Pros and Cons of Various Metals for Jewelry

Gold or silver used to be the metals that immediately came to mind when people thought of jewelry. While gold and silver are still mainstays of modern designer jewelry, they’ve been joined by metals like palladium, tungsten, and platinum.

Which metal should you choose for your jewelry purchase? Let’s look at several popular metal types in detail.

Platinum

Platinum is one of the most expensive metals on the market today. It’s also one of the heaviest and most durable. It does have a tendency to scratch, but platinum resists tarnish, corrosion, and normal wear and tear that can take a toll on softer metals. Due to its hypoallergenic properties, platinum is a popular choice with jewelry buyers.
Platinum is usually alloyed with other metals in its group (known as the “platinum group” metals). These metals include ruthenium and iridium, among others.

Palladium

Palladium is another metal in the platinum metals group and has similar properties and characteristics. It is a durable, naturally white metal that resists corrosion. Palladium is also hypoallergenic, like platinum. It is harder than gold but softer than platinum, and can be used in its near pure form. Palladium is less expensive than its platinum counterpart and is easier to size and polish. The upside to this metal is its price. Palladium jewelry is cheaper than its platinum counterpart.

Titanium

Titanium is an incredibly tough metal. It’s also very light. A ring made from titanium cannot be resized, and is also much harder to cut off of the finger in the case of an emergency. Titanium isn’t malleable enough to be formed into intricate patterns, so it’s often seen used in men’s wedding bands rather than women’s engagement rings. Just like palladium and platinum, titanium is hypoallergenic.

Tungsten

Like titanium, tungsten is a tough, durable metal usually made into men’s wedding rings. It’s not considered one of the precious metals, and therefore is an affordable option for anyone looking for a tough, scratch resistant band. Keep in mind that, just like titanium, a tungsten ring cannot be resized.

Sterling Silver

Sterling silver is an alloy of fine silver and copper. Both are soft metals, but when alloyed together, they become harder and more durable. Still, sterling silver isn’t likely to be used with diamonds or other precious gemstones due to its softer state. Sterling silver is an affordable option that is generally used for lower cost jewelry pieces on its own or with semi-precious stones or beads.

Gold

Gold is a versatile metal that comes in shades of white, yellow, green and rose. Yellow gold is the most common, with common alloys being 10k, 14k, and 18k. Higher karats mean higher gold content in the piece of jewelry. As with silver, gold in its pure form (24k) is soft. When alloyed with various metals, it becomes more durable and suitable for a wide range of jewelry.

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