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Jewellery Metal Buying Guide

Jewellery & Watch News

Whether you’re shopping for an engagement ring, wedding band, eternity ring or a special necklace or bracelet for a loved one, you will ultimately have to make the decision on which precious metal you will buy. With so many to choose from, and each showcasing their own unique set of properties, it’s important to make sure you select the right one for you – especially if you are shopping for a piece of jewellery you intend to wear for the rest of your life like your wedding ring or engagement band!

By understanding the various jewellery metal types available and the benefits and properties of each, you will be able to make an informed decision when you buy your dream piece of jewellery. With this helpful Jewellery Metal Buying Guide, we hope to make your shopping experience at C W Sellors all the easier, but don’t forget that our helpful team are always on hand to give you advice should you need it. You can contact them on 01335 453453 or at sales@cwsellors.com for any assistance with our stunning collections of jewellery, gemstones and metal types.


Gold has become an incredibly popular metal choice in jewellery for its stunning shine and lasting beauty. In its purest form, gold is too soft to be made into jewellery so it must be combined with other metals to create an alloy. It is these other metals that allow the gold to remain strong, durable and less malleable and it is also why you often see gold described in carat or ct. The less gold added the lower the carat. 9ct gold for example is 37.5% pure gold and 62.5% other metals while 18ct gold is around 75% pure gold and 25% other metals.

Unlike solid gold jewellery, gold plated jewellery does not combine gold and metal to create an alloy. Instead, it uses a thin layer of gold to cover the base metal which is often sterling silver making it a much more affordable option. You still get 9ct, 14ct or 18ct gold plating, sometimes referred to as vermeil, however this metal type is not recommend for lifelong jewellery like engagement rings or wedding bands as the tiny amount of gold can rub off over time and leave a dull finish.



Yellow gold is the most traditional variant of gold, especially when it comes to engagement rings and wedding rings. Yellow gold jewellery is available in 9ct, 14ct, 18ct and 22ct and is created through a mixture of pure gold, copper and silver which gives it its signature warmth. It’s sunny tones also make it a dream metal choice for those looking for a piece of jewellery that sparkles since it is complimented beautifully by diamonds and almost all other gemstones like rubies, sapphires and emeralds.



White gold is a stunningly bright mix of pure gold alloyed with other white metals such as nickel, palladium, platinum, and manganese. It’s crisp polish and shine makes it an elegant backdrop for diamonds and sapphires. Sometimes, white gold jewellery is also plated with rhodium to give its brilliant white lustre while also providing hypoallergenic properties and making the metal long lasting for lifetime wear.



Rose gold has become one of the most fashionable metal types in the last few years for its romantic pink and warm gold tones. Also known as pink gold or red gold, rose gold is achieved by mixing copper with yellow gold to form a strong alloy. The varying tones of rose gold are achieved due to the higher or lesser amount of copper used with rosy pink to more reddish tones available. Like all gold, the colour and hardness of the jewellery will differ depending on which carat you choose.




A classic metal, sterling silver is one of the longest standing materials used in making jewellery for its malleable properties and inexpensive cost. It’s brilliant, silvery finish makes it a stunning backdrop to diamonds and coloured gemstones while its hypo-allergic finish and non-reactive surface makes it comfortable to wear for everyone. It is important to note, however, that silver will tarnish and scratch more easily than other metals like solid gold, and so is often not used within long-life jewellery pieces like engagement rings and wedding bands.



The toughest of all jewellery metals, platinum has become a popular choice for wedding and engagement rings in recent years for its hardness, rarity and naturally white sheen that will never fade or tarnish in colour. It holds a high density and heavy weight with platinum jewellery being a naturally occurring white metal which carries a fineness hallmark of ‘950’ and being 95% pure. It’s remarkable durability and scratch resistance does make it a more expensive choice but if you have the budget, it’s a prestigious metal that will last you a lifetime.



A new addition to the jewellery world, Palladium was first recognised as a precious metal back in 2009 and boasts a similar resilience to platinum. It’s bright, white lustre won’t dull while its lesser density means it can hold heavier stones compared to platinum. Palladium is often found in two forms, 950 Palladium is 95% pure making it a strong and high density metal, perfect for a long-lasting everyday ring. 500 Palladium is 50% Palladium & 50% Silver meaning it wears much more quickly but comes with a lower price tag!