When it comes to gold, people have a lot of choices. For instance, not many people are aware of green gold, featuring 14 to 18 karats and using silver, zinc, or cadmium as the alloying metal. For this article’s purpose, however, the variations will be limited to yellow gold, white gold, and platinum.
Gold itself is too malleable to be stable. In its rawest form, it assumes more of a liquid than a solid state. To rectify this, the artisan will combine it with other metal alloys. The most common metals are silver and copper. The ratio in combining both metals will determine the measurement for gold– whether it is 18K or 14K, and so on. The measurement is also material to the price. The simple equation is, the less content for gold, the cheaper it would be.
Apart from complementing almost all look, gold is also a good investment because it almost always yields a good return. While the price of gold in the open market fluctuates, you can hand a piece of golden jewelry down generations, and it will still look good.
Yellow Gold Durability: Least
To produce that golden tint, gold is mixed with metal alloys like copper, zinc, and silver. These metals will generate an oxide that will bring out the yellowish tint. The color is more distinct and can be spotted from a mile away.
Here are the different karats for yellow gold:
14K — Gold is 58.3% pure
18K — Gold is 75% pure
22K — Gold is 91.7% pure
24K — Gold is 99.9% pure
The higher the purity, the more expensive it’s going to be. But its durability is inversely proportional to the karat. In the above example, the 14-karat gold would be more durable compared to the 22-karat gold.
While it is the least durable than white gold and platinum, it is also the most hypoallergenic.
Also, if you have a modest budget, you can purchase a 14K ring because it combines both worlds’ best–it retains the vibrant sheen and the durability. It is also quite affordable compared to 18K Gold.
It may surprise you to know that 9 in 10 consumers buy 14K gold compared to the other karats.
White Gold Durability: Higher
In contrast to yellow gold, the metal here is combined with zinc, platinum, nickel, and palladium. However, the resulting product would still have that yellowish tint. The artisan will have to plate it with rhodium for that white sheen.
When you say durability, you refer to the material’s ability to withstand denting and scratching. It means you do not have to bring your wedding ring to your jeweler as often for repolishing and cleaning.
Also, the price of dipping to revive the sheen is so inexpensive that some jewelers will offer it for free.
Aside from the durability, white gold can also be mistaken for platinum by a casual observer. Even if you claim it is platinum, your friends are not likely going to challenge your assertion. However, you will save as much as 40-50% in cost when you buy white gold instead of platinum.
The neutral color also makes it very flexible because you can match it with almost anything in your closet.
However, in terms of price, there is no difference between white gold and yellow gold, as they both feature the same metal content depending on the karat.
Platinum Durability: highest
Platinum ranges from 95-98% in purity level and will assume the appearance of white gold. The casual observer will not likely make the distinction between platinum and white gold. In terms of price, platinum is more expensive compared to white gold and yellow gold.
While the price per gram is similar between yellow gold and platinum, the process of manufacturing the finished product is different. As a result, you would have a denser and heavier piece if you buy platinum. The extra heft and weight explain why platinum is more expensive than yellow or white gold.
As already mentioned, platinum jewelry would have a minimum of 9% purity level compared to 75% gold and some other metal alloy for the 18-karat jewelry.
On the downside, platinum requires more maintenance compared to gold, as you need to bring it to the goldsmith for repolishing and cleaning. The process strips some of the platinum away.
Yellow Gold, White Gold, or Platinum: Which One is Right for You?
First, you need to determine your skin tone. You are known to have a warm skin tone when you can see green veins on your wrist, and you can easily get a tan on your skin. In terms of eyes, you will usually have green, brown, or hazel eyes. Your hair tends to be black or red.
You have cool skin tones when you can see blue veins on your wrist, your skin burns easily when you are under the sun for a considerable period of time, and you have brown or black hair, as well as green or blue eyes.
If you have a warm skin tone, rose gold or the yellow gold will look best on you. If your skin tone tends to lean toward the cool side, you will be better off buying platinum gold or white gold.
In the end, it all boils down to preference. You should not base your choice on how you think people will perceive you. Make sure to try the jewelry and hold it in front of the mirror to make sure it sparkles and stands out against your skin. It would also be best if you can bring a friend along for a second opinion.
If you can’t decide, then you can opt for two-tone jewelry as the design is making a comeback. More and more people are purchasing two-tone wedding rings and engagement rings for their significant other. The one edge they have is versatility, as they usually go well with whatever outfit. That is a good choice, especially since you do not take off your wedding or engagement ring wherever you go.