When it comes to engagement ring shopping, there are so many key questions to ask: emerald or round, solitaire or halo, modern or vintage…the list goes on (and on). But the most important question of all might just be gold or platinum. The metal you choose to set your stunner in makes all of the difference—both aesthetically and functionally. Today, then, we’re breaking down the pros and cons of the two most popular engagement ring metals—as well as offering up some tips on additional metals you might not have considered. Read on to find out which precious metal is perfect for your partner.
photo from Nicolette and Roger’s proposal
- Tried and true: When it comes to engagement rings, there’s no denying that gold is…well, the gold standard. It’s an extremely versatile metal, is easy to find, and is available in multiple color options to suit an array of style preferences and skin tones (more on this below).
- Available in multiple colors: When you think “gold”, chances are your mind immediately goes to the classic yellow gold—but don’t forget about white gold and rose gold (and even green gold!). White gold tends to feel a little more modern than yellow gold—and it’s the perfect option for your partner if she tends to lean toward cooler tones. Rose gold has that unmistakable warm pink hue, which we love for someone wanting an on-trend, romantic-as-ever metal. The versatility in colors also means there’s an option for every skin tone—yellow gold tends to look stunning on dark or olive skin tones, while white gold looks best on cooler or rosy skin tones.
- It’s back on-trend: It’s no secret that gold is currently rising in popularity (and we’re all about it). This is especially true of yellow gold (which, a decade ago, was seen as a more dated metal—but now is seen as a modern, on-trend choice) and rose gold, which—major bonus—is a more affordable option. Depending on the diamond cut and setting type you choose, you can create a super streamlined, modern aesthetic for your engagement ring using gold as your metal.
- Not super unique: Because it’s the most popular choice for jewelry, gold settings aren’t exactly one-in-a-million. If your partner has his or her heart set on a ring that’s unlike any other, gold might be too mainstream of a metal choice.
- Can cause allergic reactions: Because of the nickel in it, white gold is the metal most likely to cause allergic reactions. Rose gold can also trigger allergic reactions in anyone who’s allergic to copper (rose gold gets is rosy hue from a combination of yellow gold and a copper alloy). Be sure you know of any allergies your partner has before deciding on a metal—especially if you’re leaning toward white or rose gold.
- Can require replating: White gold is plated with an element called rhodium for durability. This is great in that is helps your engagement ring resist tarnishing and scratches—but, overtime, it can wear off, meaning you may have to head to the jeweler for replating (typically every 1-3 years, depending on wear and tear).
- Considered the most precious: Platinum is considered the most precious of all jewelry metals, which makes it super unique. It’s five times as rare as gold and is the perfect option for the partner who wants the added comfort of knowing her metal is the cream of the engagement ring crop.
- Extremely durable: Platinum is known for its density and durability—it’s not nearly as soft as gold and won’t scratch as easily, which makes it the perfect option for someone with an active lifestyle or who works with her hands. Also, the prongs (which have the all-important job of holding that precious stone in place) break less easily when they’re made of platinum than gold.
- Pure and Hypoallergenic: More pure than gold, platinum is a naturally hypoallergenic metal—making it a super smart choice for someone with sensitive skin or an array of allergies.
- Price: Because platinum is considered the most precious of engagement ring metals, it also happens to be the most expensive. If you’re on a tighter budget and would rather spend your dollars on the stone itself and not the metal, opt for white gold (or even palladium—which we touch on below) in place of platinum for that same silvery shine at a much lower price point.
- Density: While platinum’s density can be a plus in that it makes for a more durable metal, it can also be a con when you consider cost. Because it’s so dense, more of the metal is required to make the engagement ring—which can add to the cost of the ring.
All that glitters isn’t always gold (or platinum). If you still haven’t found an engagement ring metal that speaks to you, check out some of the below options:
- Titanium: Titanium is lightweight and super strong but it can’t be resized—so be sure you know your partner’s exact ring size prior to purchasing.
- Tungsten: Tungsten comes in colors—like black, white, or grey—but it’s very heavy and, like titanium, cannot be resized.
- Palladium: Palladium looks like platinum and is far less expensive—making it a great option for anyone who wants that distinct platinum shine at a fraction fo the cost. Just keep in mind it’s not nearly as durable as platinum, so it’s not a great metal choice for someone with an active lifestyle.
Ready to start shopping? Check out Blue Nile’s recently purchased engagement rings for inspiration on creating a ring.