How to Choose your Metal

There are many different metals to consider when designing or shopping for your special piece of jewelry.  Whether color, durability, sourcing, or cost is most important to you, we’ve put together a little guide to help you choose the best metal for you or the significant people in your life! 

A note on lingo: Karat (abbreviated as k) indicates the purity of the gold. Pure gold without any other metals mixed in is 24 karat (k) gold. Pure 24k gold is way too soft to use in everyday jewelry so metalsmiths use gold alloys that combine pure gold with other metals! Not only does this increase durability, but it also affects the color of the metal. 14k gold means the alloy is 14/24 parts (or 58.33%) gold and 41.67% other metals. 18k gold means the alloy is 18/24 parts (75%) gold and 25% other metals. None of our jewelry is plated so you can expect your rings to look the same on your 50th anniversary as they did on your wedding day!

White Metals

There are several beautiful options when it comes to white metals! We design our jewelry to be worn every day for decades or more! For this reason, we do not make or recommend silver rings, which are likely to bend, scratch, and tarnish over time. If white or silver-toned jewelry is your jam, here are our favorite choices: 

14k White Gold   $ 

  • 14k white gold is 58.33% gold alloyed with copper, nickel, and zinc
  • Most affordable of the white metals we use
  • Brightest white color of all the metals because of its nickel content 
  • 14k white gold is harder than the other golds, which makes it more durable and scratch-resistant compared to yellow or rose gold, but it may also make delicate prongs more brittle
  • Not the best choice for someone with nickel allergies or metal sensitivities 
  • Certified Fairmined 14k white gold is available!
14k White Gold Classic Band - Matte Finish - on white background
14k White Gold Classic Band - Matte Finish

18k White Gold

  • 18k white gold is 75% gold alloyed with nickel, copper, and zinc
  • Bright, warm white color 
  • 18k white gold is softer than the other white metals
  • 18k gold is more valuable - and more expensive - than 14k gold
  • Certified Fairmined 18k white gold is available!

Palladium White Gold   $ $

  • 14k or 18k palladium white gold is an alloy of gold with palladium, silver, copper, and zinc
  • Grayish-white gray color, with a warmer tone than platinum 
  • This alloy is nickel-free, making it a great choice for someone with a nickel allergy! 
  • Palladium white gold is a little pricier than standard white gold but less expensive than platinum!
14K Palladium White Gold Matte Classic Band on a white background
14k Palladium White Gold Classic Band - Matte Finish

Platinum   $ $ $

  • Platinum is the purest precious metal available, made of 90-95% pure platinum
  • Cooler, lighter gray color
  • Very strong and durable! Platinum is also a little heavier than gold
  • Hypoallergenic - this is the best choice for people who are sensitive to other metals 
  • Platinum is more expensive than 14k or 18k gold

Platinum Flat Band - Matte Finish & Platinum Diamond Pavé Band - Polished Finish on white background

Platinum Flat Band - Matte Finish & Platinum Diamond Pavé Band - Polished Finish

 

Textured 14k white gold and Platinum rings side-by-side

The Textured Band in 14k White Gold and Platinum

Yellow Metals

We love the classic look of yellow gold!  When paired with diamonds or other white stones, the contrast of the warm tone gives the gemstone an extra sparkly pop! You have several options when it comes to yellow metals:  

14k Yellow Gold   $

  • 14k yellow gold is 58.33% gold alloyed with copper, silver, and zinc 
  • Bright golden color 
  • Very strong and durable! 
  • Nickel-free alloy is great for those with nickel sensitivities
  • Most affordable yellow metal option
  • Certified Fairmined 14k yellow gold is available!
Two 14k yellow gold bands with a matte finish on a white background
14k Yellow Gold Classic Bands - Matte Finish

18k Yellow Gold   $ $ 

  • 18k yellow gold is 75% gold alloyed with silver, copper, and zinc 
  • Bright, vivid golden color; 18k has a deeper luster than 14k yellow gold
  • 18k is softer than 14k gold, which makes it somewhat less durable; intricate details may soften or fade over time
  • Nickel-free alloy may work for those with metal sensitivities
  • 18k gold is more valuable - and more expensive - than 14k gold!
  • Certified Fairmined 18k yellow gold is available!
Two 18k yellow gold bands with a matte finish on a white background
18k Yellow Gold Classic Bands - Matte Finish

18k Royal Yellow Gold   $ $ 

  • 18k royal yellow gold is 75% gold alloyed with silver, copper, and zinc 
  • This alloy combination creates a yellow-green tint, giving the appearance of 22k yellow gold with the strength and price of 18k gold 
  • Not yet available as Certified Fairmined gold
Custom 18k Royal Yellow gold diamond ring on a white background Custom 18k Royal Yellow Gold Diamond Ring

Other Metals to Consider

W.R. Metalarts is able to source metals beyond platinum and white and yellow gold, including pure palladium and 14k peach or 14k green gold!  By far, the most common alternative to the more traditional metals is rose gold: 

14k Rose Gold   $      

  • 14k rose gold is 58.33% gold alloyed with copper and a small amount of silver and zinc 
  • Deep rose pink color; richer color than 18k rose gold because of the alloy’s copper content
  • Strong and durable! 
  • Nickel-free 
  • Certified Fairmined 18k rose gold is available!
One polished and one matte 14k Rose Gold Classic Bands on white background
14k Rose Gold Flat Band - Matte Finish & 14k Rose Gold Classic Band - Polished Finish

18k Rose Gold   $ $      

  • 18k rose gold is 75% gold alloyed with copper and a small amount of silver and zinc 
  • Pale pink color; lighter color than 14k rose gold because of its greater gold to copper ratio in the alloy
  • Nickel-free
  • Just as with the other colors of gold, 18k rose gold is a little softer than 14k rose gold
18k Rose Gold Custom Emerald Cut Peach Morganite Solitaire on white background
Custom 18k Rose Gold Emerald Cut Peach Morganite Solitaire
 

Mokume Gane

If you love the look of multiple metals together, Mokume Gane might be the perfect option for you! Mokume is a traditional Japanese metalworking technique that layers different types of metal together to create one-of-a-kind patterns. To learn more about Mokume, check out this blog post! 

Bimetal Mokume  $ $ $

White gold and silver bimetal mokume gane band on white background
14k Palladium White Gold, Sterling Silver Bimetal Mokume Gane
14k Rose Gold & Sterling Silver Mokume Band on white background
14k Rose Gold, Sterling Silver Bimetal Mokume Gane
Yellow gold and silver bimetal mokume gane band on white background
18k Royal Yellow Gold, Sterling Silver Bimetal Mokume Gane

Trimetal Mokume  $ $ $

Trimetal Rose Gold Mokume Gane band on a white background
14k Rose Gold, 14k Palladium White Gold, Sterling Silver Trimetal Mokume Gane
Trimetal Mokume ring, heavy etch on a white background
18k Royal Yellow Gold, 14k Palladium White Gold, Sterling Silver Trimetal Mokume Gane

Which metal is your favorite? 

We hope this blog has helped you to decide which metals you’d like to use in your own project!  If you love more than one metal, we can get creative about incorporating multiple materials into one piece! 

Tri-metal (14k rose, 14k white, and 14k yellow) twist knot ring on white background
Custom Trimetal Twist Ring with 14k Rose, 14k White, and 14k Yellow Gold
White gold mokume band with rails
Customized Mokume Gane Raindrop Band with 14k Gold Rails

If you’re still not sure, we would love to chat with you about what’s most important to you to help you choose the best materials for you! Get in touch with us to start designing the jewelry of your dreams! 


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