The most popular rings today are made from Gold or Platinum. Both gold and platinum are durable, sturdy and dependable metals. Either would make an ideal setting for your precious diamond jewelry. Pick the metal that best compliments your diamond and your personal style.
Gold in its purest form is a soft and pliable metal. The malleability, ductility, and softness of pure gold make it virtually useless for wearable jewelry. Jewelry made of pure gold would easily bend and distort in the course of normal wear. To solve this, jewelers began to use an alloyed form known as karat gold. Alloying increases gold's hardness and provides a variety of colors. White gold contains anywhere between 10 and 20 % nickel, plus zinc, copper, platinum, and palladium. These alloys make white gold a harder metal than yellow gold.
Gold content is specified by the codes 10K, 14K, 18K, etc. The "K" number specifies how
many parts, by weight, of pure gold is contained in 24 parts of the alloy. For example:
10k = 10/24 = 41.67% pure gold
14k = 14/24 = 58.33% pure gold
18k = 18/24 = 75.00% pure gold
24k means 100% pure (or fine) gold. Gold itself is impervious to tarnishing and requires strong chemicals for it to dissolve.
When worn daily, gold will tend to dull. Brightening it again is as simple as soaking the ring in warm water and detergent-free soap, and scrubbing it gently with a soft-bristled brush.
Platinum is regarded as the preeminent metal for fine jewelry. It is more rare and more expensive than gold. It is generally 95% pure and one of the only metals that is hypoallergenic (ideal for those with sensitive skin). It is a strong, dense metal and is just about twice the weight of gold. This weight is one of platinum's strongest selling points. In addition to its strength and density, platinum has another remarkable quality - pliability. Just one gram of the metal can be drawn to produce a fine wire over one mile (almost 2 km) long. This quality has enabled jewelers to create beautifully unique engagement rings. Platinum has rapidly grown in popularity in recent years, becoming the new choice for all types of jewelry.
When worn often, platinum does have the tendency to scratch, and once scratched, the only way to polish it is to take it to a jeweler who will usually charge you a small fee to cover the labor involved in re-polishing.
Primary production of Platinum in the United States is confined to the Stillwater Mine, which is located west of Nye, Montana.
Platinum in jewelry is actually an alloyed group of six heavy metals, including platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium and osmium. These other metals are so similar to platinum in weight and chemistry that most were not even distinguished from each other until early in the nineteenth century. Today it is often alloyed with copper and titanium. Platinum jewelry is marked 900Pt, 950 Plat, or Plat.