4th October 2018

A Guide to Wedding Ring Metals

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When it comes to planning a wedding, there is so much to think about. But the one thing that will be with you from that day forward (other than your partner of course) is your wedding ring. It’s amazing how many people forget about the wedding rings and end up leaving them to the last minute. However, as you’re going to be wearing them for the rest of your life, it is definitely worth putting some thought in. To make sure you love your ring forever, it is best to choose something that suits your style and lifestyle. There are many factors to consider, such as metals, shapes, style, and profile. 

If you are new to jewellery and feel totally lost, a good place to start is deciding which metal is best for you, your lifestyle and your budget.


Yellow Gold

Yellow gold is the most traditional choice of metal for wedding rings. It has long been considered a desirable precious metal, valued for it’s rich and lustrous colour. Gold is measured using a karat system which indicates the gold content. Here at WRD, we offer 9, 14, 18 and 22k yellow gold.

22k is the purest of the gold alloys that we offer. It contains a gold content of 91.6% and is therefore the highest in value. This high gold content makes this alloy the most rich in colour. However, this does also mean that it is the softest of the gold alloys that we offer, and could therefore show signs of wear more quickly.

9k gold has the lowest gold content of the alloys that we offer. It contains 37.5% gold, with other metals making up the remaining 62.5%. 9ct is our most popular yellow gold alloy. Pure gold is extremely soft, while the high proportion of other metals in 9k gold actually make it more hard-wearing. The colour is still unmistakably yellow and golden, but the jewellery itself is nicely durable.

18k yellow gold offers a happy medium between the pleasant colour and status of 22k, and the durability of 9k. It is less brittle than 9k gold, which makes it a much better option for rings with precious stones. 


White Gold

White gold became fashionable for jewellery in the 1920s. This popularity has endured, and it remains the most popular precious metal within the UK today.

Many of our clients are surprised to discover that white gold does not exist in a pure state, and is in fact simply a clever alloy of pure yellow gold. To create white gold, pure gold is alloyed with metals such as palladium and silver to create a silvery white metal. White gold is available in 9k, 14k, and 18k. Each of these alloys contains the same proportion of pure gold as their yellow counterparts. 9k white gold can often appear slightly greyish white, whereas 18k will have a slight yellow tinge to it. 

Traditionally, white gold jewellery is rhodium plated so as to give it the whitest possible finish. Rhodium also helps to preserve white gold jewellery as it creates a protective layer on top of the metal. Rhodium is hypoallergenic, so you may still be able to wear white gold jewellery even with a sensitivity to components in the alloy.

White gold can require a little maintenance as over time the rhodium will wear off. Most people choose to have their wedding rings freshly rhodium plated every year or so. This helps keep your ring shiny, white, and keeps scratches to a minimum.


Rose Gold

Rose gold was popularised in Russia thanks to the iconic jeweller, Faberge. As with white gold, rose gold does not exist as a pure element. The beautiful warm, pinkish tone of rose gold is created by alloying pure gold with copper. The purest form of rose gold available is 18k which is 75% gold. 18k rose gold has a more subtle pink colour, and appears more traditionally golden. 9k rose gold has a much higher proportion of copper, so is much more pink in tone.

Rose gold is really flattering on most skin tones. It pairs really well with other colours of metal such as yellow gold.


Platinum is known for being the most valuable and prestigious of all the precious metals. It is so rare that it is said that if all the worlds reserves were poured into an Olympic size swimming pool, that it would only just cover your ankles! The platinum that we supply is 95% pure and is alloyed with ruthenium. It is hypo-allergenic and requires very little maintenance.

While platinum is the hardest of all the precious metals it will still show signs of wear over time. However, when platinum is scratched, the metal is displaced rather than removed. This means that the volume of metal remains the same. If you have the budget, platinum is certainly a fantastic choice for your wedding ring due to it’s hard-wearing qualities and it’s beautiful, naturally white finish. The flexibility of platinum (also known as metal memory) makes it the ideal choice for diamond settings.



Palladium is from the same metals group as platinum and therefore shares many of it’s properties. It has a very similar white sheen and is also resistant to corrosion and will not tarnish. Palladium is however much less dense than platinum. Due to this it is a great choice for somebody that would like a lighter ring on their finger. Palladium is actually more scarce than platinum.

The value of palladium can vary wildly depending on the global economy. During times of economic stability, palladium drops significantly in price. During those times it is a great choice for those who love platinum but have a smaller budget. In times of economic instability, palladium prices skyrocket to more than that of platinum. When palladium prices are higher, we would always recommend choosing platinum as a more sound investment.


Sterling Silver

Silver has been used for making jewellery for thousands of years. It is still a popular choice for wedding rings due to it’s distinctive colour and it’s affordability. Pure silver is extremely soft, which is why silver jewellery in the UK is always made from sterling silver. Sterling silver is an alloy of pure silver and other metals such as copper.

Sterling silver is known to tarnish. This natural process occurs when the copper in the alloy reacts with sulphur in the air, moisture, or other chemicals. The speed of the tarnishing process completely depends on the acidity levels in the wearer’s skin and can happen quicker to some than others. Sometimes people like to have their silver rhodium plated. This provides a protective layer to the jewellery, and can be done upon request when you order a silver ring from WRD.



Titanium is a relatively modern choice of metal for a wedding ring. It is becoming more and more popular due to being lightweight, strong, and hypoallergenic. Titanium has a distinctive grey colour that is much darker than white precious metals.

The resilient properties of titanium make it one of the more practical metals for a wedding ring. It is great for those with an active lifestyle, as it is incredibly difficult to bend or reshape. The chemical properties of the metal mean that is does not tarnish and also make it completely non-toxic. Due to this, titanium is a great choice for those with sensitive skin.



Zirconium is very similar to Titanium in both weight and resilience. In it’s natural state, the metal has a graphite-like sheen that is just a touch lighter than Titanium.

When heated to a high temperature, zirconium forms a thick black layer of oxidisation. Zirconium that has been heat treated in this way is known as black zirconium. This finish is becoming increasingly popular as a modern, unique choice for wedding rings. While zirconium is durable, please be aware that black zirconium is slightly less hard-wearing. This is because the oxidisation layer can be scratched or chipped off. Black zirconium rings should be treated with more care, particularly if they have a matte finish.



Tungsten carbide is a chemical compound of tungsten and carbon atoms. It begins life as a fine grey powder, but it can be pressed and formed into shapes using specialist machinery. It is common for use in industrial machinery; to make cutting tools; in armour-piercing shells and other weaponry; and of course jewellery.

Due to the nature of the material, once tungsten carbide is shaped it cannot be reshaped. It is twice as hard and dense as steel. In fact tungsten can only be polished with industrial abrasives. Tungsten rings are 10 times harder than rings made from 18 karat gold.

Because tungsten rings are so hard and stiff, they are resistant to scratches and dents. However, with hardness comes brittleness. Tungsten rings can shatter if dropped, so it is imperative that you buy the correct size when ordering your ring. Tungsten is dense, so a loose ring can easily fall off your hand.




Steel is another modern choice for a wedding ring. It is slightly lighter in colour than titanium and zirconium, and appears a more similar colour to silver or platinum. Stainless steel is hard-wearing, medium density, and anti-bacterial. It is a great option for people with sensitive skin. Steel is also a relatively eco-friendly choice of metal for your wedding ring as it will typically be made up of 60% recycled metal.


Wear & Tear

Something that is often misconstrued with metals is the idea of durability and strength. We understand that this misunderstanding can lead to disappointment, so feel it is important to be clear.  When metals are described as scratch-resistant and durable, this should not be confused with scratch-proof or infallible. It is important to be aware that which ever metal you choose to go for, eventually your ring will show signs of wear and tear. Wedding rings are lifelong items, and will undergo lots of little knocks and bumps in the weeks, months and years of use. However, with the proper care and maintenance, there is no reason why your wedding ring will not last you for the rest of your life. 

So whatever you budget, taste and lifestyle, give your wedding rings some thought and be sure to think about which metal is right for you. If you need any help or advice, please feel free to email [email protected] or call 01273 696 515. You can also browse our website here


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