Diamonds are still the most popular gemstones for engagement rings in South Africa. However, the choice of metal for the engagement ring may not be as straightforward since several options are available. Yellow gold, until very recently, has been the number one choice when it comes to wedding and engagement rings.
South Africa is a country rich in minerals, ensuring that you have more choices with yellow gold, platinum and white gold amongst the most popular metals used in engagement jewellery. Your selection at the end of the day will be based on preference for one metal, but we have shared some information on the most popular metals to help you make an informed decision based on practicality, aesthetic appeal, your budget, maintenance requirements and durability, rather than just tradition.
If you are looking for a durable metal that does not tarnish then platinum is for you. In addition, the metal does not corrode. Indeed, it tends to become even more beautiful as it ages, much like a bottle of good wine that acquires character as time passes.
If, however, you want a lighter ring on your finger then gold is the answer as platinum weighs between 40 to 60 per cent more than gold. Because it is so dense, it is also exceptionally strong and will therefore not dent easily in addition to the metal offering a rather secure setting for the precious centrepiece of the ring. That being said, platinum is not entirely scratchproof and if it is not properly maintained, it will eventually become dull in appearance because of scratches that it has sustained.
The metal has hypoallergenic qualities, but because it is also more difficult to work with than gold and is not as commonplace, it is often also a more expensive option for engagement rings. To keep the platinum ring shiny you will need to have it polished regularly.
If you are looking for the same elegance, but do not want to pay the high price associated with platinum rings in South Africa, white gold is a good choice. You should note that white gold starts out as yellow gold; it gets its white appearance from the combination with various alloys. Rhodium plating is applied at the end of the process and you may need to have it applied annually or bi-annually to ensure that the metal maintains its beautiful lustre. However, white gold takes longer to become dull in appearance than platinum.
Though it is the more conventional choice, yellow gold remains popular because of its unique colour. It being a rather versatile metal, yellow gold is well suited for usage in jewellery. Pure gold cannot be used for making jewellery because it is simply too soft. The solution is to have it combined with various alloys to make it stronger. Most rings come in 14K or 18K gold and although you can find 22K gold rings, they are only recommended if you are not likely to work in an environment where the ring can be damaged easily. The 18K indicates that 75% of the metal consists of gold and 14K indicates that gold makes up 58% of the metal. The other metals consist of copper, zinc, silver and nickel to add strength. The 14K gold is lighter yellow with the 22K gold having a rich deep yellow colour. Yellow gold has a warm feel to it, which is why so many brides still prefer the more traditional yellow gold for their engagement rings.
You will find that we can cater to your engagement ring design, gemstone, setting and metal choices to ensure you have the ring of your dreams.