Ring Metal FAQ
We always recommend our 950 Platinum-Ruthenium alloy. It’s the best metal for engagement rings and wedding bands.
The most important characteristic in Platinum jewelry is Platinum’s resistance to metal loss caused by normal wear & tear. When metal is rubbed against another object, a little bit of that metal is rubbing off onto the other surface. If the metal is Platinum, the amount lost is exponentially smaller than the amount that would rub off from a gold item. This translates into Platinum rings lasting two or three times as long as a similar gold ring.
Our Platinum Alloy is the Best
Our 950 Platinum-Ruthenium blend is the best Platinum alloy for jewelry. It has the best combination of tensile strength and hardness amongst all Platinum blends. Tensile strength refers to the durability of the metal and hardness refers to the scratch resistance.
More common Platinum alloys like 950 Platinum-Iridium are softer and tend to scratch and bend almost twice as easy. Manufacturers typically use this blend because of it’s ease to cast and work with. Often times, you’ll see or hear of Platinum engagement rings that scratch very easily and/or have become bent. These are most likely made of 950 Platinum-Iridium.
Our Platinum won’t do that. We purposely use a stronger alloy so you can enjoy your rings for a lifetime.
- Extremely Durable – Lasts a Lifetime
- Naturally White – No Rhodium Plating
- Denser Metal – Holds Stones Better
- Uses 100% Precious Metal
- Hypoallergenic – No Allergies
- Very Inert Metal – Resists Corrosion and Weakening
- Cost – More Expensive than White Gold
Our white gold is a blend of gold and nickel alloy. Nickel gives white gold its whitish color and helps increases the metals hardness. While nickel helps in whitening white gold, it doesn’t completely make it white. Our alloy does require Rhodium plating every six months.
We also work in 18k White Gold. This alloy has more precious gold and is a little heavier than 14k White Gold. The natural color is very comparable to 14k and does require Rhodium plating.
All of our white metal jewelry items will look virtually identical coming out of our shop. After several months of wear, a white gold ring may need to be re-plated where as a platinum ring is always white. After a decade or two, a white gold ring may require re-tipping of prongs and channels. Platinum wears away at a much lesser rate than white gold and it is not uncommon for Platinum to last a lifetime.
- Less Expensive than Platinum
- Very Hard to Scratch
- Easy to Size
- Not as Durable as Platinum
- Not White – Requires Rhodium Plating
- Possible Allergic Reactions
- Negative Reactions with Chlorine
We work in both 14k and 18k Yellow Gold. These alloys are softer than there white counterparts. Rings made in yellow gold are more prone to wear and tear than white metals.
- Less Expensive than Platinum
- Easiest to Size
- Not as Durable as White Gold
Platinum is about 1.6 times heavier than White Gold. Comparing two identical rings, one in White Gold and one in Platinum, the Platinum one is automatically 1.6 times more in price. Another factor is the much higher percentages of actual precious metal used in Platinum blends, the Platinum blend we use is 95% Platinum, compared to the typical Gold blends that are only 58% Gold (14K) or 75% Gold (18K)
Due primarily to the density of Platinum, it is much more difficult to achieve a perfectly polished finished surface. Therefore, it takes much more labor to produce a Platinum ring over an identical White Gold piece.
Platinum is at least twice as expensive and can at times be 3-4 times as expensive as a White Gold ring. The exact amount is based on many variables.
Because Platinum is renowned for it’s durability, we highly recommend having the crown or prongs of your ring made in Platinum. This will help protect your diamonds and gemstones longer than Gold.
What is Rhodium plating?
Does white gold discolor or turn yellow over time?
Are all white gold rings Rhodium plated?
How much does it cost to Rhodium plate a ring?
How long does Rhodium plating last?
With the recent popularity of white metals, we are asked similar questions more and more frequently. The answers depends on several factors that I will explain below.
Rhodium plating has been the method of choice to give most white gold items the bright, white look of platinum and nearly all white Gold jewelry items sold in the US market are Rhodium plated.? As explained in our section on White Gold, there are many white gold mixes available in the marketplace all having varying degrees of whiteness which would best be described as a “similarity to platinum” Rhodium is a member of the platinum group of metals and is probably too brittle to use to make rings by itself, but this brittle characteristic makes for a very durable finish or plating for other metals such as white gold.
Rhodium plating on a new ring should last six months to a year until the plating will be noticeably diminished. The actual layer of rhodium applied in the plating process is microscopic (maybe a few microns thick) the rhodium plating will eventually wear off every ring it is applied to.
Typically it is near the bottom of the ring where the loss of the plating will first be noticeable; this is due to the wear and tear on this area of the ring. Conversely, the top area of the ring and areas with diamonds or engraving, etc. will retain the rhodium finish longer as these areas are less prone to the wear and tear. As well, rings with large polished areas will make the inevitable wearing away of the rhodium finish more noticeable.
There are other variables that may affect the longevity of the rhodium finish. Individuals body chemistry, occupational and life style wear and tear.
To properly rhodium plate an item, the item should first be polished and then thoroughly cleaned to the point of being absolutely clean of any dirt, oil or even a finger print which could prevent a nice even plating of the item. After the standard cleaning methods of heated ultra sonic cleaning and steam cleaning, the item should also go through an electro-cleaning process where the surface of the jewelry item is activated by electricity in a heated cleaning solution.
If there are yellow gold elements or areas of the ring such as in two tone rings, these yellow Gold areas will have to be “masked” with a substance ( fingernail polish is popular) so the yellow area is not plated white.
Like anything else, results will vary, especially if shortcuts are taken. If fewer of the above described cleaning steps that are used in the process, the rhodium finish could wear off in the first month.
In the last few years rhodium plating has become a more expensive service to provide as rhodium prices have sky-rocketed to $6000.00 per ounce. Expect to pay between $25.00 to $60.00 for a complete Polishing, cleaning and Rhodium plating of a ring. Two tone designs may be more due to the necessity of masking the areas that are not to be plated.