The Base: Ring Metals and Anatomy

March 4, 2016

Ring Metals

Welcome back to part 2 of our engagement ring series. When it comes to ring shopping, it’s hard to get a handle of what you’re looking for when you don’t really even know what you’re looking at. So this post is going to be a general post on the primary metals used for rings and the anatomy of a ring.


All That Glitters Ain’t Gold

When it comes to buying an engagement ring you’ll be seeing 3 primary metals: platinum, silver, and gold.

Platinum – This is the most expensive of the metals and is always going to be a silver/gray color. It’s a stronger and heavier metal than gold but will eventually start to wear. Good news is, you can get it shined professionally once it starts to wear and it’ll look good as new.

Silver – A lightweight metal with a beautiful luster, silver is the most affordable of the three metals. Rings made of this tend to wear a bit faster than their counterparts due to the softness of silver, but if you clean it regularly and take good care of it, it’ll stay in good condition for a very long time.

Gold – This is the most complex metal in the list because so many things can change about it. For starters, gold typically comes in different weights

  • 24 karat gold – Pure gold. However, pure gold is too soft for wearable jewelry so you’ll never come across this when ring shopping
  • 18 karat gold – The most common gold you’ll see, this is 75% gold and 25% other metals
  • 14 karat gold – A more durable mixture, 14 karat gold is about 58% gold and 42% other metals

You may come across different weights of gold, but I typically would recommend sticking with 18 and 14 karat.

Second, gold comes in 3 primary colors: yellow gold, white gold, rose gold.

  • Yellow gold is the color of regular gold mixed with other metals (usually copper) in order to make it more durable. Yellow gold will eventually show scratches, but it can be buffed or professionally polished and look like it’s never been worn. The depth of the yellow will depend on what karat gold you buy, since the mix will affect the final color. It’s a classic color, but currently not very popular.
  • White gold (the most popular of all the metals) is gold that’s mixed with a white metal (nickel, palladium, or silver). The final piece of jewelry will be coated in rhodium to give it a deep white gold look and make it a little more durable. The rhodium will eventually start to wear, but the ring can always be recoated and look brand new. The color of white gold doesn’t vary based on karat. Probably the most popular color right now.
  • Rose gold (also called pink gold) is gold that’s mixed with copper to give it a bronze-ish color. Like yellow gold, rose gold is the same color all the way through so when it starts to wear you just need to give it to a jeweler for some TLC and it will be good as new. However, as with yellow gold, the color of rose gold varies based on the karat. Rose gold is pretty uncommon, but you should know about it anyways.


Anatomy of a Ring

Now that you know the different metals, you need to know the anatomy of a ring, so here it I from top to bottom:

Ring Metals

Head/Setting – This is the top of the ring, where the diamond sits. There are different types of settings, common ones being prong, cathedral, bezel, and tension


Ring Metals

Shank – This is essentially the rest of the ring, it’s the round part that hugs her finger. The shank has several different properties, but the primary being the visual design of it. Split shank, flat bottom, knife edge, etc

Ring Width – This is the width of the shank, nothing too complex


Ring Metals

Design Terms – As long as you know these 3, you should be OK. Pave, milgrain, and filigree