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Traditional Ring Metals: Platinum, Gold, Sterling Silver

Traditional Metals

Platinum:

Appearance

Platinum has a soft white hue. It's 30 times more rare than gold (which means it's more expensive) and 40% heavier than 14K gold - and it doesn't tarnish or oxidize. Because of its hardness, the details of intricately engraved or embellished rings often look sharper and more precise when done in platinum.


Purity

Platinum in jewelry is 90% to 95% pure, which brings out the beauty of diamonds set in platinum engagement rings.


Care

Over time, platinum will wear and scratch with use. Your jeweler can polish your platinum wedding band or platinum engagement ring to remove any scratches.


Gold:

Types of gold:


Yellow gold

Pure gold mixed with a little silver and copper for a warm look.


White gold

Pure gold is combined with palladium and silver or with nickel, copper and zinc. Rhodium plating improves whiteness and durability.


Pink and rose gold

Increasingly popular, these reddish gold options are pure gold plus copper. The more copper, the redder the metal.

Green gold

Actually yellowish-green in appearance, this is pure gold plus silver.


Purity

Gold purity is measured in karats (not to be confused with carats, a measure of gem weight). Karats are divided into 24 parts, so 24 parts of gold - known as 24K gold - is pure. However, 24K gold is soft and easily damaged, so it's mixed - or alloyed - with other metals to make it more durable. For example, 14K gold is 14 parts gold, 10 parts other metal. Jewelry must be at least 10K to be sold as gold in the United States.


Care

Buff your gold engagement ring with a soft cloth to keep it shiny and smooth.

Sterling Silver:

Appearance

Sterling silver can range from bright white to grayish white, and can have a matte or shiny finish.


Purity

Like gold, pure silver is too soft to be used in jewelry. It's combined with other metals such as copper to boost its strength. Sterling silver must contain at least 92.5% pure silver, which is why it's stamped as .925.


Care

Silver tarnishes, so store your sterling silver engagement ring in tarnish-preventive bags in a cool, dry place. Don't use tissue paper or paper towels to dry, because they can scratch sterling silver.

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