CHOOSING PRECIOUS METALS

When you are choosing a piece of jewellery, the metal you opt for is as important as the stone and the design. Some styles look completely different with a yellow-coloured metal compared to a silver-coloured one, and some metals will look better against your skin tone than others will.

Also, you need to consider what other jewellery you wear close by – if you have a gold engagement ring, then you would want to choose a gold wedding ring to wear alongside it. A soft metal like gold will be gradually worn away by a harder metal like platinum.

Furthermore, for those who are contemplating the differences between white gold and platinum, the two precious metals are virtually indistinguishable.  White gold and platinum are optically identical, and they only differ in terms of their durability and density.
Platinum is denser than 18k white gold, so the same piece of jewellery would feel heavier when set in platinum than if it were set in gold. Also, platinum does not wear down over time, and will weigh approximately the same in many years to come, as the day it was purchased.  Gold on the other hand is softer and wears down over time, so will be lighter in future years.
From our own experience, we would advise that if you are considering 18k white gold, platinum would be a better choice, as it negates the need for rhodium plating, a process which is harmful to the environment and incurs more costs in the future. 

Our Commitment

We are a Fairtrade Foundation registered Jeweller (2021- 2022), sourcing gold which supports a secure future for miners, their families and communities. We can also recycle gold or platinum to use in our bespoke pieces, meaning that no new surface metal needs to be mined which is not ethically sourced.

Sketch of the fairtrade icon

White Gold Ring

PLATINUM

Conflict Free Halo Engagement Ring | Mia | Ethica Diamonds UK

A naturally occurring metal, with a lustrous white shine which beautifully accentuates the sparkle of a diamond.

Platinum will last forever, making it the ultimate symbol for true, enduring, and everlasting love. As it is a naturally white metal, it will always hold its beauty, meaning re-plating is unnecessary. Platinum is also extremely durable, and its density makes it the most secure setting for your diamond or precious gemstone.

Our Platinum rings are composed of 95% pure platinum, with the remaining 5% made up of iridium, palladium, ruthenium and other metals. All these metals are also naturally un-reactive, which means that platinum jewellery is hypoallergenic and will not irritate the skin, ideal for those with sensitive skin.

Platinum is one of the world’s most rare precious metals; in fact, 30 times more so than gold and annually, only about 133 tons of platinum are mined, compared to around 2,000 tons of gold. It is also denser than gold, so the same piece of diamond jewellery made in platinum would be approximately one third heavier than in 18k gold of the same design.

The most appealing characteristic of platinum that it will require less maintenance over the years because of its strength. Each time other metals are scratched or polished, a tiny bit of the metal is lost, but not with platinum. A scratch in platinum may leave a mark on the metal, but it is so strong that it will not readily chip, splinter or wear down.

There is not Fairtrade platinum scheme yet, so all our platinum comes from recycled sources, which is as environmentally friendly and ethically sound as we can make it at this point in time.

WHITE GOLD

White Gold Ring

18k is 75% pure gold mixed with white metals such as silver and palladium. The result is a grey coloured gold. In order to give the gold a “white look” it is plated with rhodium.

Much white gold purchased on the high street is rhodium plated, which ensures a high shine on the jewellery. However, rhodium plating is one of the most environmentally damaging processes in the jewellery industry. Also, as you wear your white gold jewellery, the rhodium plating gradually wears off, leaving you with a more yellow colour. If you wear your ring everyday, expect that it should be re-rhodium plated approximately every 12 to 18 months.

Ethica Diamonds uses 18k white gold with a higher palladium content compared to others on the market, which means that it has a whiter intrinsic colour, before it has been rhodium plated. We have chosen this to protect both the environment and our customers – if you choose to have your ring rhodium plated, you can do so, but the underlying white gold is still white without it. We recommend that if a more pure white is the look you would prefer to opt for, you may want to consider  platinum instead.

Fairtrade white gold is available as an option in many of our designs as well.

Sustainable Solitaire Engagement Ring | Eleos | Ethica Diamonds UK
Rose Gold Ring

ROSE GOLD

Rosebud Solitaire Engagement Ring | Kalika | Ethica Diamonds UK

The beautiful pink hue of rose gold is created by using a copper alloy with the gold. Ethica Diamonds uses 18k gold with 25% copper added to the alloy, to ensure a rose colour that is more pink than red.

Although the names are often used interchangeably, the difference between red, rose, and pink gold is the copper content – the higher the copper content, the stronger the red colouration. Since rose gold is an alloy, there is no such thing as “pure rose gold”. A common formulation for rose gold is 50% gold and 50% copper.

YELLOW GOLD

Yellow Gold Ring

Natural gold and colour-saturated alloys are what give yellow gold jewellery its rich shine. The alloys most commonly used, are copper with a red hue, and silver featuring a green hue.

An expert mixture of copper, silver and pure gold gives this precious metal its signature warmth and a lovely rich colour. Like all gold jewellery, yellow gold needs to be polished every 12-18 months depending on how often it is worn.

Ethica-Diamonds-Marabelle-Yellow-Gold-1.0ct-1 copy

Gold Purity

100% pure gold is too soft to wear as jewellery, so it is alloyed with other metals that give it strength and durability. Silver, copper, nickel and zinc are used, with palladium added to white gold, and higher quantities of copper used in rose gold.

Karatage, denoted by a number followed by “k” indicates purity, or how much of the metal in a piece of jewellery is gold. Karatage is expressed in 24ths, making 24k gold, 100% gold.

We craft our jewellery using 18k which is composed of 75% gold, which is alloyed with other metals to make it strong enough for everyday wear.

Karat % Gold Description
24 100% Too soft for fine jewellery
22 91.7% Too soft for fine jewellery
18 75% Ideal for fine jewellery
14 58.3% Ideal for fine jewellery
10 41.7% Not acceptable for fine jewellery

Caring for your precious jewellery

Since gold and platinum are natural elements, they are affected by harsh chemicals such as chlorine or other cleaning products. We recommend that you remove your jewellery when using chemicals, to reduce daily abrasions and prolong the lustre. To clean jewellery, use a solution of warm water and detergent-free soap with a soft-bristled brush. When not worn, store your jewellery in soft cloth bags or the original box, to protect them.

Choosing Precious Metals For Your Engagement Ring | Ethica Diamonds

Click here to view our jewellery care guide

Choosing Precious Metals For Your Engagement Ring | Ethica Diamonds