What precious metal is best for your wedding rings?

Wedding rings are now considered an extension of your personality, but should you choose platinum, yellow gold, rose gold or something else entirely?

Katie Lees Jewellery sample metal wedding bands
Katie Lees Jewellery can create a bespoke design in the metal of your choice. The only hard part is deciding which is your favourite

When it comes to metals, there’s one thing that jewellers far and wide can agree on: it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. “Choosing which metal to go for can be a tough call – you’re going to wear this for a lifetime,” stresses Orkney-based Sheila Fleet.

Try rings on to see what flatters your skin tone

“Firstly, you should consider which metals and designs you like, not just what is in fashion, as this piece needs to be timeless,” Sheila continues. “Skin tone should also be taken into consideration: not everyone suits white, yellow or rose metals. Trying on a variety of rings in different hues is the most effective way to discover what looks best on your finger.”

Platinum diamond rings by Jewellery by Design
Platinum eternity ring with diamonds, shaped to fit the client’s other rings, from £1,200, Jewellery By Design

Think about what you do with your hands

There are numerous practical matters to address too, such as whether you have a labour-intensive job or lead an active lifestyle, as well as what the wedding band will be sitting next to. “Most women will wear the band alongside an engagement ring,” says Jane Harrison, who operates her eponymous jewellery business out of Glasgow.

“Always try to ensure the two are in the same alloy: for example, 9ct yellow gold is much harder-wearing than its 18ct counterpart, so if you were to pair them up, the latter would become worn down at a much faster rate.”

wedding rings by Jane Harrison and Beaverbrooks
Clockwise from top left: Valance ring in 9ct yellow gold with blue sapphire, £280, Jane Harrison Jewellery; Glow ring in 9ct yellow gold, £200, Jane Harrison Jewellery; Palladium diamond men’s wedding ring, £1,950, Beaverbrooks; 9ct rose gold men’s wedding ring, £425, Beaverbrooks

Yellow gold

“Yellow gold is timeless and elegant, and the most popular choice with my clients,” Jane says. “It looks great with both diamonds and coloured stones, my favourite pairing being 18ct yellow gold with dark-green sapphires.” She also points out that it’s important to pay attention to the grade of metal. “18ct gold has a richer red colour than its 9ct counterpart: this copper tone is good for brides looking for something a little different, though it does tend to be more of a trend-led metal. However, if you choose the right design, it will not go out of style.”

Katie Lees Jewellery_wedding-ring-samples
It’s not quite all the colours of the rainbow, but it’s just as fabulous – cheers, Katie Lees Jewellery!

Rose gold

“Copper is added to create the blush tone of the modern favourite, rose gold, although there isn’t much difference in appearance between the carats,” says Katie Lees. “But with 24ct gold, the colour can’t be changed as it’s 100% pure gold. Bear in mind that while it is absolutely beautiful, it’s soft and easily scratched, and so not suitable for everyday wear.”

White gold

If you’re hankering for a white-gold beauty, you should note that it is rather high maintenance. “White gold is an alloy of gold and at least one other metal, usually silver or palladium,” reveals Claire Moore at Jewellery By Design in Linlithgow. “This is done to make the gold harder and to create a whiter colour. In reality, though, the shade you end up with is somewhere between white and yellow, so the metal is then plated with rhodium to give it a brighter coating. This fades with wear and requires re-plating once a year or so.”

Matrix 0.25ct diamond ring in 9ct yellow gold, £1,536, and Matrix 3mm band in 9ct yellow gold, £352, Sheila Fleet


For a similar look without the upkeep, Claire suggests investing in platinum: “It is still the hardest-wearing metal, and the best you can buy in terms of durability. It keeps its colour so there’s no need for plating, though it will still need polishing from time to time. Plus, platinum is currently cheaper than gold, so it’s a great time to buy!”

wedding rings by Sheila Fleet and Chisholm Hunter
Right: Pierowall twist Celtic ring in sterling silver, from £110, Sheila Fleet; Left: Titanium two-coloured lined wedding band, £65, Chisholm Hunter

On a budget?

If these classic precious metals are not a financial option for you, all is not lost – there are plenty other metals out there to play with. “Palladium is softer than platinum, but less pricey – and it polishes up just as nicely,” Katie says. Titanium is also often put forward as an affordable alternative.

Sheila Fleet has something else in mind: “For budget-conscious couples, I think silver is a good choice, even though it is relatively soft. To compensate for this, I’d suggest a thicker band, which will show wear less than a thin one. Almost all of our designs are available in both silver and gold, so you could still save up for the gold equivalent of your ring in the future.”

Remember it’s forever

“Ultimately, the decision is down to you,” Katie reflects. “Bear in mind that you will be buying a precious, high-quality metal that will look beautiful for many years to come. Take into account your budget, lifestyle and personal taste – these three elements will help guide you towards the metal that’s best for you.”

Turns out diamonds aren’t a girl’s best friend – your friendly neighbourhood jeweller is. Hurrah!