How to Design the Perfect Engagement Ring: Metal Selection (Part 6 of 6)

Aside from the center stone, the color of the metal is a big part of the overall look of the engagement ring. We at llyn strong typically work in 18 karat white, yellow, and rose gold or platinum for wedding jewelry. 18k gold is an alloy where 18 parts out of 24 are pure gold and the remaining 6 parts are other metals to change the color (nickel gives white gold its color and copper is used in rose gold for example) and increase the durability. 14K is another popular option that we can use by request, but changing to this karat gold will not have a huge impact on the price of the ring. Aside from gold, platinum is the next most common material for wedding jewelry.

Platinum wedding ring
18k yellow gold and emerald engagement ring
18k white gold and diamond wedding ring
18k rose gold custom wedding ring

When trying to decide between platinum or white gold there are several things to consider. Nickel is one of the most common metal allergies and is found in white gold alloys whereas platinum is hypoallergenic. People are typically aware of metal sensitivities so be sure to check with your partner when considering the metal for their ring. Platinum is softer than white gold but tougher. Think of leather versus glass- platinum will scratch more easily (and for this reason it doesn’t hold a high polish as well as white 18k rose gold 18k white gold platinum 18k yellow gold gold) but it will bend more easily where white gold is more likely to snap or break. Historically, platinum has been more expensive than gold. It has a higher specific gravity so the same ring will weigh more in platinum than white gold. However, the cost depends on the market and in the past year or so the lower market value of platinum compared to white gold has balanced out the weight disparity making them about the same cost when it comes to rings. White gold is usually rhodium plated. Rhodium is in the platinum family of metals and is used to plate over metals to give them a bright white finish. Rhodium plating is very common in the industry and needs to be done every 1-2 years to maintain an even finish.

Sterling silver, while a popular choice for lots of jewelry, is not a material that we recommend for wedding sets. It is not as durable as gold or platinum, and for a ring that is worn daily it doesn’t have the same longevity.

While we offer our custom process for men’s jewelry in gold and platinum as well, many men consider alternative materials such as titanium, stainless steel, or carbon fiber for their wedding bands. While we don’t work in any of these in materials in our studio, we do have a selection of alternative metal bands for sale in store and can source different sizes and styles. These materials are a great choice for every day wear in terms of durability, but there are some less practical aspects to be aware of. Since we (and most jewelers) do not work in these metals we cannot adjust the size, and would have to ship the ring for modifications or order a new band which can take several weeks. They also cannot be cut off the finger without going to the hospital. We always recommend removing rings when doing heavy work with your hands, but for these especially it can be dangerous if something happens that causes the finger to start swelling (jamming a knuckle, or breaking a finger for example).

alternative metal bands

While we don’t recommend it, we can also reuse old gold from family jewelry. Many people inherit or are gifted jewelry to use toward the creation of engagement or wedding rings and the sentimentality can be appealing. However, it can cause some issues during production. Even the same karat of gold can be alloyed differently so combining an unknown with our usual 18k can create small pits in the surface during the casting process. We always disclose this possibility when asked about reusing family gold to let the customer know that they will have to accept the risk to move forward. We cannot combine different karats or colors of gold when melting down for casting. We do offer scrap credit for gold that can be applied to the cost of the piece.

Gold and diamond wedding rings

Many people have little to no experience with jewelry when starting this journey, so don’t feel intimidated. The best way to get started is to contact us and set up a consultation. At the consultation we will go over these points with you to get an overall idea of the design and your budget. Next, we order in stones for you to select from, finish the design and figure the final quote, and take the deposit. Then we produce the CAD renderings for your approval, print the wax, and make the metal casting for you to come see and approve in person. Finally, we set the stones and finish the ring. The process is fluid and there are chances to make changes and adjustments along the way. Whenever you are ready to begin, the team at llyn strong fine art jewelry are here to help.

Contact us today and start designing the perfect engagement ring.

llyn strong jewelry


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