Different metals from red gold, yellow gold, white gold and platinum

Choosing A Metal For Your Wedding Rings

Which metal should you choose for your wedding ring?

Probably the most important thing to consider when shopping for wedding rings: choosing the best metal for you.

Traditionally wedding rings are made of a precious metal. This used to mean a choice of either gold, which comes in various purities and colours, or platinum. Silver is classed as a precious metal but is generally considered to be unsuitable for weddings rings as it is very soft. These days you also have the option of palladium, and even non-precious metals.

When choosing which metal is right for your wedding rings, your choice should be influenced not just by your personal style, but also by practical factors such as durability and suitability to your lifestyle. Someone who does a manual job, or whose hobbies involve contact with hard and abrasive materials, is likely to do considerable damage to rings made from softer metals.

A mixture of metals

Before choosing a metal you first need to decide which colour you prefer. – You might like to try on rings in different metals to see which best suits your skin tone or matches the other jewellery you wear.

If you prefer yellow or red metal you’ll be looking at one of the gold alloys, but if you prefer white metal you have a wider range to choose from. You could consider white gold, platinum, palladium or Titanium.

Platinum is the rarest of the precious metals and is, therefore, the most expensive.
It is naturally white so requires no plating, unlike white gold.
Platinum is a very tough and hardwearing metal.

platinum and palladium

Palladium is one of the ‘platinum group’ metals and shares many properties of platinum itself but is a cheaper alternative.
It a tough metal like platinum, it is naturally white in colour, so doesn’t need plating.
Palladium comes in two purity grades: 950/1000 and 500/1000.


18ct yellow:
18ct yellow gold is the most commonly used.
It has a rich yellow colour.
Has a high percentage of gold mixed with other metals.
It is quite a soft metal.

9ct yellow:
Not as intensely coloured as 18ct yellow gold.
It has a lower percentage of gold than 18ct yellow but the other mix of metals makes this alloy stronger and more hardwearing.

18ct yellow gold, 9ct yellow gold, 18ct white gold and 9ct white gold

18ct white:
White gold was originally developed as a cheaper alternative to platinum.
It is yellowy white in colour.
It needs regular plating to give it a cleaner white appearance, similar to that of platinum. The plating wears away over time, revealing the yellowy colour underneath.
It is a softer metal than platinum and palladium.

9ct white:
It is creamy white in colour and is rhodium-plated to look white (using the same process as with 18ct white gold.)
9ct white gold is softer than 18ct white because it is alloyed with silver rather than palladium.

18ct red:
It is a warm red colour with hints of yellow.
It contains 75% gold mixed with copper, resulting in a rich colour with a warm coppery tint.

9ct red gold:
This alloy is made from 37.5% pure gold mixed with a large percentage of copper. This results in a tough alloy with a strong coppery colour.

18ct red gold, 9ct red gold and titanium

Titanium is not a precious metal, so is relatively inexpensive. It is extremely lightweight, tough and hard wearing. This may suit someone who has a very active lifestyle or a heavy manual job. It is a white metal but has a strong greyish tinge. A disadvantage of titanium is that it is not possible to re-size a ring if your finger changes size and it cannot be cut off.

If your wedding ring is going to be worn next to an engagement ring, it is advisable to have both rings made in the same metal to avoid the tougher metal wearing the softer one. It will also mean that the colours of the two rings will match perfectly.


If your ring is in a precious metal it should carry a hallmark, which is proof that the ring has been independently tested by an official Assay Office to guarantee that it is of the stated purity.

A full hallmark is made up of a series of symbols which tell you who made it, which year it was tested, and which Assay Office tested it. The most important symbol is the fineness mark which shows the purity of the metal, expressed in parts-per-thousand.

The type of metal you choose is one of the main factors determining the price of a ring. As all precious metals are sold by weight, the dimensions of the ring also have a big effect on price.

For someone on a tight budget it might mean a choice between a lighter-weight ring in a higher purity metal and a heavier ring in a less pure metal.


Aurum designer-jewellers offer a free design consultation with one of our skilled goldsmiths. This is your chance to discuss all aspects of your ring, including which is the most suitable metal for you, your lifestyle and your budget.
To book your consultation phone 01903 207944.


Loading tweets...