This engagement ring is just about to be adored for years on end. It’s set to be one of the most symbolic jewels she’s ever owned and will eventually gain heirloom status, passed lovingly from one generation to the next. There’s a small handful of important factors to consider when choosing an engagement ring, and metal type is one of them.

This guide will help you to navigate the daunting world of ethical metal options and settle on the one that’s perfect for her forever jewel.


WHAT SUITS?

Focus first on her unique appearance and sense of style - then choose the metal colour accordingly.

If she wears jewellery on a day-to-day basis, pay attention to those accessories. Does she seem to gravitate towards one metal colour? Most people like their jewels to match to a certain extent, so if she’s already established a colour scheme for herself, it’s a safe bet to conform to that.

If her jewellery collection appears to be a mixed bag, with silver and gold hues freely combined, choose the metal colour based on the preferred gemstone colour. For example, the red ruby is set off wonderfully by yellow gold, whilst cold metals like white gold or platinum best accentuate the white diamond and its sparkling brilliance.

If it’s rare to see her rocking jewellery at all, consider her skin tone instead. Cool, silver-toned metals like platinum and white gold tend to look beautiful on fair skin, whilst warmer and darker skin tones are wonderfully complemented by equally warm-hued metals, like yellow or rose gold.

 

HARDNESS

The Mohs Scale of Hardness grades materials based on their ability to scratch others; in other words, their hardness. When choosing the metal for her engagement ring, it’s important to pick one that’s resilient enough to withstand the trials and tribulations of everyday life.

Pure gold scores a 2.5-3 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness – the same as pure silver – meaning it’s actually fairly soft in its initial form. However, pure gold is usually combined with other elements like copper, nickel and zinc to make it tougher and thus more suited to day-to-day wear.

Platinum scores a 4-4.5 on the scale, so it’s slightly better equipped than gold when it comes to contact with other surfaces. Platinum is a wise choice for the lady who leads an active lifestyle; its density not only makes it less prone to scratches and scuffs, but provides a secure gemstone setting.

Whilst there’s no rule about combining colours, metals are capable of scratching and wearing away at any other metal that scores lower on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. For example, a platinum wedding band would batter a gold engagement ring over time. For this reason, it’s important to choose her engagement ring with foresight. If there is to be commitment to one metal, which do you think she’d choose for her wedding ring?

 

LONGEVITY

As well as bumps and bangs, some metal can unfortunately fall victim to discolouration over time. White gold is generally an alloy consisting of 75% pure yellow gold and 25% other metals such as palladium - the latter included to give the yellow metal its silvery-white hue. However, even with the presence of these white metals, white gold still shows a slightly yellow tinge. For this reason, it's usually plated with rhodium to mask the yellow hue and offer a completely white finish. Unfortunately, rhodium plating isn't designed to withstand years of daily exposure to the elements, so wears away slowly over time, once again revealing the slightly yellow metal underneath. The rate at which rhodium plating wears is completely contextual, depending on all sorts of factors from jewellery care to day-to-day activities and even the unique acidity of the wearer's skin!

We recommend having white gold re-plated with rhodium once every couple of years to keep it looking white and fresh. This is a quick and easy process offered by the majority of jewellers.

 

ETHICS

Finally, it’s important to consider your ethical priorities when choosing the metal for her engagement ring. We currently offer two types of ethical metal. Our newly-mined gold, certified by Fairtrade or Fairmined, helps to support small-scale and artisanal miners via fair wages, safe working conditions and community projects.

Our 100% recycled metals are small in carbon footprint in because they require no further mining.

If your main concerns are traceability and championing the human beings behind your jewel, a third party-certified gold is the route for you. If your impact on the environment is of greater anxiety to you, a recycled metal is the way to go.

 

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Love, Arabel & Team