Silver Engagement Rings- It’s a No from Us
We might stan for silver when it comes to fashion jewels but, darlings, not for your engagement rings. Sterling or not. While silver is def an affordable option to cop a style that suits you (or is super huge and stunning) without breaking the bank, it’s just not going to fulfill your relationship goals. And by that we mean, it’s going to be a pretty harsh fail when it comes to withstanding everyday life. Silver is a lot of upkeep, too little security, and in all likelihood, green fingers and allergic reactions to boot. Not a good life choice, babe. But don’t worry, we’ve got solutions. Let’s explore some other metals more suited than silver engagement rings to standing the test of time.
The Gold Standard
When it comes to metal choices for wedding and engagement rings, gold is, well, the gold standard. Whether yellow or white or rose gold, it doesn’t get more classic. But which gold to choose? That’s where things get a bit more complicated. Let’s start with karats — yes, with a K. Karat is the measure of purity we use when talking about gold, different from carat with a C, which is the measure of diamond weight. A gold karat is 1/24 part, or 4.1667 percent, of the whole. 24 karat gold is basically the finest of the fine. Pure gold. But it’s pretty soft and not great when it comes to something you’re going to wear every day. So it’s mixed — or alloyed — with other metals to help harden it, making it more suitable for wedding and engagement rings. Both for wear and to more securely hold gemstones in place. The two most common options on the market — and what we’d recommend — are 18k and 14k.
So what are these numbers, exactly? They’re how we express the number (out of 24 parts) that is pure gold in a gold alloy. So, 18 karat gold is 18 parts or 75% gold. That means it’s 25% other metals, like nickel, copper, palladium, silver, or zinc. 14 karat gold is 58.33% gold, 41.7% other metals. In the same way, silver can be pure silver or 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals like copper.
How do you know what your ring is made of? Besides shopping with a trusted jeweler, any fine jewelry will be stamped (typically inside the ring shank) with both a metal quality, 18k or 750, 14k or 585, for instance, and should also have a maker’s mark as to who made or sold the item. Sterling silver is typically stamped 925.
Now, when it comes to gold, there’s the classic white and yellow, which are just different alloys. Yellow gold usually has more copper, giving it a warmer hue, while white gold is mixed with more white metals. There’s also rose gold, which has an even higher percentage of copper. If you want to go with a white metal, white gold and platinum are the most popular for engagement and wedding rings, and what we’d recommend instead of silver. Both are stronger, suitable for withstanding everyday wear and securing your diamonds and gems in place, and will last a lifetime if properly cared for.
Nothing to Sneeze At
One of the other major concerns, besides just wearability, is allergens. And a surprising number of folks have metal allergies these days. The most common? Nickel. This is typically what people have reactions to, and it has historically been included in many white gold alloys. Platinum, on the other hand, is naturally hypoallergenic. It’s like the poodle of the metal world. If you know you’ve had metal reactions in the past, we’d recommend platinum as a good white metal choice. You can also find some white golds alloyed with palladium instead of nickel. Palladium is a member of the platinum family, so you’re good to go there too.
Platinum, for other reasons that allergies, is a great metal choice for engagement and wedding rings. Why? It’s super strong and pliable, meaning it can be used to create a delicate look that’s still very secure. It also doesn’t wear away with time. Whereas gold (of any color) is very hard and durable, it does scratch with regular wear, and that metal is lost over time. Platinum, when scratched, it just sort of pushes the metal to the side rather than losing it. So it can be reshaped or repolished if damaged. Platinum also develops a gorgeous patina over time, which is what we call its wear pattern, which is a soft glow. If you want to restore it’s super bright white color, simply repolish!
But isn’t white gold also white? Yes, but not as white as platinum. Remember, white gold is mostly still yellow gold, so even when alloyed, it has a slightly champagne tint to it. This warm white shade is truly gorgeous on its own and can make the perfect complement to a warmer diamond. But if you’re looking for white white white, that’s rhodium-plated white gold. This is probably what you’re most familiar with, as most white gold on the market is plated. Guess what, rhodium is also part of the platinum family! It’s a super rare, super hard white metal that is applied to the surface of white gold, and yes, it does wear away over time. Most folks end up having their ring replated about once a year, and it can typically be done during your standard yearly ring check. Yes, your ring should be inspected for diamond security and damage every 6-12 months.
Not so much. While sterling silver is certainly acceptable for jewelry you wear occasionally, that doesn’t hold your super special, expensive diamonds, it won’t hold up for your engagement and wedding rings. Silver is naturally quite soft and like we said for gold, it will definitely wear away over time. A little tweak or twist and any stone setting can easily be pulled apart and your stone is lost forever. And we know you don’t want to be that careful with your jewelry. Silver also tends to tarnish when you don’t wear it, turning it (and your finger) a not so cute shade of charcoal.
While silver might save you some upfront cash, it won’t be worth it in the long run. Like we said, having a white gold or platinum engagement ring means you’re more likely to have it for life (which is usually the whole point). If you want to save some dough, go with a lower karat gold, like 10k or 14k, instead of 18k. Platinum will typically be more expensive, but sometimes the market is just about even for platinum and 18k, so you might luck out.
Meet Your Metal Match
We offer our collection of engagement and wedding rings in both 14k and 18k white gold as well as platinum. Plus yellow and rose gold, of course. Explore what your dream ring might look like in different metals to find your perfect match. Want to design your own unique style or mix of metals? Try our style quiz and get a free sketch! Need a little more help finding your ideal shade? Email our experts at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get you sorted.