The pairing between precious stones and metals is one of the most important aspects of jewellery design.
The perfect metal for your piece should not only enhance and protect your stone, but also compliment your own unique sense of style.
However, choosing the right metal can be daunting as there are so many different numbers and names, so we wrote this guide to help you choose the right metal for your Bespoke Life heirloom.
If you can't see the answer to your question here then please have a look at our FAQs or contact us.
Silver is a naturally occurring white metal, used for centuries for decorative pieces and jewellery. We use sterling silver in our designs, which is the industry standard; this is 92.5% silver and hallmarked ‘925’. Our other 7.5% is made up of toughening metals, either copper, nickel or zinc.
Silver is softer than either gold or platinum and so is more likely to get damaged, but is a great, affordable, metal to use in jewellery and will last for centuries. However silver does require a bit of upkeep as over time it reacts with the oxygen in the air and turns a blackish colour, but don’t worry, this doesn’t harm the metal and can easily be polished with a special cloth.
Gold is a naturally occurring yellow metal and is our favourite metal to work with for bespoke pieces, as it’s durable and requires very little up-keep.
When someone says gold you automatically envisage the rich yellow colour we know as gold, however the natural colour of gold can be changed if we alloy it with different metals, which can give you either rose or white gold.
Alloyed with copper and silver rose gold is a more modern trend but a beautiful choice for a piece. Said to be universally flattering for all skin tones. This pinky-toned gold is perfect paired with pink or champagne stones as it reflects in and emphasises the stone’s natural colour.
White gold is alloyed with a mixture of palladium, silver and nickel. This metal is a great option if you like the colour of silver but want something a more durable and precious. White gold does need a little upkeep as over time is develops a yellow tint, however this is easily sorted with a simple rhodium plating, which makes your piece look good as new.
Something else to bear in mind is that white gold can be a little brittle, so if you are choosing between white gold or platinum for an engagement ring we would recommend platinum as it is more durable.
Pure gold is naturally a very soft metal which is easily moulded, in order to make this metal more durable we mix/ alloy it with other metals. The carat of gold refers to the proportion of gold to other metals in a piece.
24ct- 100% Gold
22ct- 91.6% Gold
18ct- 75% Gold
9ct- 37.5% Gold
Whilst 9ct gold has the lowest gold content it is used widely for jewellery production and is the toughest of the gold contents. However, if we were to recommend a carat of gold it would definitely be 18ct: tough enough for daily wear and has a high gold content.
Platinum is the perfect metal for an engagement ring. Commonly alloyed as 95% platinum to 5% ruthenium this metal is incredibly durable and scratch resistant, and, unlike white gold, isn’t brittle. Rarer than gold this metal does carry a somewhat premium price tag, but as it requires less TLC, it is a worthwhile investment.
Gold plating is an age-old method where a fine layer of another metal is placed over the top of another in a unique bonding process. If used with silver, this can be a great, inexpensive, way of getting the look of gold for the price of silver.
However plating is also used for white gold, which over time develops a yellow tint to it, which is easily solved with a thin rhodium plating.
The only downside to plated metals is, because it is a very fine layer, it will wear over time and dull. For this reason we suggest that once a year, depending on how often you wear your piece, you pop it back in the post to us and let us give it a bit of a spruce up. We also recommend taking it off when washing up, showering or swimming.