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Jewellery Metal Buying Guide

Jewellery & Watch News

Choosing the right type of jewellery metal for your next jewellery purchase can prove tough; it’s a decision you want to get right if you intend to wear the piece of a long time. But where do you start when there are so many types of metal to choose from, each boasting their own unique set of properties? Whether you’re shopping for an engagement ring for a future fiancé, a wedding band that will sit on your finger for the rest of your life or a special necklace or bracelet or a loved one, W Hamond have got you covered with this handy Jewellery Metal Buying Guide.

Before you start exploring our vast selections of fine jewellery, let us help you make an informed decision by explaining the several different types of jewellery metal types available and the different benefits and properties of each. You can also contact the W Hamond team at any point during your shopping experience for assistance with jewellery metal types. Simply give us a call on 01974 603330 or send us a message at info@whamond.com.


Easily the world’s most popular metal choice in jewellery, Gold boasts a stunning shine and beauty that can last a lifetime. In its purest form, gold is too soft to be made into jewellery alone, so it is combined with other metals to create an alloy. Therefore, gold jewellery is often described in carats. The less gold added the lower the carat. 9ct gold for example is 37.5% pure gold and 62.5% other metals while 18ct gold is around 75% pure gold and 25% other metals.

Solid gold jewellery is considered the most precious and consequently the most expensive. For those looking for a cheaper alternative, gold plated jewellery can be an excellent choice. Unlike solid gold jewellery which combines gold and metal to create an alloy, gold plated jewellery uses a thin layer of gold to cover a base material like sterling silver. Gold plating is sometimes referred to is carats as or otherwise referred to as vermeil. Although cheaper, gold plated jewellery is not recommend for jewellery you intend to wear for a lifetime like engagement rings or wedding bands as the tiny amount of gold can rub off over time and leave a dull finish.



Considered the most traditional variant of gold, yellow gold is a popular choice for engagement rings and wedding rings. It is created through a mixture of pure gold, copper and silver to give it its signature warmth and is available in 9ct, 14ct, 18ct and 22ct. The sunny yellow tones make it a stunning metal choice for those looking for a piece of jewellery decorated in a contrasting coloured gemstone such as our famous Whitby Jet, diamond, ruby, sapphire or emerald.



Another classic choice, white gold jewellery is created by combining pure gold with a white metal like nickel, palladium, platinum, or manganese. It’s crisp white tones mean it can be polished to a highly reflective finish while some white gold jewellery is plated with rhodium to give it an even more brilliant white lustre, provide hypoallergenic properties and make the metal longer lasting for lifetime wear.



Over the last few years, the romantic pink and warm gold tones of rose gold has becoming incredibly popular not only in fashion jewellery but for use in engagement rings and wedding bands. The feminine tones of rose gold are also sometimes referred to as pink gold or red gold and are achieved by mixing copper with yellow gold to form a strong alloy. The beauty of rose gold comes from its varying tones which can be achieved by adding less or more copper to the gold, providing rosy pinks to more reddish tone options.



For those working with a budget or looking for a simple and classic jewellery metal, sterling silver might just be the one for you. It is considered one of the longest standing materials in jewellery making for its malleable properties and inexpensive price while it’s brilliant shine makes it a stunning backdrop to precious gemstones and cubic zirconia. Sterling silver is also hypo-allergic and a non-reactive surface so it can be widely worn by everyone. While sterling silver may be a great metal for some designs, it is not recommended to be used within life-long jewellery like engagement rings and wedding bands since it can tarnish and scratch more easily than metals like solid gold.



If you’re looking for a jewellery metal with an unbeatable durability, platinum is a fantastic choice. Known as the toughest of all jewellery metals, platinum boasts a stunning natural white sheen that will never fade or tarnish in colour. It also holds a high density and heavy weight since platinum is its own naturally occurring metal and often carries a fineness hallmark of ‘950’ for being 95% pure. It’s incredible scratch resistance has made it a popular choice in wedding rings and engagement rings in recent years, however it’s prestigious properties make it a more expensive choice.



Our last metal type is palladium, a fairly new material to the jewellery world since it was only recognised as a precious metal in 2009. Similarly, to platinum, palladium boasts a bright white lustre that won’t dull, has a fantastic scratch resistance yet has a lesser density making it is lighter to wear and can hold heaver stones. A stunning backdrop for crisp diamonds, palladium is often found in two forms, 950 Palladium is 95% pure making it a strong and high density metal, perfect for a long-lasting everyday ring. 500 Palladium is 50% Palladium & 50% Silver meaning it wears much more quickly but comes with a lower price tag!