jewelry metals

Jewelry Metals 101

When shopping for jewelry, whether for a wedding or other special occasion, it is important to focus not only on the diamonds or gemstones but also on the metal band. There are a wide variety of traditional jewelry metals, such as gold, platinum or sterling silver as well as several more modern metal types (e.g., stainless, steel, tungsten, and titanium) that can compliment the aesthetics of the jewelry piece.

Here are some of today’s most popular jewelry metals.


Gold has been used in jewelry for thousands of years because of its extreme versatility and gleaming luster. The standard measurement for gold is a karat, which is divided into 24 parts, according to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Because 24K (100%/pure gold) is too soft to be used in jewelry design, most gold is available in your choice of 18K (75% gold/25% alloy), 14K (58% gold/42% alloy) and 10K (42% gold/58% alloy). Alloying metals, such as copper, zinc, nickel or palladium lend strength and durability to gold. Gold is available in three colors: rose, white, and yellow.


Platinum has a white hue that beautifully showcases a stone’s fire and brilliance. It is thirty times rarer than gold, durable, and naturally hypoallergenic. This makes platinum a popular choice for engagement and wedding ring bands. Additionally, its elegant sheen will not fade over time, making re-plating an unnecessary expense. Proper care should, however, be taken to ensure its longevity. Because of its rarity, platinum is more expensive than gold, sterling silver and other jewelry metals.

Sterling Silver

Another white jewelry metal that is quite popular is sterling silver. Alloyed with other metals, usually copper, lends strength and durability to silver’s already beautiful sheen. Silver can tarnish, but thorough, periodic cleanings can restore its gleaming luster. Sterling is one of the most affordable metals uses in jewelry design today.

Alternative Metals

Beyond gold, platinum, and sterling silver is a world of modern-looking metals. These metals have become quite popular for wedding jewelry – especially for men’s wedding bands. Alternative metals include cobalt, titanium, tungsten, and stainless steel. You will find each of these metals to be durable (some more than others) and hypoallergenic.

Ready to start looking at jewelry metals? Schedule a consultation with Cornelis Hollander. Our jewelry designs are manufactured in our Scottsdale based studio. At Cornelis Hollander, we work with some of the highest skilled craftsman to produce the finest quality, custom designed jewelry.

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