Each metal has its appeal, and while some people may know which metal and gemstone they are going to shop for next, some could use a little help in this department.
You may be looking for jewelry metals for sensitive skin or an affordable but durable metal option. Whatever your needs, if you feel lost in this journey, we’ll share some of the best jewelry metals to help you find the best one for you.
7 Best Jewelry Metals Worth Buying
Here are seven best jewelry metals that will prove to be a great investment. While some of these are precious metals, there are also a few budget-friendly options for you.
Gold is arguably the most treasured and desired metal of all. This is probably because yellow gold is considered to be the chosen metal for royalty.
While it is utterly spectacular in aesthetic appeal, it is also a very practical and no-nonsense metal. Gold is malleable and can be transformed into various shapes. Even old and even damaged gold jewelry pieces can be used to make something entirely new. No wonder it stands atop our list of best jewelry metals.
When gold is in its purest form, i.e., 24 karats, it’s too soft to be used in everyday jewelry pieces and must be alloyed with other metals. This increases its strength and even changes its color, making it fit for jewelry-making.
The metal is available in 18 karats, 14 karats, and 10 karats. The higher the karat, the finer and pure the gold will be.
Gold is often the most preferred metal for wedding rings, pendants, and earrings. Since it does not tarnish or corrode, gold jewelry can be worn daily. However, gold is a precious metal and can be pretty expensive. One ounce of gold costs about $1500.
Silver is similar to gold in more than one way. Like gold, it is also considered a classic and timeless metal. Silver is also soft and malleable metal and is used in several kinds of jewelry pieces and coins.
This metal is found deep in the earth’s crust. Silver is usually mined in Canada, Mexico, Peru, Poland, and Bolivia. It is even found in nature along with metals like gold.
Silver is considered a precious metal due to its shine, appeal, and reflectivity. It does not reach much with other chemicals, except sulfur compounds, after a long time. This usually causes the metal to tarnish and oxidize.
Silver is more abundant, making it less expensive than gold. One ounce of silver costs around $25.
Pure silver is extremely soft and cannot be used to make jewelry. It is thus usually alloyed with other metals, such as copper, forming the more popular sterling silver.
Since silver cannot be used as is for jewelry-making, it is mixed with other metals. Sterling silver contains 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals, making it harder and thus more suitable for making jewelry.
Sterling silver also has the same white and shiny look as silver. So, you can easily find sterling silver jewelry that is as stunning as silver jewelry.
However, sterling silver is stronger and can be used daily without fear of tarnish or oxidation. It is also less expensive than silver, making it an even better option for daily wear jewelry.
To identify a real sterling silver piece, look for a hallmark “925” on the bottom of the piece.
Platinum is an elegant precious metal that is known for its silvery-white luster. Platinum goes well with a variety of metals and gemstones.
Platinum is four times stronger than gold and is famous for its hard-wearing properties. It is extremely resistant to damage and normal wear and tear and does not require polishing, and it does not corrode.
With proper care, platinum jewelry can last for a lifetime. This is probably the reason why it is a preferred choice for engagement rings.
While other metals are usually alloyed to make them stronger, platinum is mixed with other metals to make it malleable. Some of platinum’s most common alloy metals are palladium, copper, iridium, rhodium, and titanium.
Jewelry-grade platinum is generally 95% platinum and 5% other metals. Platinum is a rare metal and therefore is quite expensive.
💡 Quick Tip: See how platinum compares with white gold in our platinum vs white gold article.
Titanium is known to be one of the lightest yet strongest metals.
Its lustrous gray appearance makes it a perfect fit for jewelry making. The composition of titanium varies from commercial pure (99.2% titanium) to aircraft-grade titanium.
Titanium is also suitable for all skin types, so titanium jewelry can be worn without worrying about rashes or irritation.
Jewelry made of titanium is usually affordable and accessible because the metal is abundant. Plus, it does not need any complex or elaborate process and gets transformed into jewelry.
Tungsten is one of the hardest metals out there. Rated at around a nine on the Mohs scale of hardness, tungsten is only behind the diamond, which is rated at a 10 and is the hardest substance on earth.
This is why tungsten is a preferred choice for wedding bands. Usually, tungsten jewelry comprises 85% tungsten and 15% nickel. This is the perfect composition for scratch resistance and durability.
It has a grey-silver color that looks great on its own. However, the metal can also be treated with some black coatings to give it a lustrous and modern look. While a higher percentage of the metal will be too brittle, a lower percentage would make it too soft for jewelry making.
Tungsten is naturally hypoallergenic, meaning most people can wear it without issues. Tungsten is an affordable metal. You can easily find a high-quality tungsten ring for around $200. Thanks to its given strength and durability, it is a sought-after choice for many.
Brass is an alloy of mostly copper and zinc. Different types of brass can be created with different proportions of copper and zinc. Other than copper and zinc, other metals like lead and nickel can also be added to make brass.
Known for its yellow and warm tones that resemble gold, brass is a very versatile metal. It is commonly used to make musical instruments, utensils, machinery, and jewelry.
Brass’s affordability, workability, and durability make it a great choice for making jewelry. Although it is a sturdy material, it is still quite malleable, which helps artisans in shaping the metal into complex and intricate designs.
Brass is known to stretch under pressure. Because it’s not brittle, brass jewelry can last for years with proper care and maintenance.
FAQs About Jewelry Metals
Here are some frequently asked questions about jewelry metals that might help you make a prudent decision for your next purchase.
What metals should I avoid in jewelry?
Avoid low-grade metals like copper, nickel, tin, and zinc. These metals are not good choices for jewelry, especially body piercings. Because these metals are highly reactive, skin cells can pick up small molecules of metal, which will then travel to the lymph nodes.
💡 Expert Tip: Metals like copper, nickel, and tin usually cause local contact dermatitis, resulting in skin reddening and itching.
Also, some grades of stainless steel that contain a higher percentage of nickel and iron can irritate human skin and thus should be avoided in jewelry.
Which jewelry metal does not tarnish?
Platinum does not tarnish, making it a great pick for daily wear jewelry. Gold and stainless steel also do not tarnish.
What is the safest metal for jewelry?
Gold and silver are two of the safest metal options available for jewelry. Moreover, they are even known to have various health benefits and healing properties. Other metals for sensitive skin include gold, silver, and platinum.
What jewelry metals can get wet?
Stainless steel, gold, and platinum are some shower-safe jewelry metals. These metals do not react with water as they are inert toward cold and hot water.
What metal is best for daily wear?
Durable, hypoallergenic metals that are less likely to tarnish or irritate the skin are best for daily use. Some of these metals include gold, silver, platinum, and titanium.
What’s the best metal for body jewelry?
For body piercings, metals like stainless steel (surgical-grade) and titanium (surgical-grade) are the best. However, gold and silver are great choices for jewelry pieces like rings and necklaces.
What’s the best jewelry metal for sensitive skin?
Gold, silver, sterling silver, and platinum are the best jewelry metals for sensitive skin, as these are hypoallergenic metals.
316L stainless steel (surgical steel) is also a good jewelry metal for sensitive skin as it has lower nickel content and a higher amount of chromium and molybdenum.
Find the Best Metal for Your Bling
With so many options available these days, picking the right metal for your next jewelry purchase can be a little confusing. But now that you know which metals are the best for jewelry-making, shortlisting might become a bit easier for you.
Consider your unique needs and your budget as you decide. Also, ensure that you choose pieces you can maintain easily. We’re rooting for you as you build your jewelry collection.
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