Selecting the Right Metal for Your New Custom Ring

Choosing the metal for your new custom ring is as big a decision as choosing the stones in your settings. After all, the metal is a big part of what people see when they’re admiring that new piece of fine jewelry! You want to get it right the first time, so it’s important to consider your many options before you get started.

Considerations for Your Ring Metal

Jewelry Metal ColorsOf course, each jewelry metal has its own set of pros and cons – these are important to weigh, long before committing to the final design of your ring. Although the design you choose may affect which metals perform the best, in general, there are three major factors to keep in mind:

Color. The color of your metal can greatly influence the visual impact of your stones. Common colors available range from dark silver to bright yellow gold, with a range of options in between. For many modern rings, mixing metals can also yield great results and can make for a unique ring that will attract a lot of attention.

Durability. How often do you plan to take your ring in for maintenance? Rings by their nature get a lot of wear and tear, especially if you lead an active life. If you don’t have the time to do a lot of upkeep, choosing a harder metal that resists scratching will yield a ring that better fits your lifestyle than going with a softer, more delicate metal.

Price. Ultimately, no matter what kind of ring you want, you’ll have to pay the bill. Ring metals have a pretty significant price difference, even when the color is very much the same. Make sure your jeweler knows if you’re on a budget so they can suggest metals that will keep you within your comfort zone.

Metal Color Options

Because most metals used in the jewelry trade are alloys of different elemental metals, the colors you can choose between are many.

White metals, for example, aren’t really white, they’re more of a cool silver color. Cool metals are often more unassuming and can complement a wide range of outfits and match with other types of jewelry. The right metal choice can really make gems glisten and shine – depending on your gem choice, of course.

You essentially have four options when it comes to white metal.

  • Silver
  • Palladium
  • White Gold
  • Platinum

Your colored metal options include a wide range of golds, generally mixed with other metals to create various color effects. There are many different yellow golds ranging in purity from about 10 karats to 24 karats. The shades of these golds vary slightly, due to the other metals that are used to increase the hardness of the material.

The “colored” golds are less common, but they’re growing in popularity. These include rose gold, green gold, and purple gold, among others. Remember, they’re all still alloys of gold, so the green, for example, won’t be grass green, it’s more of a greenish tint to a light-yellow gold. Colored golds can be incredibly breathtaking, though, when used in combination on a custom ring.

Gold Silver and Platinum Jewelry

Metal Durability

Your custom ring should include metal colors that you love, obviously, but it’s equally important that it be made of a metal durable enough to hold up to your lifestyle. Otherwise, you’ll risk scratching it or causing more serious damage.

You can tell the relative durability of common ring metals by their Vickers Pyramid Number (HV), measured by the Vickers hardness test. The higher HV, the more durable the ring metal. For example, 18 karat yellow gold, a relatively soft metal, has a HV of 125, where 10 karat green gold has a HV of 170. Your jeweler can help you compare the different metals by hardness, but this rating can help if you want to make some tentative choices before visiting.

Highly durable metals wear extremely well and need very little repair. However, some are very difficult to repair due to their hardness, so before you make your final choices consult with a jeweler. On the other hand, you can also go too soft. That means that even if you really love buttery yellow 24 karat gold, it may make more sense to use it as an accent on a more sturdy white gold base to keep your ring low maintenance over the long run.

A Note on Pricing

Although the pricing on your new custom ring will be based on a range of factors, including the types and numbers of stones you choose, the metal your ring is made of plays a big part. For example, a silver ring will be relatively inexpensive, especially if you treat gold as an average priced ring metal. Platinum, on the other hand, will be more costly, but there are reasons to choose this metal over others, including durability.

Rings with multiple metals will be priced based on how much of each metal is used, so don’t let pricing stop you from adding a rose gold accent to a relatively inexpensive silver ring if you’re working with a limited budget. You may find that a well-placed, more expensive metal accent gives you the same wow factor a whole ring cast in that metal would.

To learn more about using various colors of metal in your next custom jewelry project, call us at 574-264-2040, or contact us via the chat box below, and we will be happy to help you explore the possibilities of unique metal colors.