Choosing the right Metal
There are many choices available today in metals. Yellow gold, White gold and Platinum are the most common and palladium and titanium are closely following. It is important to make the right selection according to the piece you are creating and the environment you will expose the piece to. The following describes some of the attributes of these metals.
Platinum is an excellent choice. It is a beautiful metal. While it is a little softer in some respects it doesn’t require the ongoing maintenance that white gold requires. There are various alloys of platinum depending on its use and it is true that one is magnetic. This is a little strange to us in the jewellery industry as we are certainly not used to dealing with any metal that is ferrous. Although it does tend to oxidize a little in production, it is a little stronger. It is best to discuss your alloy type with your jeweller of choice and give consideration to the wear environment you may expose it to. It should be noted that Platinum is more expensive and it follows that future work such as sizing etc will also be more costly than with gold.
Palladium is from the same family of metals as Platinum. It is lighter and less dense but a little stronger than Platinum and significantly cheaper. It too does not require the ongoing maintenance of plating like white gold. It does have a couple of different characteristics which can affect its use in the workshop and you may find some workshops won’t handle it.
White gold is simply an alloy of gold in the same manner as 18 or 9 carat in yellow gold, except that it is alloyed with different material to achieve the white colour. A nickel based alloy will be stronger but can be difficult to work with. Palladium or Platinum based alloys are more user friendly and less reactive. White gold is customarily given a coating of Rhodium to achieve a brilliant white lustre as white gold can have a gray-
While Titanium is limited in its workability, it has some very good attributes. In the workshop environment it can not be soldered or melted and takes some work to polish. It does however make a great wedding ring for the person who works. For those that are likely to expose their wedding ring to a high wear environment, you will have to try to destroy this metal. It is very hard wearing and super light.
NOTE: Titanium generally can’t be resized so be sure of your size choice. If you plan to change body weight or are a person who is prone to weight fluctuations, titanium may not be the practical choice for you.