This is a brief explanation of the colour and purity of gold, platinum and titanium metals which are regularly used in our wedding rings and apply to the UK in particular.
Two terms are used in jewellery to signify the fineness of the gold and precious metal alloys, they are “carat”; an ancient measurement expressed in 24 parts, and a modern European “millesimal” measurement expressed as parts per 1000.
The original “carat” or (ct) remains widely understood as the most recognisable term of gold fineness. However the millesimal value is used on all current UK hallmarks. For example, 18ct or (750) gold is 18 parts pure gold 6 part alloys or 75% pure gold to 25% alloys.
24ct (999.9) = pure gold which is too soft for general jewellery use. It is golden yellow in colour. All gold jewellery is made from alloys of pure gold with different metals added to produce alternative colours and working characteristics.
The metals most often used as alloys with gold are palladium, silver and ruthenium for white colours and copper, silver and zinc for red colours.
18ct (750) available in a deep yellow colour, greyish white colour and strong red colour. This is generally the purest form of gold used to make shaped wedding rings. It stands up to everyday wear very well, showing very fine surface scratching which does not detract from the ring design. We use a high palladium alloy of 18ct white gold which continues to look good even as the rhodium plated surface begins to wear away.
9ct (375) available in pale yellow colour, white colour and strong red colour. This is the most popular grade of fineness in the UK.
It is very affordable and looks good when new. Its wear characteristics are not quite as good as higher carat golds, showing signs of scratching and wear within just a few years.
White gold tends to be a little softer than the yellow and red versions. The difference in the colour of the white alloy compared to the rhodium plated surface is more noticeable as the surface begins to wear.
As all white golds are either slightly grey or brownish grey in colour it has become common modern practice to electro- plate these alloys with rhodium, a metal which produces a very highly reflective, perfectly white surface colour which normally lasts 1 to 2 years.
Platinum (950) is 95% pure platinum and 5% alloys, cobalt or ruthenium. It has a clean grey/ white colour. It is a very dense metal which feels noticeably heavier than all other precious metals. Platinum has the very best wear characteristics. It shows very fine surface scratching which does not detract from the design. It is very malleable, tending to be forgiving rather than show signs of wear and it will last for many years.
It is one of the most resistant metals available and will not be affected by salt water or chemicals. Its ductility makes it perfectly suited to accept diamond setting.
PURE TI2 TITANIUM
Only pure grades of titanium are used in the manufacture of our rings.
Experience has taught us that these (99.2%) commercially pure grades of titanium (Grades 1 to 4) have the best properties for our unique and varied jewellery applications. Grade 2 is the one we use most often and is the reason that we named our brand Ti2 Titanium. Commercially pure grades of titanium are not as hard as many people imagine. This is one of the main reasons we as jewellers choose to work with these grades.
We are able to work the metal with the highest quality traditional tools available to us, while maintaining our unique hands-on approach to its manufacture and in this way we are able to produce designs which are much more than simply machine made parts.
Strong special metals
Titanium is one of a group of so called special metals. These metals have characteristics which enable them to be used in the most demanding environments. Titanium possesses a number of the key attributes which makes it one of the metals of choice for industrial applications such as the Aerospace, Power Generation, Oil and Gas, Processing and Refining and Advanced mechanical engineering. Commercial pure grades of titanium have ultimate tensile strength equal to that of common steel alloys, but at a fraction of the weight.
This is one of titanium’s most unique properties. Titanium has the highest strength-to-density ratio of any metallic element. This means that we are able to produce some of the finest ring profiles available. The rings remain strong and round but extremely light and comfortable to wear.
High corrosion resistance
Resistance to corrosion should be a very important factor in your choice of wedding ring, after all it should be expected to last a lifetime. But whether it’s a wedding ring, a gift to a close friend, or an individual fashion statement you should expect the best performance from your choice of materials. Titanium is unaffected by seawater, chlorine and many other chemicals. Only the highest grades of the noble metals such as gold and platinum can match titanium’s excellent resistance to corrosion.
Add a touch of colour
As creative designers, we have always loved working with titanium because of one of its most amazing features; its ability to take on a whole spectrum of colours. The naturally occurring colourless oxide layer which forms on titanium can be altered by a process known as anodising.
This allows us to vary the thickness of the surface oxide layer, which in turn causes optical interference colours to become visible. Just like the colours seen in nature and those of a soap bubble or oil on water, the principle is the same. This oxide layer is reasonably robust and will not fade, but is liable to become damaged caused by abrasion. We, therefore, try wherever possible to include colour in areas which are less susceptible to wear, especially on items such as rings and bangles which often come into contact with abrasive materials or hard surfaces causing damage.