What is the Best Metal for an Engagement Ring?

Many people are focused on the diamond and gemstone for the perfect engagement ring. However, the perfect ring doesn’t stop just at the stone. You still need to think about what type of metal you want to make the band. Knowing this, you may be wondering what the best metal for an engagement ring is.

The best metal for an engagement ring is platinum. It is more expensive for a reason. Platinum compliments diamonds naturally. It is also stronger than other types of metal. This allows it to withstand more daily activities.

Of course, while platinum is the best metal for an engagement ring, there are other options. We will go over each of these and the pros and cons of each metal type. Even if platinum is our favorite choice, it’s not the most popular choice. There are many reasons you could go with another metal type—and that might be the best decision for you!

Explaining Karats

It’s important to understand how karats work before we dive into this guide. When you see 10K, 14K, 18K, you may be wondering what that means.

Gold in its purest form is 24K. This is not used in jewelry because it is extremely soft. Instead, there are other metals mixed into most jewelry to increase durability. This makes the jewelry able to be worn often. You definitely want this engagement ring to be worn often!

When you see different karat numbers, it’s telling you how close to pure gold the jewelry is. There is a simple calculation to figure out how many parts gold are in the jewelry you are looking at.

Take the purest form of gold at 24K. Then, subtract the karats that are in your piece. This will tell you how many different parts of the metal are in the piece.

Examples

For example, let’s use this formula to calculate a common value of 14k.

24K-14K=10K

This means that in any 14K piece of jewelry, fourteen parts of it are gold, and ten parts are other metals. You can use this with any other karats to understand what you are buying.

Is Sterling Silver Good for an Engagement Ring?

Sterling silver is a popular choice for many pieces of jewelry. When it comes to sterling silver, it’s made of 92.5% pure silver. The rest is a metal alloy. You will see sterling silver, also referred to as 925 Silver Platinum.

There are pros and cons of using sterling silver as the main metal for your engagement ring.

Pros

Let’s go over why sterling silver is a good idea for an engagement ring:

  • Some durability due to the added metal alloy
  • Affordability
  • Different finishes allow multiple styles
  • Etching engravements on the ring is easy

Cons

There are reasons you may not want to choose sterling silver for your engagement ring:

  • Not durable enough to withstand hard use
  • Tarnishes quickly
  • Scratches easily
  • Soft silver metal will not last generations of use
  • Sterling silver will not hold a precious gem as long as other metals

Verdict

You should not find the perfect valuable stone for an engagement ring and then put it in a sterling silver band. Sterling silver isn’t durable or strong enough to hold such a precious gem.

Sterling silver makes a great choice for fashion jewelry pieces. It doesn’t make the best choice for an engagement ring.

You may use silver if you are on a budget. You can also use it if you are not casting an expensive stone in the ring. Otherwise, it is best to pick a different metal!

Is Gold Good for an Engagement Ring?

Yellow gold is a classic choice for an engagement ring. The popularity of yellow gold was down for a while. Now, it is back in the spotlight. It is a metal that will never go fully out of style.

There are different karats that comprise engagement rings. You will likely never see a 24-karat gold ring band. Gold in its purest form is extremely soft. This makes it a bad choice for something that is worn on a finger.

We use our hands every day. We need to have durability as part of our bands. Let’s go over a couple of different karats and when they may make a good choice for an engagement ring.

Is 10K Gold Good for an Engagement Ring?

10K gold is less pure than other types of gold. This is the least number of karats a gold piece can be in the United States. It is comprised of less than half gold as compared to other metals.

Pros

There are some pros to using 10K gold for your engagement ring. They are:

  • Price—it is cheaper than any other karat
  • Durability—it is more durable than higher karat amounts

Cons

There are more cons than pros to using 10K gold on an engagement ring. Let’s go over those now:

  • Appearance is lackluster
  • Can trigger allergies
    • Gold is less than half of the material in 10K, so other metals are more prominent
  • Not offered at many places
    • Places that sell high-quality gems will not offer this as an option
  • Typically used in lower quality jewelry

Verdict

We don’t recommend 10K gold as much as a higher amount, like 14K. Of course, if you are on an extremely tight budget, you may consider this. However, for a ring that signifies forever, it’s best to go up to 14K at least. 14K is not that much more expensive than 10K in most cases.

Is 14K Gold Good for an Engagement Ring?

14K gold is actually one of the most popular choices for engagement rings. It offers the durability that 10K does and a higher content of quality gold.

Pros

Let’s review why this is a good choice for an engagement ring:

  • Durable enough for everyday wear
  • Affordable
    • This is a great choice for someone on a budget—it is still mostly made from gold but more affordable than 18K
  • Great value for money

Cons

Even though it is the most common gold, there are some drawbacks that should be considered:

  • More pure gold available to buy
    • It is rare to buy an extremely expensive diamond and put it in 14K gold unless durability is a concern
  • Not good for use for a ring that will have extreme wear and tear

Verdict

14K gold gets a thumbs up from us. It is a good choice for most engagement rings. It is also budget-friendly, which is a plus.

Is 18K Gold Good for an Engagement Ring?

18K gold is comprised of more gold than the other karats. It is not as widely popular as 14K; however, it is an excellent choice for your engagement ring.

Pros

  • Shinier appearance than lower karats
  • A durable choice
  • Less maintenance than lower karats
  • Most luxurious of the gold options

Cons

  • More expensive than other karats
  • Not quite as durable than lower karats

Verdict

The durability may sound like a concern. However, the difference between 14K and 18K is less than you would expect. It is still a durable choice. It’s a wonderful, luxurious choice for an engagement ring.

Is White Gold Good for an Engagement Ring?

White gold is a good choice for an engagement ring, provided it’s over 10K. White gold has grown in popularity. It is a product of gold.

White gold is mixed with metals that have a lighter appearance. This helps get the white shiny appearance. It is also plated to get the white appearance.

Overall, in comparison to yellow gold, it is often more durable. Typically, your bride-to-be will have a preference in color. If your bride-to-be has a nickel allergy, make sure to check what metals are used in tandem with gold on your ring.

Is 14K White Gold Good for an Engagement Ring?

White gold is the same case as yellow gold for 10K. We’ll assume our stance on 10K gold, white or yellow, is clear.

Pros

White gold is very similar to yellow gold, however it has some differences:

  • White gold is more durable than yellow gold
    • This is good for a more active lifestyle
  • Affordable
  • Value for money

Cons

There are some drawbacks you should consider. Again, these are similar to yellow gold, but there is one significant difference:

  • Allergies
    • White gold often contains nickel
  • More pure gold is available to buy in 18K

Verdict

White 14K gold is a great choice for an engagement ring. It is durable and beautiful. It is also budget friendly.

Is 18K White Gold Good for an Engagement Ring?

When you look at 18K gold, it is better from a hypoallergenic standpoint. Because 18K is purer, it has less metal alloy in it.

Pros

The pros for using 18K white gold for your engagement ring are:

  • Shinier appearance than lower karats
  • No plating required for 18K
  • Better for those brides with allergies to metals
  • Most luxurious of the gold options

Cons

There are some cons to buying an 18K white gold engagement ring:

  • More expensive than lower karats
  • Slightly less durable than lower karats

Verdict

18K white gold is the best choice for a bride who likes the shiniest ring possible. It is a good choice for a more hypoallergenic ring as well. It is very luxurious and beautiful and makes a great choice for the home of the stone you chose.

Why is Platinum Good for an Engagement Ring?

After all this, you may decide to go with a 14K or 18K gold (white or yellow) for your engagement ring. We don’t blame you! You can’t go wrong with those choices. However, platinum is our favorite for a reason.

Let’s take a deeper look into why platinum is our favorite choice for engagement rings.

Pros

The positives of a platinum engagement ring far outweigh the cons:

  • The most durable
    • Platinum was actually used during wartime which speaks to how strong it is
  • Hypoallergenic
    • If your bride-to-be has a metal allergy, platinum is the best choice for you
  • Beautiful appearance
    • Naturally a soft white
  • Purity of metal
    • Platinum rings are 95% platinum
  • Heavier weight

Cons

While it is our favorite, there are some drawbacks to choosing platinum:

  • Price
    • This is the main drawback—it can be priced up to five times more than gold
  • Not as shiny in comparison to gold

Verdict

For durability, platinum is the best choice. It is a beautiful metal that compliments the stone you chose. The pros of platinum far outweigh the cons. However, if you are on a budget, you should consider 14K or 18K white gold for a similar appearance.

Final Thoughts

We recommend platinum due to the durability and strength. However, 14K or 18K gold in yellow or white is a great choice as well. We do not recommend sterling silver or 10K gold for an engagement ring. When setting a precious stone in metal, those types of metal do not make great decisions.

Choosing a metal can seem overwhelming. We hope that this article has helped guide you to a decision you feel good about! Ultimately, your choice is the best one for you and your bride-to-be.

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Carl Jones

Carl has been involved in the jewelry business since his youth. Growing up in South Africa his parents were jewelers who worked in the industry for decades.

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