Choosing your precious metal

August 6th, 2011


Here’s a table to help you decide what metal to select for your Celtic-inspired puzzle engagement ring from  Color considerations are really important only if you want to place a wedding band with the puzzle ring.

Precious Metal Color Durability Other Notes
14K yellow gold (YG) 14K YG rings from any source tend to match each other very well Sturdy to wear; stronger than 18K yellow gold.  It does wear away over decades.  Have you seen your grandmother’s jewelry?
Norm tells me that after 27-28 years, he is sometimes asked to do a partial band replacement on a yellow gold ring.  This means he removes the thinnest part of each band, which is at the back of the ring and replaces it.  You pay the shipping and actual costs; Norm keeps his prices very reasonable for the owners of his rings, whether you acquired your ring through him or Crystal Realm.
All of our rings are available in 14K YG.

14K jewelry is stamped either 14K or 585.  The latter is the European designation meaning 58.5% gold content.  It just so happens that 14K is 58.5% gold and 41.5% other metal alloys.

(18K gold is stamped 18K or 750)

14K rose gold (RG) 14K RG rings from any source tend to match each other very well Stronger than YG; Not all of our Celtic rings are available in RG, including the raised claddagh knot band.
14K white gold (WG) 14K white gold from different sources would all be different colors, due to varying formulas for alloys, but generally all white gold jewelry is rhodium plated to achieve uniformly bright white color across sources and artists.  Rhodium is a platinum family metal; it does wear off over time, leading to the need for replating from 1-3x per year by a local jeweler. Unless, that is, you want to just let the plating go and not replace it. Stronger than YG, but more brittle.  Jewelers say it can break, but Norm’s and my clients have not had this experience. Crystal Realm’s non-rhodium-plated rings are puzzle rings and traditional poesy rings.  All the rest of our white gold rings are rhodium-plated.
Two colors of 14K gold We can create your puzzle ring with two bands in one color and two bands in another. Depends on your metals Prettiest in RG & WG.  We can do YG  & WG, but the look is not as crisp; the different colors are harder to discern, which means the ring color looks a tad muddy.  In either case, you decide what color you want the wedding band to be, and the outer bands of the puzzle match the wedding ring.  This is a strategy that can work to reduce the difference in two colors of white gold.
Palladium All palladium rings match each other in color.  Palladium is used 95% pure, so the 5% alloys used do not tend to change the color. Palladium has been in use in jewelry for only a few years.  However, its working characteristics are very similar to platinum (most jewelers love to work with it), so we expect it to perform similarly to platinum over time.  If it does not, then it will be at least as good as, or better than, 14K white gold in terms of wear.  
Platinum All platinum rings match each other in color.  Like palladium, platinum is used 95% pure. Norm has never had to do a partial band replacement on a platinum ring, even after 30 years of wear.

Although platinum shows scratches, it generally polishes up beautifully, and over years of wear, it becomes more scratch resistance.  This is because of a quality called “work-hardening.”  The more you wear it, the harder it becomes.

Platinum is stamped PLAT or 950.


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