Selecting what metal to use as a setting for your diamond is just as important as choosing the best diamond.
The following are metals that are commonly offered by most retailers:
Pure 24 karat gold is too soft to be used in diamond jewelry.
Silver is not used to set diamonds because of its softness.
Which metal is the best for diamond rings? Most jewelers agree that is is Platinum.
Platinum is the king of metals. Ranking the highest in durability and purity its resistance to wear makes it the most secure and protective metal. Platinum is also rare, making it just as symbolic as the rare diamond you choose for your ring.
Platinum won’t change shape even over a long period of time so the precious stones continue to be held firmly and securely. All precious metals scratch, but due to platinum’s density, when it is scratched, it is merely displaced so it will not actually be losing mass. Gold on the other hand loses very tiny amounts metal when scratched.
Another excellent choice for a diamond ring’s setting is Palladium.
National Jeweler magazine has been educating both the public and jewelry sales teams on the benefits of palladium.
Palladium has been known since 1803 when it was first discovered by William Hyde Wollaston. Palladium was named after the asteroid Pallas, which had been in the news at the time having been first sighted in 1801. Palladium began being used in jewelry around 1939 when smart jewelers realised that it was extremely durable and thereby presented excellent value for high quality jewelry. As a rare and lustrous silvery-white metal, palladium is one of a number of metals in the platinum group of metals. These include platinum, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium and osmium. Palladium being from this family of precious metals shares the strength of platinum.
Palladium has been found in Australia, Africa, Canada, South America and North America. The vast majority of palladium used in the United States is mined in North America. The Stillwater Mining Company, located in Montana, is the only source of palladium in the United States and has received awards for its green mining practices.
Palladium is strong and durable. Weighing less than platinum because of its low density allows for bigger and bolder jewelry designs to be created. Their extra size doesn’t hamper them being worn with ease. Plus, since it’s naturally white, there’s no expensive maintenance to keep it brilliant for life.
A growing number of fashion-forward jewelry designers have chosen palladium as their metal of choice. Typically less expensive than platinum or gold also makes palladium the preference for smart shoppers who want affordable luxury.
Those allergic to some other metals will love palladium’s purity. Palladium is pure because it gets its color and luster from nature. Other metals that are not naturally white are mixed with nickel to appear white – and nickel can cause allergic reactions.
If you are wondering which metal looks whiter, pure palladium or pure platinum, consumers often say the two look identical.
Another popular choice for diamond rings is Gold. Eighteen karat gold was considered until recent times to be too soft for diamond jewelry. Modern metallurgical techniques have made it possible to use 18 karat gold in jewelry without the risk of stones falling out. Retailers often market so-called white gold. Gold, as you know, is yellow. Anything labeled as white gold has either been mixed with other alloys and hence is usually 14k gold. This makes it stronger and as a result may look whiter. To make it even whiter gold may have been rhodium dipped, which means it has a surface coating of a whiter metal called rhodium. The rhodium plating is not permanent as rhodium is too soft to be impervious to scratches and abrasion. This means it will eventually need to be re-dipped, as the coating will wear off over time. Rhodium dipped “white gold” is usually very similar in price to palladium, so it would be my recommendation to buy palladium rather than “white gold”, if platinum is beyond the budgetary limits you have set for yourself.
Yellow gold is often the choice for anyone choosing a diamond with slightly more coloring. The contrast of the yellow gold ring when seen next to the very slight coloring of the diamond will make the diamond’s coloring less noticeable. Yellow gold is also nice with colorless diamonds. The yellow color of the gold does not make the diamond look yellow.