14k Gold, 18k Gold, Or Platinum Engagement Ring Setting, Which One is Best?
by Edward Calderazzo
We'll start with 14k and 18k gold. Both of these metals are perfect for engagement rings. Both of these gold alloys are much less expensive than platinum. 14k gold, whether it be yellow or white, has a 58.33% gold content and the rest of the alloy is other harder metals such as nickel, copper, palladium or zinc. On the other hand, 18k gold, whether it be white or yellow has a gold content of 75% with the rest of the metal or alloy mixture being other hard metals. So, 14k gold, whether it be white or yellow, is harder than 18k gold, therefore, being a more secure choice for diamond engagement rings. Platinum on the other hand is very rare and it's the hardest(60% more dense than gold) jewelry metal.
Platinum is much stronger, heavier and more expensive than gold. Platinum won't tarnish, however it will scratch overtime just like gold so it may need to be re-polished. Platinum is not only expensive due to its rarity, hardness and shine, it's also expensive because it takes an extremely skilled craftsman to work it. Platinum is the best choice of metal if the engagement ring setting is holding a big center diamond, however you can have a 14k gold ring setting made with a platinum head to hold the center diamond.
All three of these metals have been used for decades as ring settings. As a jeweler I've had the pleasure of overseeing a jewelry repair department so over the years I've seen a few rings returned for repair. If it was a ring they were returing, it was usually an 18k gold ring with a little accent diamond or diamonds that had fallen out. My educated guess is the 18k gold alloy was not hard enough. And let me tell you, women don't like to part with their engagement rings for a repair.
Both 14k and 18k white gold diamond rings will need to be rhodium plated over time and this depends on how much the ring is worn by the lucky lady. Rhodium plating keeps the metal looking white, this is not expensive at all. Don't fret, sometimes for a gold ring to tarnish, it will take years of wear. I'm talking about high quality gold alloys. All in all, it's up to you, the shopper, these three metals have been used for decades and in some cases centuries for engagement ring settings. For those savvy shoppers, here's a tip - a 14k white gold engagement ring setting with a platinum head could be the best choice.