Understanding Metals

Posted by Sara Guerrero on

In the world of fine jewelry, there are all sorts of stones and metals, each requiring their own level of proper love and care in ensuring their longevity. When shopping for engagement rings, wedding bands, or any other type of jewelry, it's important to consider and be mindful of the nature of the metal you are wearing. Taking your lifestyle into consideration and asking yourself questions like “does my daily activity involve working with my hands?” or “am I being active in a way that could damage my piece of jewelry?”, are just a few needing answers in order to narrow down the best type of metal. 

All that glitters is (not always) gold…

Gold has long been used in jewelry creations all over the world, dating back to its earliest recorded use in ancient times circa 4000 B.C. Since its introduction to the world of fashion and beauty, gold has historically become the most popular type of metal used in jewelry to date. It has also branched out into what we now recognize as gold karat and types of gold: Rose, White, and the coveted Yellow gold ranging from 8k-24k. Aside from their differences in color, these different golds also vary in composition, containing different combinations of mixed alloys which influence the metals durability. Let's throw platinum as the queen of all metals into the mix and ask a question: So how does one decide which metal is best for them? 

Let’s find out. 

Which one?

Gold is measured by karat, or purity. This is determined by the ratio of pure gold to metal alloys in pieces of jewelry, meaning the higher the karat, the greater the amount of pure gold used, with 24k being the highest and 10k being the lowest accepted rate in the US. Although it may seem intuitive to want the highest karat gold in your jewelry as possible, if it's not being purchased as an investment, then pure 24k gold may not be the best option because of its soft and extremely malleable nature. As the rating lowers on the karat scale, the hardness and durability increases as the other mixed in alloys offer added strength to the jewelry. This is why 14k is the most common gold found in fine jewelry containing 58.3% gold and 41.7% alloys which contribute to its hardness. Aside from karat consideration, you’ll also want to think about what metal color will best fit your skin tone, maintenance considerations and last but not least, how the center stone looks like with that particular metal (our specialty in guiding!).

14k White gold will contain a mixture of pure gold with palladium, silver, nickel and zinc. This combination of alloys contributes not only to the paler coloring, but also increases its hardness and durability. Although it's important to keep in mind that white gold will need to be refinished with rhodium plating at least yearly to maintain its silvery-white color.

14k Rose gold is a mixture of pure gold with copper and silver alloys. This combination also makes rose gold a more durable metal type with the amount of copper in it influencing both the rosy color and hardness. Copper allergy prone clients - not your metal choice. Family of colder color metals, best suitable for colorless (D-F) or near colorless (G-J) diamonds.

14k Yellow gold  The most hypoallergenic of all three gold colors. We specifically love it for its purest color of all golds, warm tones, corresponding perfectly with lower color diamonds, making them appear more colorless than when set with white, rose gold or platinum. One thing to keep in mind when selecting gold is its malleability, it is more susceptible to losing its shape.

Platinum The Rolls Royce of metals we like to call it. Different in composition and price from its gold friends, platinum is going to be the most durable of metals and a great option if you plan on having a piece that can withstand any wear and tear. In regards to esthetics, white gold and platinum look nearly identical, the main difference being the higher price of platinum, roughly by 40-50%. Lastly, the only treatment needed is polishing of the metal, not needed to be done as often as rhodium plating on white gold. Platinum will always be our GO TO when it comes to the least amount of maintenance and durability. Available upon request.


No same piece is made equal.

With quality being our first and foremost importance, it’s important to remember that engagement rings are built differently than wedding bands. Center stone of the engagement ring needs significantly more metal to hold it in place. Weight of the stone and height of the setting are just a few factors to consider during the process of design. Knowing that the center stone is going to be almost always sitting at the highest point of the finger, the outside “world” makes it most susceptible and prone to damage. We can not speak enough about the importance of caring for your jewelry, above being one of the main reasons as to why. Somewhat contrary, the composition of the wedding bands doesn’t allow the same amount of metal around the stone, in order to see the significantly smaller stones. Design of some bands in particular, doesn’t call for or allow for a lot of metal in particular. Because of that, it is very important to understand the build of each band (shared prongs being more prone to damage when not cared for appropriately - learn more about shared prongs here) and the type of metal that it is made out of, in order to make the best decision that’s appropriate to individual lifestyle and expectations. (We’re always full of suggestions!)

What suits me best?

Now that we’ve covered durability of the different metals and how they can complement your lifestyle, let’s cover a few more important “to-knows” when shopping for different metal jewelry. 

Specifically when speaking to engagement rings or rings with different stones in them, you should consider how the color of the stone will react with the selected metal color. For example, near colorless diamonds (G,H,I,J) will almost always look more white against 14k yellow when compared to 14k white gold or platinum since the warmer metal color makes the otherwise warm toned diamonds appear more white. Something to think about! How can we help you with that decision? When designing engagement rings in particular, Kasia always looks at the stone first and sets it into a metal that is most suitable for the stone itself. 

Also keep in mind, the more gold is in a metal (such as 100% pure 24k gold) the more saturated the color will be. Pure gold has a vivid, almost orange color to it as opposed to 14k-18k gold which will carry much more subtle tones due to the other alloys mixed into it. 

All in all, the metal you select should speak to not only your fashion sense, but also to your lifestyle. Consider how you plan to wear a piece of jewelry in your day-to-day life, and remember everything you now know about the different types of metal they can be made in. 

We hope this gives an insight into picking the perfect piece for your growing Kasia Jewelry collection! Still indecisive? We are certainly here to help!

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