As with all aspects of wedding planning today, there is a tremendous amount of choice for the metal you can use to make a wedding band.
The choice of wedding bands goes so far that you could even decide not to have a metal wedding band at all! Celebrities like David and Victoria Beckham and Beyoncé and Jay-Z chose to have tattoos when they wed. But if that’s a little bit too far out for you and you fancy something more traditional, but with the flexibility for you to show off a little creative flair, then having a custom wedding band designed for you and your spouse-to-be would be the way to go.
What do the carats of gold mean?
Carat is the English version of the word Karat, meant to have originated from the Arabic meaning “fruit of the carob tree” and was a unit of mass although another story tells that the name is from the Greek word ‘keration’ meaning carob seed. In any case, a karat or carat when used to refer to gold – is a measure of purity and weighs 0.2grams.
This purity is why Gold is mixed with metals like copper and silver, making it harder and better to work with and wear. This reduction in purity dictates the number of carats given to the precious metal. For example, a single gold carat is 1 part of a possible 24. So 18-carat gold is an alloy of 18 parts pure gold and six parts of another metal and therefore 9-carat gold has nine parts gold and 15 parts another metal and so forth. The metals mixed with the Gold determine the colour. For instance, white gold is an alloy of gold and at least one white metal – usually silver or palladium. And yellow gold maintains it’s yellow by mixing alloys of silver and copper whereas rose gold gets, its rosy hue from the addition of copper. These additions, while reducing the purity, make the gold harder – therefore more natural to work with and more durable to wear.
Is the highest carat you can get as it’s gold in it’s purest form and consists of 99.9% gold. It is naturally yellow and highly valuable, due to its purity; it’s incredibly soft and cannot be used to make fine jewellery.
It’s the most non-reactive of all metals: and will not react with oxygen or most chemicals, meaning it won’t tarnish, rust or perish. Gold is one of the metals of antiquity (the others being gold, silver, copper, tin, lead, iron and mercury) which were used by prehistoric humans. While the origins of its early discovery and use are unknown, there is evidence of the Egyptians using gold as far back as 3000 BC – merely mindblowing.
Gold is relatively rare and difficult to extract in large quantities, making it expensive. It’s thought that there are only 171,300 tonnes of gold mined globally – enough to fill into one single Olympic swimming pool.
Consists of around 91.6% gold and is still very soft, so it’s still not viewed as being suitable for jewellery – particularly anything set with stones.
Contains 75% gold, with the other 25% made up of other more durable metal alloys used to add colour and strength. For example, copper is added to yellow gold to create rose gold. While white metals, such as silver, or palladium will be added to yellow gold to create white gold. 18ct yellow gold is a beautiful buttery yellow, warmer and brighter than 14ct and 9ct gold.
Has about 58.5% pure gold and has a warm yellow hue. It is more affordable than 18ct gold, making it a popular choice in America but isn’t found quite so much in the UK.
Has 37.5% pure gold; it is the most affordable form of gold jewellery and portrays a light yellow hue. Its higher percentage of other metals, makes it stronger and more durable and particularly suited to the creation of jewellery.
I can craft wedding bands out of 9-carat or 18-carat Gold in either yellow, rose or white gold. I also make rings out of platinum, and there is now the exciting option of using Fairtrade metal.
Buying Fairtrade gold gives you complete satisfaction that the miners employed to dig up the minerals for your wedding ring were paid a fair price for their work, giving them financial security. They also ‘receive an extra amount of money to invest in building the future of their families and their communities, through education, medical care or environmental projects’.
What’s the difference between 9 and 18-carat gold?
As 18ct gold is 75% gold and pure gold is a soft metal, people used to think that 18ct gold made a less resilient wedding band than 9ct. However, ‘with modern alloy technology … 18ct alloys are at least equally as durable as their 9ct counterparts and offer the additional benefits of tarnish and corrosion resistance.’ The difference between how they tend to wear comes
People sometimes believe that 9ct Gold is more durable than 18ct Gold; this is down to a confusion between the terms durability and hardness. 9ct Gold is harder than 18ct Gold due to the higher concentration of alloys added to make up for a lesser quantity of pure Gold. For example, with a pane of glass and a sheet of plastic – the pane of glass is harder than the sheet of plastic. If you were to scratch the pane of glass – you would end up with an angry scratch, whereas the plastic would be more forgiving and bend with the scrape. That is the difference between the two, 9-carat Gold is the glass, and 18-carat Gold is the more accepting plastic.
Let’s look at the colours of Gold more closely
Yellow Gold wedding and engagement rings are the most traditional choice. Yellow Gold is easy and practical to wear and repair.
White Gold is made by alloying Yellow Gold with other white metals, such as nickel and zinc, to create the silvery colour. White Gold is plated with a layer of Rhodium, which provides a hard, shiny surface. The Rhodium plating does wear off, so your ring might need to be re-plated when it starts to show signs of wear. White Gold wedding and engagement rings have been increasing in popularity over the last twenty years.
Rose Gold is giving White Gold a run for its money. This warm, autumnal-coloured gold is gaining in popularity as a choice for engagement and wedding rings but remains a unique option.
Platinum is the most expensive and rarest of the precious metals used for jewellery. Platinum is a hard, heavy metal making it an excellent choice for people wanting a very durable wedding band. Unusually, platinum also has hypoallergenic properties, so it’s great for people with skin allergies.
Which metal suits your skin tone best?
The best way to determine your skin tone is to look at your veins. Mine are a distinct green so much, so they often look like green pen marks. Which would mean I have a warm skin tone, I’m in good company along with Cameron Diaz, Nicole Kidman and Naomi Campbell. And find that Yellow and Rose Gold would look best on me.
Conversely, a cool skin tone will find their veins are a blue or purplish hue. You usually don’t tan all that well either, down to a lack of melanin in the skin. You share fantastic company with Reese Witherspoon, Kim Kardashian and Anne Hathaway. Silver, Platinum and White Gold are your go-to colours.
If you’re struggling to identify the colour of your veins, you have a neutral skin tone – meaning you can wear whatever you like and look beautiful! Saying this, I am a big fan of mixing my metals and wearing both at the same time!