Written by Nick Ireland, January 2024

Choosing an engagement ring is a deeply intimate process. 

Your partner will wear the ring for the rest of their life, so it’s one of the most important purchases you will ever make.

Engagement rings come with almost unlimited flexibility in design. 

From stone, size, shape and carats to diamond cuts, settings, details and the precious metal of the band, it’s possible to create a ring that truly represents your relationship.

To help out when buying an engagement ring, we’ve put together this in-depth guide on the precious metals.

Ring and being crafted in workshop
Yellow gold example

Yellow Gold

Timeless, elegant and a true classic, yellow gold is the first choice of many couples when designing engagement rings.

When you think of rings, you probably think of yellow gold first. 

This is because gold has been one of the most valuable and important metals throughout history. Its use for jewellery dates back thousands of years, and that’s a tradition many couples continue today.

Yellow gold is an excellent material for engagement rings. The soft metal is easy to shape, and it pairs beautifully with diamonds and most precious stones.

However, the softness of yellow gold is also a challenge. Pure, 24-karat gold is incredibly soft. This makes it prone to bending, denting and scratching during normal wear. In most cases, couples opt for 18-carat or 9-carat gold rings. 

While 18 and 9-carat gold is less “pure,” it is alloyed with metals such as platinum and silver that make it tougher.


Yellow gold is available in a wide range of purities.

Couples can opt for anything between 10 and 24-carat if they want a ring with the classic shine of yellow gold. The more pure the metal, the more golden the ring will appear.

Diamond Shapes

Gold is the perfect canvas for most cuts of diamond.

Round diamonds are the traditional choice for gold rings, but yellow gold also pairs beautifully with princess, cushion, emerald, oval and marquise cut diamonds.

Care and Longevity

Yellow gold is prone to scratching, dents and bending. Small scratches can easily be polished out by your jeweller. 

We recommend opting for 9 or 18-carat gold for a more durable ring.


The cost of yellow gold depends on its purity.

Generally speaking, it is more affordable than white gold and platinum.

Rose gold example

Rose Gold

The beauty of rose gold has come back into popularity in recent times. Rose gold was popularised in the 1800s. 

For that reason, many people strongly associate it with classic ring design. 

That makes it perfect for wearers that favour these vintage styles.

Rose gold is produced from an alloy of yellow gold and copper. 

The amount of copper determines the shade of pink in the ring, and also helps to make the gold more durable.

The vintage charm of rose gold makes it perfect for old world glamour, and its durability makes it perfect for engagement rings that will be worn for decades.


Rose gold comes in a range of purities. 

Commonly, rose gold is made from 75% gold and 25% copper, producing a subtle rosy hue. This is the equivalent of 18-carat yellow gold.

Diamond Shapes

Rose gold is perfect for classic diamond cuts, such as an Asscher or pear cut. 

These vintage cuts complement the tones of rose gold, enhancing its appearance.

Care and Longevity

The copper alloy of rose gold makes it a highly durable material for engagement rings.

Compared to yellow and white gold, rose gold is less prone to scratching and denting over time.


Rose gold contains a high percentage of copper, which is a relatively inexpensive metal. 

Depending on the exact alloy, rose gold is likely to be slightly more affordable than yellow and white gold.

White gold example

White Gold

Contemporary, sleek and stunningly silvery, white gold is one of the most popular precious metals for engagement rings.

Instead of being produced from pure gold, white gold is alloyed with other metals, such as platinum, palladium, silver or even nickel and zinc. 

Alloyed white gold is also coated in rhodium, a silver-white metal that is related to platinum.

This makes white gold tough and beautiful, and its lustre can last for years.


White gold is an alloy of yellow gold and other silver-white metals.

It is common for white gold to be alloyed at 75% gold and 25% other materials.

This is the equivalent of 18-carat yellow gold. White gold alloys are slightly yellow in colour, so they are plated with rhodium to make them whiter.

Diamond Shapes

We set white gold rings with all diamond shapes. The bright shine of white gold plays beautifully with high quality diamonds. 

Be mindful that white gold can accentuate any colouration in diamonds.

Care and Longevity

The rhodium coating makes white gold very durable.

It is resistant to scratches and can retain its shine for years.

Over time, the rhodium coating will wear off, and the ring may appear yellow.

Rhodium plating needs to be replaced every 5 years or so.


We set white gold rings with all diamond shapes.

The bright shine of white gold plays beautifully with high quality diamonds.

Be mindful that white gold can accentuate any colouration in diamonds.

Platinum example


While gold is the classic choice for engagement rings, platinum has become one of the most popular alternatives.

Platinum is a stunning silver-white metal that is more durable than gold.

The hues of platinum play beautifully with most cuts of diamond, lending the ring a contemporary look that’s hard to beat.

Couples often select platinum because it lasts a lifetime.

It does not tarnish and is difficult to damage, making it the ultimate symbol of a lifelong relationship.


Platinum rings are almost entirely pure.

It is common for platinum to be 95% pure, which gives the metal its lustre, strength and durability.

Diamond Shapes

The contemporary colour and lines of platinum make it ideal for modern diamond shapes.

This including round, cushion, oval and princess cut diamonds.

Care and Longevity

While platinum is harder than gold, it does scratch over time. A jeweller can polish scratches out of platinum easily.

Platinum is also non-reactive when exposed to things like oxygen, acids and the oils on your skin, so it retains its lustre well.

Rhodium plating needs to be replaced every 5 years or so.


Platinum rings often have the highest value.

The rarity of platinum makes it more expensive to purchase than yellow or white gold, but it is guaranteed to last for a lifetime.