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Choosing your metal

 

ECO CAST - THE ENVIRONMENTAL CHOICE.

To align with our sustainability ethos we have chosen our casting house that matches our focus on reducing mining emissions. Casting using the purest precious metals, fully refined from guaranteed 100% reclaimed and recycled materials. 
Our casting house is the first and only casting house in Australia to cast exclusively using 100% recycled refined precious metals. This is helping promote a cleaner, greener + safer environment by reducing mining and dangerous emissions and using NO newly mined gold at all. 

 

Now let's talk about what metal you should choose!!

For engagement/wedding rings, we always recommend at least 18CT white/yellow/rose gold or Platinum to ensure it is suitable to weather the knocks and blows of day to day wear long term. 

Plain wedding bands and signets are generally fine to be made in 9CT gold and still be suitable for long term wear.

See below for more information about the metal options and comparisons between them.

PLATINUM vs WHITE GOLD FOR ENGAGEMENT RINGS. 
IS WHITE GOLD THE SAME AS PLATINUM?

No. They are two different metals entirely. White gold and platinum have their own properties which make them unique. The following white gold information and platinum information show you the difference between the two metals.

WHITE GOLD

White gold is an alloy of gold and some white metals such as silver and palladium. White gold can be 18CT, 14CT and 9CT. For example, 18K yellow gold is made by mixing 75% gold (750 parts per thousand) with 25% (250 parts per thousand) other metals such as copper and zinc. 18CT white gold is made by mixing 75% gold with 25% other metals such as silver and palladium. 

If you are to choose white gold as your metal of choice for your engagement or wedding pieces, they ring will be finished off with Rhodium plating. This is what gives the ring that desired bright, white colour. Rhodium is a metal very similar to platinum and Rhodium shares many of the properties of platinum including it's white colour.

The rhodium plating is used to make the white gold look more white. The natural colour of white gold varies dependant on the karat of gold it is. For example, 9K White Gold naturally is a duller white tone and is more of a grey with yellow hue through it. 18CT White Gold naturally is a darker grey. The Rhodium plating is very white and very hard, but it does wear away eventually. How quickly this wears off varies from wearer to wearer and what the ring is exposed to/how it is worn, even the oils of the wearers skin etc. To keep a white gold ring looking its best, it should be re-rhodium plated approximately each 12 to 24 months. Some people don't need to and some people don't really notice this wearing back until its time to get their new wedding band.

PLATINUM

Platinum is a white metal, but unlike gold it is used in jewellery in almost its pure form (approximately 95% pure). Platinum is extremely long wearing and is naturally white, so it does not need to be Rhodium plated like white gold.

Platinum is denser than gold (heavy), so a platinum ring will feel heavier than equivalent ring made in gold. This can be a selling point for some because it feels luxurious.

Platinum is a more precious metal than gold which makes it more expensive which is why the price increases if you choose platinum.

Some people see it as paying more at the start for higher durability long term as well as less inconvenience and no further cost for rhodium plating. 

IS THE COLOUR OF WHITE GOLD DIFFERENT TO PLATINUM?

The answer to this question depends on whether the white gold jewellery item is in it's natural colour or whether it has been rhodium plated. If you were to hold a brand new platinum and a brand new freshly rhodium plated ring side by side, you may notice a very slight colour difference however if just looking at one, or the other, the untrained eye would likely not spot the difference.

If a white gold item has been rhodium plated then the colour difference will not really be noticeable at all until the rhodium plating begins to wear off.

Platinum has a permanent bright white lustre and does not have a very light yellow/dark grey tinge like white and therefore is great if you want that bright white look without having to re-plate every year. In the long run it is a better and cheaper option, that only requires a good polish from time to time to bring it back to looking it's best.

IS PLATINUM MORE DURABLE THAN WHITE GOLD? 

Technically the answer to this question is yes. We have outlined why below, but it is important to understand that platinum is not damage proof and can still sustain scratches and damage the same as any other metal ring.

People often assume because of the price tag that it may be more durable. This metal does also hold a reputation among people as being the more durable metal however this is not necessarily so.

What we have come to realise is that to consumers buying jewellery, durability equates to how scratch and dint proof something is. However there is a major difference between durability and scratch resistance and hardness and durability.

We'll re-iterate by saying that no metal, no matter it’s expense or preciousness, it is not scratch or dent proof nor bend out of shape proof. It is how a metal copes with damage that occurs causing scratching or dints that determines what is considered more durable.

Platinum as a fact, is very durable. Because it is a highly malleable metal, when it is scratched or dented, the scratch or dent displaces the metal, moving it leaving ridges on the edge of the scratch or dent. This action is what classifies Platinum to be so durable.

This is by comparison to other precious metals such as gold where if the same thing were to occur, you lose the metal from the ring rather than it moving to a different area. Gold rings also wear down quicker than Platinum as a result of this. 

COMPARING DIFFERENT CARAT OF GOLD

When it comes to gold, we work with 9K and 18K Gold predominantly (White, Yellow and Rose). At your request, if you want a higher carat of gold, we can also do 22-24CT.
Pricing on our website is based on 9CT as the standard option. You can upgrade to the more premium 18CT or platinum metals by ticking the upgrade boxes when ordering and it will update your total when you arrive to the cart. Our preference is always 18CT gold.

9CT gold is actually a gold alloy – a mixture containing additional metals, not only gold. These extra ingredients are added to yellow gold (don't forget in its natural form gold is YELLOW so other metals and allows are added to get to the white colour you desire) to improve the characteristics and also colour of the alloy.

DIFFERENCE OF HARDNESS

The difference in purity between 24CT down to 9CT Gold results in different levels of hardness, affecting how these materials are used in jewellery.

Within consumers and even amongst information given by jewellers/the industry, there is confusion between the two terms ‘hardness’ and ‘durability’ and it is important to understand that hardness doesn't equal durability and they mean two different things.

The following simple example generally helps explain the difference best:

If you have a pane of glass and a sheet of perspex (hard plastic sheeting) next to one another and observe, you will see that the glass is clearly the harder material by any hardness test you with to carry out on the two of them. Now hit the two with a hammer... the glass will shatter and it's more likely that the hammer will bounce back at you off the perspex. This makes the perspex the more durable piece even though softer. This analogy translates well as an example of the differences of hardness and durability between the 9CT and 18CT gold.

9CT Gold is relatively hard, and this is one of the reasons this alloy is a popular choice for every day wear jewellery as at a surface level, it tends to stay in shape better, and scratch and dent less easier. It contains less gold than the other options and therefore is the cheaper option of all the golds we offer.

That said, due to it's hardness, it can be more rigid and when suffering a significant blow, is more likely to crack in the setting, or crack the stone as there is less movement in the metal and more susceptible to snapped claws and split or cracked bands. 9CT gold is clearly the harder material when compared with 18CT gold, but it is this harness that reduces 9CT golds durability long term when it comes to everyday knocks and wear and tear. 

When compared over a long term period, 18CT comes out on top and of the two, is the optimal choice for engagement and wedding ring pieces.

 

Full transparency; when we have come into issues with broken claws, or damage to the setting of a ring itself it is 9 times out of 10 the 9K white gold option. Being metal that will 'break' over ben with force, knocls and pumps. If the budget allows our recommendation is always to choose 18CT gold over 9CT but we understand that doesn't suit all budgets and we want to be an inclusive brand and give our clients all the options. 

 

HELP - I STILL DON'T KNOW, WHAT DOES WINDFALL RECOMMEND?

Our opinion is if you have no preference or budget restrictions then we  recommend 18K (or platinum). For the budget conscious shopper, in our opinion there is also nothing wrong with 9K Gold so long as it is understood it is a less durabl option and more care needs to be taken to look after it long term. No matter what gold carat chosen, if you take the relevant after care tips and look after the ring, then all should last a long time. 

The best recommendation we can give is that you research and gain an understanding of the differences between all options and make an informed decision that suits your needs and budget best, accepting both the pros and cons in the short and long term of whatever option you take as you will be knowledgable in making this final decision.

Don't be scared to ask as many questions as you need from us as there is no cap on question asking and there is no such things as silly questions!! We are totally happy assist you with what ever info you need to make an informed decision :)