Every piece of fine jewelry comes from a certain type of precious metal. Some might last longer than others, while others tend to lose their high grade and quality over time. Some might need more regular cleaning and polishing, while others are more low-maintenance.
All precious metals have their unique qualities and respective benefits. And by understanding each of them a little more in-depth, you’ll be able to make more informed choices about your next jewelry purchases, and also take better care of the pieces you currently own.
Let’s take a closer look at the different types of jewelry metals, their characteristics, and pros and cons.
6 Types of Jewelry Metal
Yellow gold, or simply called gold, is one of the oldest and most precious metals. It symbolizes prosperity and wealth, and has been a traditional choice for engagement and wedding rings because of its timeless beauty and value.
Its purity is measured in karats, with 24 karats being 100% gold. However, higher karats also means less metal durability. That’s why 14K or 18K gold – strengthened with other metals like copper, nickel, silver, and zinc – are more popular choices.
- Dense and malleable
- Doesn’t corrode, rust, or tarnish
- Easy to work into fine and intricate designs
- Easily matches different metals and outfit colors
- Hypoallergenic and easy to maintain
- Lasting beauty that improves with age
- Stable value even in times of economic downturn
- Won’t lose original color over time
- Can be dented or scratched easily
- Requires regular cleaning and polishing
This type of gold has grown in popularity in the recent years. Rose gold is made of pure gold, mixed with copper and silver alloys to help strengthen it. As a lustrous pinkish metal, rose gold encompasses different shades of red, rose, and pink gold – and the more copper is used in the mixture, the redder the gold appears.
- Does not tarnish
- Luster lasts a long time
- More affordable than other metals because copper costs less
- Highly durable, tougher than white or yellow gold
- Non-hypoallergenic metal
- Not as widely available as other types of gold
- Requires regular cleaning and polishing, which could be costly
A mixture of pure gold, nickel, palladium, silver, and rhodium coating, white gold is one of the more highly sought-after jewelry metals to date. Its durability and strength depend highly on the percentage of other metals in it.
Just like yellow gold, the value of white gold depends on its karats and how much metal was used to make the ring.
- Easily complements diamonds and other light-toned gemstones
- More affordable compared to platinum
- More durable and scratch-resistant (versus yellow gold)
- Can cause allergic reactions for some due to the nickel element
- Needs to be redipped regularly to retain its color and luster
- Rhodium plating needs to be replaced quite often
A natural white metal, platinum is one of the rarest metals in the world. Symbolizing prestige and high stature, platinum is a stunning classic jewelry metal that looks nearly identical to white gold.
As a scarce metal, it tends to be more expensive than gold and silver. The cost can also depend on the ring style, amount of platinum used, and vendors.
- Can easily accentuate diamonds and other gemstones
- Highly resistant and retains natural beauty
- More dense and durable (compared to white gold)
- Significantly more expensive
- Requires cleaning, polishing, and replating every few years
- Some platinum get stripped away when cleaned
Titanium is a strong and unique metal that can be used for men’s and women’s wedding bands. A rare silver-colored metal, it is characterized by low tensity, high strength material with hypoallergenic benefits. Since it is incredibly lightweight, titanium accessories are perfect for those who lead an active lifestyle.
- Can last for years without losing its quality
- Very lightweight
- Natural resistance to corrosion and rust
- Strong and highly durable
- Can be affected by harsh chemicals (e.g. chlorine) and cleaning products
- Difficult to cast
- Easily prone to scratches
- More expensive compared to other metals (e.g., aluminum, iron, and steel)
Silver is one of the most popular and versatile jewelry metals in the world, with an outstanding, lustrous appearance. Since it is more abundant and accessible than gold or platinum, silver tends to be less expensive.
It conducts heat so well that it tends to be challenging to work with. That’s why amateur jewelers practice their techniques of soldering and heat control on silver before moving on to gold or other metals. Similarly, pure silver is soft, so jewelry makers often alloy silver with other metals for better durability.
- Can be crafted easily in different shapes and sizes
- Extremely lightweight even on heavy designs
- Excellent shine and luster
- More affordable compared to gold or diamond-encrusted jewelry
- Numerous cleaning and polishing options, both for commercial and do-it-yourself home methods
- Silver alloys make beautiful, strong pieces perfect for daily wear
- Soft and malleable
- Higher tendency to tarnish over time
- More costly compared to harder metals (e.g., tungsten and titanium)
- Slightly more prone to scratches and dents
At the end of the day, your choice of jewelry metal comes down to your personal preference, style, and how you’ll wear and use the piece. Now that you know their main differences, along with their pros and cons, you have a better idea of which jewelry metal suits your needs or wants.
Ready to rock your standout silver pieces? Check out Tribal Son’s collections today.