Choosing the right ring metal for your dream ring

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When it comes to selecting the ring metal, where do you even begin?

Cue the confetti and pop the champagne – “She said yes!” Now, as you start your exciting journey of finding the perfect ring, you’re faced with lots of dazzling choices.

Whether it’s for an engagement ring or a wedding band, the metal you choose is just as important as the design and the gemstone.

In this article, we will look at popular ring metals and help you make an informed decision and choose the best for your needs and desires.

Gold The Standard For Timeless Elegance

When it comes to ring metals, gold remains the unrivalled champion of tradition and romance.

This precious metal has a history that goes way back through the ages, from ancient civilizations to today’s modern love stories.

In South Africa, gold rings are cherished for their blend of opulence and sentiment. But not all gold is the same.

It’s important to consider the different karatages – with options like 9ct, 14ct, and the top of the range 18ct gold.

The karat affects the price you will pay, the durability, and the percentage of pure gold within the alloy.

different grades fo gold

Pros and Cons of Gold Rings

  • Pros
    • Affordability: Gold offers a range of prices, allowing you to find something that suits your budget.
    • Malleability: It can be crafted into virtually any design imaginable, perfect for a unique engagement ring.
  • Cons
    • Tarnish: Higher karats of gold may scratch and deform more easily, requiring more care.
    • Potential Allergies: Lower karat gold alloys often contain metals like nickel, which can cause allergic reactions.

Gold comes in different colours, you have classic yellow gold, more modern white gold, and romantic rose gold.

The choice is often based on your style and taste.

White gold rings are often rhodium-plated to enhance their silvery appearance.

Current trends in South Africa are showing a growing love for the soft pink hues of rose gold, which are ideal for wedding and engagement rings, setting the stage for a romantic love story.

Platinum: The Pinnacle of Prestige

Platinum stands as the big daddy of luxury in the realm of ring metals.

Often the go-to choice for those looking for the ultimate in an engagement ring or wedding band, platinum’s status in South Africa’s jewellery landscape is hard to deny.

Its weight and sturdiness make platinum an exceptionally durable metal.

It can withstand the knocks of daily wear and is a secure setting for precious stones, particularly diamonds.

Its resistance to tarnish and hypoallergenic properties make it a sound investment not just financially but also for the wearer’s comfort.

platinum ring

Platinum vs Gold – A Comparison

  • Pros
    • Lasting Shine: Platinum’s natural white sheen doesn’t fade or change colour over time.
    • Hypoallergenic: It’s an ideal option for sensitive skin, it doesn’t have the common allergens found in gold alloys.
    • Complimentary Brilliance: The white metal helps to make diamonds and gemstones stand out and look more vibrant.
  • Cons
    • Price Point: Platinum is an expensive metal and often comes with a higher price tag than gold.
    • Weight: Its density, while great for durability, also makes it heavier, which might not be a comfortable fit for everyone.

Top Tip: Although platinum rings are generally more expensive than their gold counterparts, they’re also often considered a lifetime investment – one that is less likely to need re-plating or repair due to its hardiness.

Palladium: The Rising Star, Affordably Chic

Emerging from the shadows of the more established metals, palladium is making its mark in South Africa as a stylish yet practical choice for wedding and engagement rings.

Sharing many characteristics with platinum, such as a naturally white metal finish, palladium is part of the platinum group metal family and offers several benefits for the modern couple.

While palladium rings share a similarity to platinum rings in terms of colour and durability, their lighter weight makes them a comfortable option for everyday wear.

Though not as dense or heavy as platinum, palladium still provides a robust setting for gemstones like moissanite, becoming a preferred alternative to platinum for those looking for a contemporary metal for rings without the hefty price tag.

The Allure of Palladium

  • Pros
    • Price: Offers visibility into the luxury white metal category without the same investment level as platinum.
    • Recycled Nature: Palladium can be recycled without loss of quality which makes it a hit with eco-conscious buyers.
    • Durability: Similar to platinum, it resists scratches and maintains its lustre over time.
  • Cons
    • Availability: While growing in popularity, palladium is not as widely available as gold or platinum, which means for now there are limited design choices available.

Sterling Silver: The Budget-Friendly Beauty

For timeless beauty and far more friendly on the wallet, sterling silver stands out as the budget-friendly go-to for smart shoppers.

Known for its classic charm and versatility, silver is a perfect choice for a promise ring to symbolize future commitments or an engagement ring for those on a budget.

Though they can be more prone to scratches and tarnishing, sterling silver pieces can be buffed up with simple polish and care.

Check out the range of moissanite sterling silver range from Pag and Mag

Sterling Silver: The Considerations

  • Pros
    • Affordability: Sterling silver is noticeably more affordable than gold and platinum, making it a popular metal choice for budget-conscious shoppers.
    • Customization: It’s highly malleable, so it can be moulded into unique and personal designs.
  • Cons
    • Softness: More prone to damage from wear and tear, requiring more maintenance.
    • Tarnishing: Requires regular cleaning and sometimes rhodium plating to preserve its shine.

Stylish yet affordable, silver can be paired with a variety of colourful gemstones or pearls, lending itself to the distinctive tastes that mark South Africa’s rich cultural diversity.

It’s a perfect option for those who prefer a more subdued glamour without sacrificing elegance.

Alternatives: Titanium, Stainless Steel and More

There’s more to ring metals than just gold and silver. Alternative metals such as titanium, tungsten, and stainless steel are carving their niche in the South African market, appreciated for their modern appeal and robust performance.

Titanium rings and stainless steel rings, in particular, have gained popularity for their great strength and scratch resistance.

Their hard-wearing nature makes them a top choice for individuals with active lifestyles or occupations that put jewellery through its paces.

titanium and stainless steel rings

Strength Meets Style

  • Pros
    • Durability: Nearly impossible to scratch and dent, these metals withstand the test of daily activities.
    • Low Maintenance: They often require minimal upkeep, retaining their appearance without frequent polishing.
    • Hypoallergenic: Especially true for titanium, which is an ideal choice for those with metal allergies.
  • Cons
    • Resizing: Due to their hardness, resizing these types of rings can be challenging or sometimes impossible.
    • Less Traditional: They may not have the classic appeal of gold or platinum, which can be a concern for purists.

With a variety of colours and finishes, ranging from sleek blacks and greys to metallic blues, these metals cater to diverse preferences, allowing for personal expression in the choice of men’s wedding rings and women’s fashion pieces alike.

Their affordability also makes them accessible to a broader audience, offering a combination of economy and endurance.

Beyond the Metal: Gemstone Harmony

Selecting the right ring material is not only about the metal—it’s about creating a keepsake where the metal and gemstone work together to create something memorable.

The type of metal you choose should complement the gemstone, not overpower or undermine it.

For example, the icy sheen of platinum pairs perfectly with the brilliance of diamonds, while the warm undertones of rose gold create a striking contrast with a blush-toned morganite.

Gemstone-Metal Pairing Recommendations

  • Platinum / Sterling Silver: Diamonds, sapphires, moissanite
  • Rose Gold: Morganite, pink diamonds, amethyst
  • Yellow Gold: Rubies, emeralds, yellow diamonds
the beauty of gemstone rings

Lifestyle Considerations: Your Ring, Your Way

Your everyday life should guide the choice for engagement rings. Those who live a more hands-on, physical lifestyle might find metals like titanium or stainless steel more suitable for withstanding rougher conditions.

Conversely, office workers or those who prefer a more delicate style can indulge in silver rings or traditional gold rings.

It’s also wise to consider the long-term aspects of owning a ring, such as its ease of resizing—where gold and platinum offer flexibility, whereas alternative metals do not—and potential allergic reactions, particularly relevant if the gold alloy contains nickel.

The Secret to Ring Care: Keeping Your Ring Sparkling

Proper care is important for keeping your ring’s lustre intact under South Africa’s unique climate, characterized by humidity and dust in many regions.

Each metal demands specific attention:

  • Gold: Clean with mild soap and warm water; use a soft brush for intricate designs.
  • Platinum: Can withstand more vigorous polishing without losing metal.
  • Silver: Requires regular polishing and may need rhodium plating to prevent tarnish.
  • Alternative Metals: Typically lower maintenance but follow manufacturer guidelines for care.

Locating reputable South African jewellers who offer professional cleaning and maintenance services is a part of ring care.

Regular professional upkeep ensures the longevity and beauty of your precious investment.

Conclusion: The Perfect Match Awaits

Finding the right metal for your engagement or wedding band is a personal journey that goes beyond aesthetic appeal.

It’s about what resonates with the love and narrative your ring signifies. Embrace the process, experiment with different metal choices, and ultimately, choose the one that feels like a natural extension of your commitment and style.


  1. What is the most popular metal for engagement rings in South Africa? Platinum and gold, particularly white gold, are immensely popular due to their timeless elegance and durability.
  2. Can the metal I choose affect the appearance of the gemstone? Yes, the metal can enhance or mute the gemstone’s colour depending on its own colour and reflective qualities.
  3. Are there hypoallergenic ring metal options? Platinum, titanium and stainless steel are excellent hypoallergenic choices for those with sensitive skin.
  4. How often should I get my ring professionally cleaned? It’s recommended to have your ring professionally cleaned every 6 to 12 months, though it may vary based on your metal’s care requirements and your lifestyle.
  5. Which is more expensive, gold or platinum? Generally, platinum is the most expensive due to its density, rarity, and the quantity required to make a ring.

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