Precious Metals

Yellow gold wedding band
Yellow gold engagement ring

Platinum, yellow gold, white gold and rose gold. These precious metals are just as important to the engagement ring as the diamond itself. But how to decide on which metal is right for you?

“By knowing your style and setting, you can figure out your budget,” said Amy Weingarten, owner of Good Old Gold in Massapequa Park. “If you get a plain mounting, you can spend more on the center stone.”

What’s the most popular?
“Many brides prefer white gold. Yellow gold isn’t making a comeback, but rose gold is making a resurgence in the market,” said Weingarten. “Platinum is also very popular. However, because you have to spend another $800, that makes it less appealing.”

Weingarten noted platinum is softer than white gold, and in time, a white gold band will wear down. As the shank underneath wears down, so do the prongs holding the diamond in place, making it very easy for that center stone to fall out.

PreciousMetals_WhiteGold_Good Old Gold“With a white gold ring, you’ll be replacing the bottom of your ring, whereas with a platinum setting, the ring will get bent out of shape, but it will not lose its molecular structure,” she said. “It won’t wear thin and a lot of people choose platinum for that reason.”

If you were fortunate to inherit your grandmother’s 85-year-old engagement ring, chances are it will be in pretty good shape. Platinum is a naturally white metal, so it won’t yellow, whereas white gold is 85.5 percent pure gold, which is already yellow. In order to make yellow gold white, silver, nickel and other alloys are added, finishing with a white electroplating called rhodium on top.

Rose gold engagement ring
Rose gold engagement ring

As for rose gold, it is the perfect setting to hold a stone that isn’t as clear.

“Rose gold looks great if someone has to buy an off-color diamond because it disguises the color of the stone,” said Weingarten.

What are they worth?
According to Weingarten, any gold mounting for a simple solitaire ring will cost about $500. If the ring is set in platinum, that mounting would cost about $900.

“The average price of an engage­ment ring is between $6,000 and $10,000. That depends mainly on the metal and, of course, the diamond,” said Weingarten.

White, yellow and rose gold are all the same in price as long as they are all 14K, which is the standard for engagement rings in America. So where is sterling silver in this equation? According to Weingarten, no one uses silver because it tarnishes easily.

“It is essentially an inexpensive metal and isn’t strong enough to be appropriate for an engagement ring,” she said. (Read more about the Guys Guide to Ring Shopping.)

Platinum engagement ring
Platinum engagement ring

How do you clean them?
While you may recognize the gray and maroon diamond cleaners in your local drug stores, you don’t necessarily have to buy them. Simply use a combination of ammonia and water to clean your ring.

“Some people use vinegar and a toothbrush, but just be sure to let the ring sit for a bit,” said Weingarten, who added that this cleaning solution works for all aforementioned precious metals. “The best method is the ultrasonic cleaner because it has heat and vibration, which loosens the dirt.

“A steam cleaner is great too, but use the ultrasonic cleaner first, otherwise the steam can create more dirt.” (Find out more about Meaningful Wedding Gifts and the Wedding Checklist 101.)

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