Gold Engagement Rings:
Gold is one of the most precious metals in the world. Gold engagement rings may be plentiful at fine jewelry stores everywhere, but the metal itself is rare and hard to find: nearly three tons of ore must be extracted from the earth in order to yield just one ounce of gold. When couples select a gold engagement ring, they may not be aware of the added symbolism of their choice: the metal doesn't rust, corrode or tarnish and can virtually last forever ... a wonderfully hopeful association with a marriage that's just beginning!
24 karat gold is considered "pure" gold, but that's too soft to be durable enough for gold engagement rings. In the United States, most gold engagement rings are 18 karat or 14 karat gold. Karat - abbreviated with a k, K or kt - signifies how pure the gold is (it's spelled with a "k" to avoid being confused with carat, the weight measurement of diamonds and other gems). 18k gold is 75% pure gold, 14k gold has 58.5% pure gold. 9k gold (which is commonly used for jewelry in Europe) has 37.5% pure gold - but in the United States, to be legally called gold, gold engagement rings and other jewelry must be at least 10k gold (41.7% pure gold).
Pure gold is always yellow, but gold jewelry comes in several colors, including yellow, white and pink (sometimes also called rose). Gold engagement rings are usually either yellow or white. Yellow gold is a mixture (also referred to as alloy) of gold, copper, zinc and silver. White gold generally combines gold, silver and palladium; nickel was formerly one of the metals used in processing white gold, but many people had an allergic reaction to it, so nickel is no longer used in new white gold engagement rings.
The cost of gold engagement rings:
The more pure gold in a gold engagement ring, the more expensive it will be. An 18k gold engagement ring - the most popular choice in gold engagement rings - will cost more than a 14k gold engagement ring. But the 14k gold engagement ring will be slightly harder and more durable than one made with 18k gold, so for everyday wear, 14k gold might be a wiser choice.
Also bear in mind that the reflection off a yellow gold engagement ring can cast a yellowish tint on a white diamond, especially in a pronged setting. On the other hand, if a diamond already has some yellow in it, a yellow gold engagement ring can actually make the stone look whiter, in contrast to the bright yellow of the gold band.
Another factor to consider in gold engagement rings is color. The yellow gold in an 18k gold engagement ring will be brighter and richer than in a lower karat ring. If vivid yellow color is a high priority but price is a factor, a 14k gold engagement ring can be finished with a layer of 18k gold. (This may wear off over time, but it can be easily replated.)