Gold Ring NZ: Read This Before You Buy
Gold is often the preferred metal of choice when it comes to the band of your engagement or wedding ring. But it is easy to get caught out with a low quality gold ring — one that irritates your skin or fades in colour. This article will guide you through how to pick a high quality gold ring — especially for your engagement or wedding.
How many karats does gold come in?
Gold comes in 24 karats. This means pure gold is 24 karats and any gold below that is a gold alloy. The higher the gold karat, the more pure gold there is.
22 karat gold has 22 parts gold and 2 parts of another metal. 18 karat gold has 18 parts gold and 6 parts of another metal. You get the picture.
But when it comes to jewellery, buying 24 karat gold, especially as part of a gold ring is not the wisest decision. It is too soft. When making gold rings at Four Words, we typically use 14K - 18K gold. This is not too yellow, is strong, and is less prone to scratch — especially when compared to 22K or 24K gold.
For example, the ring above features 18K gold in a half infinity ring featuring baguette sapphires and round diamonds spaced between them. Notice how it is a bit more yellow than the ring below which features a 2 carat round sapphire in 14K yellow gold with accenting diamonds. You can shop either look with Four Words.
What is the best karat gold for an engagement ring or wedding ring?
At Four Words, we typically use gold between 14K and 18K. If you are budget conscious, we can use 10K gold as well. Going any higher than 18K gold will increase the price of your engagement or wedding ring, and it will also appear to be quite yellow.
While this is popular in Asian countries, it is not so much of a trend here in New Zealand, or in Australia.
What are the different gold ring colours?
Gold comes in three main colours:
Yellow gold rings
Yellow gold is the natural colour of gold. The remaining metals that are added to make up 24K don’t have too much of a bearing on the colour of the gold.
Yellow gold is also the most popular gold colour for diamond engagement rings and wedding rings. For example, the diamond ring below features an emerald cut diamond in full bezel in 18 karat yellow gold.
Yellow gold also works well with gemstones.
This boho styled teal sapphire engagement ring features accenting diamonds in a 14 karat yellow gold band.
We’ll know your house is decked out in Anko if you coming asking for a rose gold engagement ring. And we are all about it. Though rose gold has fallen out of fashion for bridal jewellery it shouldn’t stop you from designing your own rose gold bridal set.
The rose colour in rose gold comes from copper. And the lower the carat, the more red it will typically be.
When buying a rose gold ring, we highly recommend you inspect the colour before making a decision. It can come out more yellow or more red depending on the jeweller that you decide to use.
Rose gold looks great with gemstones such as red or champagne diamonds or moissanites, rubies and other warm coloured gemstones.
For example, this kite cut ruby and diamond bridal set features 18 karat rose gold and it looks absolutely stunning.
It can be difficult to pull off with cooler coloured gemstones such as aquamarines or teal sapphires, but emerald stones can work wonders.
This hexagonal cut emerald is featured on 18 karat rose gold. As you can tell, because the gold karat is quite high, the rose gold is not so red.
Rose gold also works well with toi et moi engagement rings.
This toi et moi features a round cut diamond and ruby in 14 karat rose gold in half and full bezel accordingly. The ring below features an Asscher cut champagne diamond and round cut diamond in a 14 karat rose gold band.
White gold rings
White gold is similar to rose gold in the sense it is an alloy. It is a blend of pure yellow gold and precious metals like Palladium, Platinum and Silver. On top of that, white gold is then coated in a precious metal called Rhodium. Without it, the white gold has a yellow sheen. Furthermore, Rhodium is a very hard precious metal and helps to somewhat protect the softer white gold alloy from scratches and dents.
At Four Words, we can work with white gold but don’t recommend it. Over time the Rhodium coating wears out leaving a yellow sheen. This means that you need to recoat your ring every two or three years. Instead of a white gold ring, or white gold jewellery in general, we recommend Platinum.
Below are some engagement rings that we have done in Platinum.
This ring features a 3 stone emerald diamond engagement ring in a platinum band. Platinum is also very strong and is actually even more resistant to scratching and marks compared to 14 karat yellow gold.
Platinum also works really well with cool colours.
This ring features an emerald cut blue sapphire and diamond bridal set in Platinum rings.
What Gold Rings Should I Avoid?
Regardless of how high the karat size, the quality of gold in a gold ring is determined by: the other precious metals that jewellers use, the thickness of the gold, and whether the ring has been plated in gold, is actually made in gold.
So before you buy a gold ring online or instore, make sure to ask about if the gold is hypoallergenic (specifically ask about Nickel), and how the designer of the gold rings have considered structural integrity.
Gold with traces of Nickel
As a way to “beef” up the gold, especially at lower karats, some cheap jewellers use Nickel. It helps to strengthen precious metals like gold and silver. And while gold on its own is hypoallergenic, with Nickel it no longer becomes the case. Nickel can irritate your skin and make wearing your gold ring very difficult. This affects 15% of the population.
Common allergy signs to wearing gold with Nickel include:
The development of a rash
At Four Words, we use high quality gold with no traces of Nickel. All our gold is also hypoallergenic.
Too thin of a gold ring, or hollowed out rings
While it can be trendy to have a very thin gold ring, it can compromise the structural integrity as a whole.
The other issue, especially with lower priced jewellers is with the gold hollowed out from the rings. This makes it like a small pipe with the ring being very light and the ring itself being very weak.
In both cases, the ring is too soft so it will bend out of shape, or it can snap.
At Four Words, we consider the structural integrity of each gold ring in relation to the size and weight of your gemstone, and your lifestyle. You can also learn more about our process and our standard.
Gold plated rings
Gold plated rings or gold plated jewellery is when a ring is coated in a light layer of gold (typically 0.05% of actual gold on the ring) on top of a base metal (i.e., a sterling silver ring, or copper ring). Because the layer of gold plating is so thin, the gold can easily rub off. Gold plated rings are remarkably different to a ring being made from gold.
Want to learn more about what to look for when shopping around? We've written a guide about how to avoid buying a bad engagement ring.
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