Platinum is a naturally white metal that maintains its white colour and finishes for a lifetime. Platinum is also a hypoallergenic metal because little alloys are used to make the metal jewellery quality. Platinum reigns supreme in the jewellery industry because it is a solid, heavy metal that will maintain its density for generations.
Though platinum is dense, it is still very malleable- which works in the ring's favour. When a platinum ring is polished, bumped, dropped, or nicked, the platinum simply moves to the side, and can be polished back into place to look good as new. Many jewellers refer to platinum as ‘heirloom quality' for this reason.
Gold is a precious metal that is naturally yellow. It comes from the earth very soft and is mixed with alloys to make it hard enough to use in jewellery design. The ratio of gold to alloys is denoted by the karat. For example, 24 karat gold is pure gold, 18 karat gold is 75% pure gold and 14 karat gold is about 58.33% pure gold.
Gold can also be mixed with different alloys to make it appear different colours such as black, green, red, and most commonly white. White gold is mixed with alloys like palladium, nickel, and zinc to give it a white tint.
A white gold piece of jewellery is dipped in rhodium once it is polished and complete and this is what makes a white gold piece of jewellery rival a platinum piece. Through time, it is common for the rhodium plating to wear off the surface of the ring and to reveal a more yellow patina. A white gold ring can be re-dipped in rhodium easily and often to help maintain its white finish.
Sterling silver is the quality standard for silver in the United States, Europe, and most world markets. It's alloy make up is 92.5% silver, and the remaining 7.5% is usually copper.
Other metals have to be added to sterling silver to increase the hardness of the alloy - making it more durable and creating a colour and lustre that entices consumers.
Sterling silver's appearance is the silver colour we are most familiar with. It's bright and shiny, but it can tarnish. You can delay your sterling silver pieces from tarnishing, but you cannot always prevent it. It's easy to clean and maintain with cleaners and polishing products.
Jewellery made of sterling silver is stamped with a .925 or 925 STG quality stamp.
Some higher end sterling silver pieces are finished with rhodium (platinum family) to prevent tarnish. This is more costly but often preferred by fashion designers and consumers alike.