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Diamonds 101


Select what fits your personal needs.

There are many options in the world of precious and non-precious metals and it all comes down to what you love in terms of look and what might make the most sense for you in terms of durability. There are other things to consider as well. For example, if your skin is very sensitive, platinum might be the perfect choice for you since it’s hypo-allergenic. If you’re creating something one-of-a-kind, Schmitt Jewelers works with 100% recycled metals!

Here’s a little information on the most popular metals to help you get started.


There are various grades of gold purity from 10K, 14K, 18K and 24K (considered pure gold). 18K gold is actually 75% gold and 25% other metals. As the karat weight drops, the metal becomes more durable, but less yellow. Lower karat weights are usually plated to some degree to enhance the color. However, keep this in mind, as some plating may wear off and need to be re-plated. Gold is the most popular metal in the US and has the longest and most storied history of all the precious metals. In order to increase the durability, typically it is mixed with other metals. Yellow gold is natural and resistant to rust, tarnish and corrosion. Gold is timeless, elegant and the most popular metal for everyday wear.

White gold was developed to give a different look. It is made with similar properties to yellow gold but is mixed with different metals to give it a white color – typically with rhodium (a rare member of the platinum family). Rhodium plated rings will wear and eventually need re-plating. 

However, If you are creating a one-of-a-kind engagement ring or piece of jewelry, we work with a type of white gold called X1 white gold. X1 is enhanced with trace elements providing grain structure control while maintaining superb casting characteristics. The difference? X1 white gold is mixed with a proprietary alloy which no longer needs rhodium plating. It maintains its luster, beauty, and white surface finish.

Rose gold is made with similar properties but is mixed with copper to give it that rose color. Rose gold engagement ring styles or the use of rose gold with white gold is a very popular look today!


Platinum is one of the most popular metals for engagement rings and wedding bands. It’s naturally white and will never fade or change color. It is also durable and hypoallergenic. People love to purchase platinum because it will last forever and is the ultimate symbol of everlasting love!


Palladium is one of the rarest metals in the world and part of the platinum group of metals. Also hypoallergenic, palladium is extremely light in weight and is considered a “noble metal” due to its superior ability to withstand corrosion and oxidation.

Sterling Silver

Not usually used for engagement ring settings, sterling silver is primarily used for fashion jewelry and accessories. It is a very soft metal and tends to tarnish, which are two big reasons we don’t typically recommend it for holding a precious diamond or color gemstone for your engagement ring. However, it is a very affordable alternative to white gold or Platinum.

factors of metals


Alternative metals are often a choice for men’s wedding bands or widely used as a back-up band to the traditional gold or platinum band.

Tungsten Carbide

Tungsten carbide is unique and strong in design and a forged metal that will last a lifetime. It is created from an alloy of 80% tungsten and 20% carbon alloy with other metals.


Cobalt is four times harder than platinum, while at the same time, far less dense. Because of its natural hardness, it resists scratches, chips and corrosion. Cobalt is also hypoallergenic, so it’s a great choice for men with sensitive skin and an active lifestyle. Many men choose platinum and have a second cobalt band for their wardrobe.


Titanium is extremely lightweight, yet strong, and has a silvery white metal color. It is 45% lighter in weight than platinum. It is also hypoallergenic and commonly used in men’s fashion jewelry.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a metal that is easy to clean, highly durable and resistant to scratches and corrosion. It has a beautiful silvery-white color and retains that shine and color very well. It is most commonly used in men’s jewelry and watches.