Choosing a special piece of jewellery for yourself or a loved one is a huge decision and with such variety of different metals to choose from, it is hard to know where to start.
Customers are concerned not only about aesthetics but durability and practicality, too.
One of the most common questions Village Jewellers are asked is, how a piece of jewellery will wear over time.
We’ve investigated the hardness of common precious metals and answer some of our clients’ frequently asked questions.
Is 24 karat gold a good metal to make jewellery from?
24 karat (kt) gold is pure gold with no other metals added to it – hence, the rich yellow colour.
Pure gold is extremely soft, too soft, in fact to be used successfully in jewellery and it will scratch and bend very easily.
Why then is it so popular in Asian cultures?
Many Asian nations continue to treat gold jewellery as money and a store of value.
Therefore, they purchase high karat pieces.
Their pieces are usually worn occasionally, at significant events, but not on a day- to-day basis.
A ring worn constantly, such as a wedding band, needs to be made from a metal with more durability and scratch resistance.
Which is harder nine or 18 karat gold?
Indisputably, 9 kt gold is harder than 18 kt gold.
For example, a ring made from 18 kt gold contains 750 parts pure gold and one of 9 kt gold has 375 parts pure gold.
The rest is a combination of metals including copper, silver, palladium and platinum.
These metals are harder than pure gold, hence why 9 kt gold is harder than 18 kt gold.
Consequently, 18 kt gold is more expensive than 9 kt gold because it is purer, not because it is a harder material.
However, both are great materials to use in your perfect piece of jewellery.
Is white gold harder than yellow gold?
In general, 18 kt white gold is harder 18 kt yellow gold.
This is because the additional metals used to create 18 kt white gold are harder than the metals used in 18 kt yellow gold.
However,9 kt white gold is softer than 9 kt yellow gold due to the combination of metals inside it.
Again, white gold, in both forms, is an excellent choice of material to make jewellery.
Does rhodium plating make a white gold ring harder and less scratch resistant?
White gold rings are rhodium plated to enhance colour only.
Rhodium is from the same family as platinum and palladium and it gives precious metals a whiter colour.
The plating wears off with time and it is recommended to be replaced annually to retain the white colour.
Why is platinum so popular?
It is popular because of the colour and density.
Platinum is much whiter than white gold, silver or titanium and it feels heavier due to the higher density.
Platinum alloys are about 20 per cent denser than white gold, which results in a ring that feels more substantial, and thus more luxurious.
Is platinum harder than gold?
While it may be true that platinum is harder than gold in its purest 24kt form, 18kt white gold is mixed with other metals, making it harder than platinum alloys, which are commonly 95 per cent platinum.
The small amount of metal in platinum alloys is added to make it easier to work with.
Although a platinum ring is more likely to scratch compared to 18kt and 9kt white gold, it will hold diamonds and other gemstones more securely because platinum is less prone to bending due to its brittleness.
So to get the best of both worlds, we recommend rings with a platinum setting for security of the stone and a white gold band for scratch resistance.
Titanium is an extremely hard wearing material, however it is not advised as wedding band material because it is so strong that a titanium ring cannot be removed easily in an emergency.
In fact, it cannot be removed using regular-ring cutting tools.
It is also impossible to resize, repair or engrave aircraft-grade titanium rings.
How can I reduce wear and tear of my engagement and wedding ring?
Even with a combination of the hardest of metals, there will be an element of wear and tear over time.
Village Jeweller regularly solders rings together to reduce the rubbing effect of the two rings.
If you would like to enquire about this service or ask any other questions feel free to pop in to Village Jeweller or give us a call on 09 534 7404.