fixed with professional polishing. Your ring can also be re-plated with rhodium to restore it to 'as new' condition.
Yellow Gold Rings
Yellow Gold still holds favourable appeal as the traditional choice for wedding and engagement rings. It was the preferred choice of Britain's golden couple Prince William and Kate, who opted for a strikingly simple Clogau yellow gold band in 2012, as well as Brit actress Kate Winslet to Ned Rocknroll in September.
Yellow gold is a naturally soft metal, and on its own, couldn't withstand the daily wear and tear often associated with modern lifestyles. For this reason, its commonly mixed with other alloys, such as zinc, copper or cobalt to make it far more durable. Warm in colour, and available in a wide range of shades, yellow gold is the perfect accent for a simple wedding band.
Rose Gold Rings
Possibly the most romantic choice in terms of metal for wedding and engagement rings, Rose Gold is characterised by a distinctly pink hue which varies depending on carat. Rose Gold is not a natural element; it's created by adding copper alloy to gold during the smelting process. The degree of 'pinkness' will largely depend upon the percentage of copper used.
Rose gold, often nicknamed “Russian gold” owing to its popularity in Russia during the 19th Century, is a common choice for engagement rings that are distinctly fancy in appearance. You'll often find vintage Rose Gold rings dating back to the Edwardian era, distinguishable by their old European cuts and fancy milgraining or filigree work.
Platinum or White Gold?
We’ve been asked this question many times before. The answer actually differs depending on your need. We recommend you give us a call or chat with us online so we can give you the best possible advice.