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Engagement Ring
Jewelry Metals Guide

Engagement rings are primarily available in yellow gold, white gold and platinum.

Gold has been used as a jewelry metal since ancient times. Pure (24K) gold is too soft to wear, so it is mixed with other metals to give it strength. The karat number (K) indicates how much of the alloy is pure gold; 14K is 14/24, or 58%, pure gold. Most engagement rings will be made of 14K (58% pure) or 18K (75% pure) gold.

White gold came into fashion in the early 1900s. It is enjoying renewed popularity these days, and is a particular favorite for antique style engagement rings. White gold in its raw (unfinished) form has a slight yellowish tinge; the final step in the polishing process is a rhodium finish, which makes it a bright, shiny white.

Some antique engagement rings have a warmer tone because the rhodium finish has worn off over the years. If you prefer a whiter look, you can simply have the rhodium finish re-applied (this is also necessary after having a white gold ring resized, and should be done as a matter of course by the jeweler).

Platinum is rarer and more expensive than gold. It became a jewelry metal in the late 1800s, and reached its height of popularity during the Roaring Twenties. The platinum used for jewelry is an alloy, and is typically comprised of 90% platinum and 10% iridium. Platinum is grayish-white, very strong, and does not tarnish. A platinum engagement ring can become a lovely family heirloom, to be passed down through generations.

Our next article is about Engagement Ring Styles >>


Other Articles:
Diamond Carat
Diamond Clarity
Diamond Color
Diamond Cut
Antique Diamonds
Asscher Cut Diamonds
Engagement Ring Styles
Celebrity Engagement Rings
History of Engagement Rings
Antique Engagement Rings Gallery
Proposal Guide
Proposing on a Grand Scale
Buying an Engagement Ring on a Budget
How to Clean and Care for Your Engagement Ring