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Episode 4 - Rose Gold, Platinum, White Gold - What is the Best Material for Her?
Welcome to the Ring Master Podcast! In this episode, we will be discussing about different materials that engagement rings can be made from. We talk about the differences in Rose Gold, Platinum, and different Gold metals, and what would be best suited for the engagement ring for your significant other. Use this as a guide in choosing the best metal for her engagement right, as your metal selection can make quite the difference in style, durability, and cost!
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Welcome to the RingMaster Podcast, Chicago's most trusted source to educate, guide and give you tips and advice for choosing and purchasing the right diamonds, custom engagement rings, and wedding bands. Here is our expert design chief, Koorosh Daneshgar, and our diamond experts Mory Tafreshi and Terry Hanley. This podcast is brought to you by Chicago’s very own Wedding Bands & Company where we believe marriage is too important for ordinary jewelry.
Koorosh: Hello everyone, here we are with another episode of Ring Master, here with Mory Tafreshi, Terry Hanley, and Koorosh Daneshgar this episode is about the engagement ring metal. What metal should be bought for the engagement ring? What is the difference between platinum, white gold? All the questions related to metal. This question is the one that pops up the most when talking about jewelry, and a lot of people don’t know where to go for the answer. If you go to any website, depending on what they sell, they will advertise more, but we will give you our honest opinion from the experience working with metal for 30 years on my side. Rings I made 30 years ago rarely come back for big repairs. I explain that in detail. The first question I pose to Terry is what the difference between yellow gold 14K is, 24K1, 8K. Please explain some of these Karats to our clients
Terry: Yes! First off I want to say that when we talk about Karats in a sense we are talking about Karats with a ‘K” rather than Carats with a ‘C’ which we utilize when talking about stone weights of diamonds and so on and so forth. Karats in this application refers to the gold content, how much gold is in that piece versus the alloy. In 14K Gold you actually have 58.5% precious metal with the rest of that being alloy. 18K gold you’re going to have 75% gold versus 25% alloy. 24K gold you're going to have pure gold, no alloy mixed in whatsoever. The alloys will vary depending on the refinery and who is putting it together. Always keep in mind when you step into 14K white gold, it is the alloy that makes the metal white.
Koorosh: The difference when we are making things in 18K gold, 75% of that is pure gold and 25% is other metal. This other metal, if it is going to be totally pure, like copper, it will make the color of the gold reddish what is known as Rose Gold.
Mory: Right! Like technically there is no such thing as 14K White Gold, we take pure gold and then we add 58.5% yellow gold and 41.5% nickel and that’s what makes it white.
Koorosh: Nickel, silver, or a combination of everything
Mory: Yes, and if it is rose gold it’ll be 41.5 % copper to make it
Koorosh: So, the variation of adding those alloys to pure gold will give different colors to the gold. One thing you have to understand is that you will never ever reach 100% White. So, when they are making white gold in the alloy, the gold is going to be a little yellow tinted. To solve this problem to make it more white, they plate it with a metal called Rhodium. Rhodium is a plating a jeweler does when making white gold. They plate the gold with Rhodium which is a pure white metal to make the whole ring white. If you are buying White gold: 18K, 14K, 10K, anything white gold; After wearing it for a year you will notice the ring, especially on the bottom, change in color to a yellowish. This is totally normal. Nothing is wrong with your 14 K white gold ring. You have to take it back to the jeweler; the majority of jewelers charge for a rhodium plating and polish. However, buying it from us from Wedding Bands Company, we offer this for a lifetime, a cleaning with rhodium once a year. Right now, we also want to talk about which one is better for holding a diamond. Is it better to buy 18K gold? Or is it better to buy 14k gold? |
Mory: It’s again, just like a diamond, a matter of preference. Sometimes it comes to a matter of culture. I have had customers that come from the middle east and they usually do with the higher karat because that is how it is back home. Like in India, Asia, you know some of the middle east countries, so they usually do not use the 14K because they think it doesn't have any value. It does, but that’s a matter of a cultural thing. In a matter of strength, if you’re stuck between 14k and 18k we usually recommend going with 14k. Because it’s going to be stronger since it has more alloy and it’s going to have the rim stronger. The more karats you have in your ring, the softer the ring will get. Because, it will be more viable to scratch or be bent.
Koorosh: Let’s say in the United States, most of the jewelry you will see in the market is 14K. 14K is harder and will hold the diamond, but do not think because you see a 18K gold ring that those diamonds will fall off. No. They’re totally fickle in the Middle East, Asia, Japan, Iran (where I grew up), all of those countries, everything is 18K. Believe me all of those have diamonds and none of them come out! I have seen people come in and ask, “What kind of gold is that?” and we tell them it’s 18K they respond “Oh, 18K is soft”. No, it is softer than 14k gold. If we are making a ring and you have a choice to pick between 14k or 18k, like Mory said if you do not have any specific cultural ties and you ask which is the best? We recommend 14k. If you see in the showcase 18K gold, or if you see 18k gold and you like it, there is nothing wrong with it. There are a ton of rings in the market you’re going to see are 18K, especially if they are produced in China or Hong Kong since they typically use 18K. Using 18K white gold will absolutely not make it any different when using it for your diamond. For yellow gold, however, when you do 18K yellow gold, it is a much richer color and nicer than 14k to me. As a designer, if I am going to work with a yellow gold ring, I prefer to work with 18K. It’ll make it much nicer. Another question is, what should you choose for the metal of the engagement ring? If you don’t have any idea or you want to make the decision on your own without the help of anyone else, you want this to be a surprise. Should you go with yellow gold or white gold? I want to say again, listen to your partner and see if she makes a comment about yellow gold or white gold. Also look at the other jewelry she is wearing so if she mostly wears yellow gold, like her earrings or pendant, a custom color but yellow; You should probably consider a yellow gold engagement ring. If you notice the majority of the things that she wears are white and there are absolutely no yellow at all, so you have to go with the white. This is one hint to watch for when considering everything.
Terry: Personally, I always felt that it kinda sets the diamond off. I like that contrast, especially when you get into that higher color in diamond. That D-F color, that really crisp look. And you set it against that 18 K gold, which I again love, you set up a real nice strong contrast which I personally believe is spectacular. So much is going to depend on what she tends to gravitate towards, how the metal plays against her skin tone and all that stuff. But that contrast of that diamond and the yellow is always one of my favorite looks as its ultimate classic.
Koorosh: Another thing is the reaction of reflection to the prongs to the diamond. So, if you have a very white diamond with a yellow gold prong, there is a chance you might get some off the reflection of the prongs on the diamond. You want to avoid that and try to go with a white head or prongs.
Mory: The top part that is sitting and holding the diamond, the main stone, that sits upon the lower part, shank, is what we call ‘the head’.
Koorosh: Yes, or the setting
Mory: That part can usually have 4 prongs or 6 prongs depending on the design and the shape of the stone. That’s the one that could be many shapes and styles which can be well explained on our website blog or you can google it and find it elsewhere.
Koorosh: The percentage of the rings we sell, as wedding bands company, we do mostly custom work. The majority of the rings we design and customize we use platinum which we are going to now get to since we haven't talked about it yet. We have about 30 - 40% white gold and 10% yellow gold orders.
Terry: I think we also have to look at this point in history. Yellow is just making its way back in, just like rose gold. I’ve been around a long time, whereas 30 years ago in our neighborhood and selling, probably 80-90% of what we did was in the yellow gold, so everything kind of moves in trends. We are definitely slowly moving back in yellow, but the majority of what we do is in the white.
Koorosh: So, let’s talk about platinum, this is a great point. We’ve talked about gold, white gold, and a little bit of rhodium and what it does. So, let’s talk about platinum. Platinum is a pure metal that is white. It is a precious metal that used to be more expensive than gold, but right now if you check the price of platinum it is a bit less than gold. You should consider one thing, when we are making a ring and working with a ring, we use pure platinum. When we are making 14K gold, we use 58% pure gold. In one hand its 14K gold per ounce is less expensive than platinum, but platinum in its raw metal price in the past used to be up to $2,000
Terry: A considerable difference, much higher!
Koorosh: Yes, and gold was $800. Now platinum is $1,000 or $900 and gold is $1,500. So, what we have to say is when someone works with platinum, everything will be totally different. The person will need to work with a platinum smith who is more expensive per hour. If a jeweler charges $60 per hour, a platinum smith who works with lasers and welding platinum will cost $95 per hour. So, it is very different when working with platinum.
Terry: It is a more difficult metal
Koorosh: I started as a bench jeweler. When I started 30 years ago, I was 17 years old. In the beginning I just worked with silver and gold. Then after I worked in one of the firms of a well-known design masters in Iran, I learned about platinum. I learned during that time if we had an inquiry about platinum, they didn’t have the equipment. They needed to send for a special person to work with platinum, it was a totally different area. After I moved to the United States and I opened my shop, I found out it was very popular here. I learned why it was popular, I learned about it, how to cast it, had to buy the equipment, and I found out when I sat and worked with platinum how beautiful it is. It is hard. As a jeweler, when you work with yellow gold and you want to bend something- you bend it and it comes back. We always said as bench jewelers it's not listening to you! You’re trying to get one type of curve with a special pillar, you bring it where you want, but white gold has this spring feeling. It goes back and you have to keep doing it and hammer it, and if you hammer it you lose the shape. But man, platinum is totally different, it’s like you’re working with clay, if you want to create something handmade, it is amazing. When you weld it, if you know how, the welding will be forever. Especially today we use lasers!
Terry: yes! This has created a huge change in the platinum market in terms of what can be done. Lasering compared to torch and soldering which is completely different
Koorosh: One of the beauties of having platinum is the look of having the metal and diamond have gravity to each other and holding each other perfectly. When working together, they will not tear apart. When you wear it, they are holding each other. When your ring hits against a surface or something, the metal moves rather than becomes destroyed or cut. Platinum will bend and become dent, but you’re not losing it. Compared to white gold or yellow gold where you lose the metal when there is a scratch. If you want to do something with an intricate design and a lot of detail, engraving, pave diamonds, or any custom work where you’re spending $1,000s in designing- I recommend going platinum. This ring will last long, and you can someday offer to another generation and it will become a family heirloom. You’ll want to make it out of platinum. If you're buying out of a showcase and have a higher budget, go with platinum because your ring will last longer. Terry for the years you’ve worked with people, tell me about the repairs when they come back
Terry: It’s interesting, I was going to go there. One point regarding platinum and its value versus gold and so on, as we were saying before platinum is 90-95% precious metal with the rest of the alloy, being compared to gold being 58.5% and the rest being alloy. Platinum is also more dense and harder, it’s about 60% heavier. You’re actually getting a lot more metal. Yes, you’re spending a lot more money out of pocket in terms of the finished piece, but the reality is you’re getting a lot more of the precious metal in the same piece. So, it’s interesting. You were saying regarding repairs. It’s always fascinating since I’ve been along for many years and I definitely have an estate of antique pieces. In those years before laser welding and soldering that we do today, a platinum piece that had stones set in it you could not do anything with it unless you went in and removed all those stones and reset it after repairing it. The burning point of diamonds is lower than the melting point of the platinum, so you had to heat it beyond the burning point, and you’d burn or char the diamonds on the exterior. So, it’s interesting! Even at the point, a number of years ago in the 80’s during the gold rush, the price of gold went through the ceiling We were buying scraps off the street so fast, all of the platinum of the streets
Koorosh: Terry do you want to tell then the story about the client who used to buy gold bands and rings from that time
Terry: With the hammer and breaking the stones out?
Koorosh: No, you told me that back then in that time, people buying gold and metal used to be people working in the stock exchange. So, buying gold bracelets in the morning and the next day…
Terry: Oh yes traders...commodity traders. Here in Chicago we are one of the largest trading markets in the country and there were real traders on the floor. Guys who scream and holler, wearing colorful vests. They were a breed of characters making sounds. Wild guys! All of them were kinda the same age as I was back then, so on and so forth, so I had a huge clientele of them. So what Koorosh is talking about and what I would joke is that I would sell them a Rolex at 10’oclock in the morning and then 6 o’clock in the evening when they had to cash out at the end of the day. You’d sell it to them at 10 o’clock in the morning and buy it back at 6 o’clock. Always an adventure, they were incredible years. My point of ending with that, is there was a period where gold metal prices were rising so fast we were buying up so much metal that needed to get to that refinery that night in case the market crashed that night (which eventually they did because they always do) we wouldn’t get burned. We would literally be sitting there with beautiful art deco pieces, and it breaks my heart that were unrepairable because we didn’t have a laser at that time. We were standing over big plastic garbage cans with hammers with beautiful platinum art deco brooches with a hammer just breaking them up to get the stones out. The stones were worth nothing to us compared to the metals. We would get all the stones out to get the metal itself clean and the refinery would accept it. If they had to do that themselves, they wouldn’t buy it. Thinking about that and the change of the laser process changed things.
Koorosh: Laser came to the market in about 2000. The technology came from Germany. A German Romanoff company created the equipment a jeweler could use. It is so interesting that when I just got to the United States and worked in a manufacturing company called North American Jewelry and they brought us that laser machine, I was one of the first ones to get trained to use the laser machine. After learning about it, they later bought two because everyone was using it. So many bench jewelers didn't know how to use it until they realized how cool the equipment could be. They put me as a “laser boy’ or the person doing laser work for everyone. Doing laser work early in the morning until late in the evening. I had a very good experience. Once I opened my first shop, we bought a laser machine.
Terry: Not an inexpensive proposition especially during that point in history!
Koorosh: I want to say this, buying a torch is about $100 and a laser machine was $30,000 so we had to get a loan and get the machine. We were the first in Chicago, Wedding Bands Company, to have this. In the past we had a branch of the company called
Koorosh & Terry: Laser Fix
Koorosh: You remember!
Terry: Oh yes, I was doing business with you back then and this is how this relationship started!
Koorosh: We put the laser and did repairs. I did so much laser work for the Art Institute because they had so many jewelry pieces that they wanted refurbished and placed back, and no one could do it! After finding out I owned a laser they trusted me to do the repair. A Laser is one thing that is necessary to work with platinum. If you are thinking about buying platinum, just ask the jeweler you are working with “Do you have a laser?”, because if your ring needs to be sized or repaired, you need to have a laser. It is a very important part of working with platinum.
Terry: All of those technologies are important nowadays lasers... 3d printing, it’s really become a backbone
Koorosh: Which we have all of and sets us apart! My recommendation for a custom piece is always platinum, it lasts longer, holds the diamond longer, heavier, has more value, and makes the diamond look stunning. If after that she prefers something in white, I recommend 14K white gold that will hold the diamond better. And if she really wants to do something in yellow, I recommend using yellow gold on the shank and white prongs.
Terry: I love the yellow look, especially 18K. In terms of the 14K white gold vs 18K white gold, which we are seeing a lot of 18K come in from out of the country. It’s kind of a silly thing, it's the alloy they add to it that makes the metal white, and it's the rhodium plating that they put on at the end that really makes it white. So, what you’re really asking for is to see the rhodium finish not this white gold. 18K is going to be much more yellow because it has less of that alloy that will make that yellow white. So 18K white gold is kind of silly in my opinion. 18K yellow gold, however, man that look! Especially in the market right now, it’s worth taking that step up. The little bit of additional money required out of pocket is well worth it. It’s a great investment. Very few people truly have allergy gold, very tiny percentage. It’s the alloy that gets mixed with it that people tend to react to, Usually the nickel is what people react to that will create the problem.
Koorosh: I have heard of a refinery designed a 14K white gold with no nickel,
Terry: I have heard of that too but I'm not too familiar with it
Koorosh: Were not too sure. The best way to avoid an allergy problem of sensitive skin is using platinum. Getting platinum will give your piece of mind and you won’t have an allergy to it. The last thing we want to say is when you have a gold ring, yellow gold, or white gold; Why after 10 years or 15 years, do the prongs get worn down?
Terry: Honestly, the majority is done within your sleeping hours. I always strongly advise a client to take their pieces off at night, at home during your normal routine. It gives your finger the ability to flex back. If you look at your mother or grandmother's fingers, they probably have this major groove thing going where they have worn the same ring on the same finger for the last 60 years. If you take it off every night, you’ll never develop that. It’ll allow you to size the ring better as the years go on. It’s also friction of the prongs against bed sheets and pillowcases, getting tangled up in bed sheets. If you take it off, you avoid that happening. So, it’s a very slow process but it happens! Many people that I work with have been married for 50 years and who have never taken it off for 50 years, the biggest issues is the prongs wear down
Koorosh: And I would say it does happen over 10-15 years. When we polish the jewelry in the shop, we use a wheel. They are sheets that are sewn together that we put together and polish.
Terry: Yeah with a bit of rouge on there
Koorosh: So literally this happens when we sleep, the ring is polished, and a bit of metal is lost every night. However, with platinum, this will happen less because it is harder
Terry: There is also the tangling up of a prong, something like that holding it back, can create issues. If you take your jewelry off at night, like I said in your normal routine, traveling and stuff like that don’t, but in your normal routine take it off. Let it soak in a little Windex every couple of nights and rinse it off in the morning, it’ll keep it clean. It’s a really good habit to get into.
Mory: Nothing against anyone’s opinion, but I have had customers who believe that because they buy white gold or platinum their ring doesn’t need any maintenance. I have had this customer who bought a 4 carat center stone, really, really sweet, they spent almost $40,000 on the ring. Almost three months later she came back with the 14K yellow gold ring and the shape was oval. She goes, “What happened to my ring?!” And I told her I have no idea because it's her ring, so she left it and asked to have it fixed and we told her we would try. Her mom came the next day to pick it up, I was talking to her because I didn’t know what happened to the ring and her daughter had not mentioned anything about it. I asked mom, “Did you see her ring?”, and she goes, “Yeah, I mean I told her to take it off”. I asked her, “Why do you think this happened? she goes “Ever since she got this job, she works for this IT Company, she travels 5 days a week. Every single day she’s going to the airport and carrying all the luggage and suitcases, and each one is over 30 lbs. and she uses the same hand, the right one!” It doesn’t happen overnight but when she’s doing it repetitiously, the ring is going to look like an oval.
Terry: Yeah, it’s going to fall out around.
Mory: Exactly! I told her, “Hey tell her to take the ring off, or lift her luggage with her left hand”
Terry: Yeah! Or as I advise my clients, especially if you’re going to the health club to work out or lift weights- take ‘em off! It’s a piece of jewelry that needs a little bit of respect and consideration.
Mory: Speaking of white gold, I do want to mention that I have had a few customers that have purchased white gold or yellow gold, either one, and end up coming back 6 to 7 months later after purchasing their brand new ring. It’ll have all these dots and stains on it, and they will ask me, “What happened?” and I’ll tell them, “I don’t know, where did you guys go? Did you stay in any of the public hotels?”. They did. They went into a jacuzzi and they put so much chemicals in them because they want to avoid diseases for obvious reasons. So, there are so many chemicals in the water and without taking off their rings, just going inside the jacuzzi and coming out is just like acid
Terry: Chlorine is one of the hardest things!
Mory: Yes, and at a high dosage!
Terry: One of the hardest things on gold
Mory: It’s going to mess up the gold!
Terry: Won’t hurt the diamonds! Platinum is a bit more resistant, of course repetitively doing it the finish can get a bit clunky.
Koorosh: The purity of platinum is what protects it. Another interesting thing about platinum is it is used to make surgical equipment for medical surgery. This is made from pure platinum. Platinum is used to make those because it won't create an allergic reaction on the skin, so it is a good choice if you think about it. We are going to have a picture on our website, or blog post, to show you three things. One will be white gold when you buy it brand new, then after a year how the color will change. You can be the judge if it is horrible or just a little bit. It’s always better for you guys to see it. In addition to showing platinum, brand new and after wearing it for a year. Whichever way you go (yellow gold, platinum, or white gold), like Mory said, you need maintenance.
Koorosh: Take it back to the jeweler, tell them you want them to check the prongs, clean it, make sure everything is good and they will give it back to you. Again, we do this. This is part of our job and warranty for a continuous lifetime. Every 6 months, any of our clients you can ask or see on social media, they bring their rings for cleaning. We clean them, we check the diamonds, we do a bit of polishing. If it is yearly, they get a free rhodium plating and the ring will look just as it did originally when you bought it. Beautiful. If you keep doing this and are careful not to damage your ring, your ring will last 50 years!
T: As it should, for a lifetime!
M: So, I always tell my clients to bring this example if they can understand it pretty well. "It has nothing to do with the price of the ring that you purchase." Some people think if you purchase a $30,000 ring vs a 3,000 ring, that it would require less maintenance. It doesn't matter if you buy a Ford Focus or a Bentley for half a million dollars. Both of them need maintenance and both of them need to be taken care of with love. You have to show affection. No matter what, you have to keep up with maintenance. You can't just say "I'm going to change the oil and put gas in it, and I expect it to go for life." No, both of them need attention and you have to take care of them.
T: One may notice my preference toward platinum, but one of the things I love about platinum is that you don't have to polish it and re-rhodium plate it yearly. You can let it go. And I like platinum after it gets worn and gets beat up, and takes on kind of its own patina, to be like that look or feel that it has some character. So, with me, personally, anything I have like that, I let it just continue to go. Where with white gold, every few years, you're going to break down and have it re-rhodiumed, so that requires polishing it, refinishing it, and re-rhodium plating it. With platinum, you can have it cleaned, you can have it inspected, just let it continue to go. To me, it's like a pair of blue jeans, they look better after being worn 20 times, rather than how it looked brand new.
K: Very good! Thank you so much everybody. Thank you for listening. We hope we brought some value and entertainment for you. We want you guys to know us more. We'd love to hear back from you. If you have any questions, drop us an email, write a comment, share this audio with anybody you think are in the market. We'd love to hear if anybody comes from this podcast. We really appreciate if you let us know, it keeps us going! We'd love to continue and make a beautiful package for anybody in this market. You come and go, but my belief is that if you're doing work, you do a service for people, and that's the purpose of life, to give service to each other. And I'm grateful to work here with Mory and Terry, who are truly doing that same thing. Anybody working anywhere can make money. It's not about that. It's what you do, and you take it seriously, and you have people come into your life, you offer your service. You get paid, anyways. What about doing something that they’re going to remember you by. They're going to refer you, and they have good memories. That's the only thing that's going to last. Materialism is going to be gone when we're gone, but what's going to stay forever, is good memories. Maybe a hundred years from now, someone’s going to say "Ooh, I remember my grandpa bought this ring from these jewelers, they're so nice!" So, would you be kind and share this? We'd love to tell the world we are ready to serve, and we love what we do.
M: One last thing, when you mentioned you grandpa, I had this guy walk in a couple years ago and he said "I know you!" and I asked "How do you know me?" "My grandpa bought his ring from you!" and I was like "Are you serious?! How old was your grandfather?" "95!" "Hah, I wasn't even born yet!"
T: I've reached the point in my life where I am at that point. Where I am on third generation of families. It is pretty scary but it's just reality, and it's a pleasure. One of my associates from many years ago in the business, a very wise man. His motto with our business always was "Don't worry about the money. Worry about making people happy. We make people happy; the money will come. The money will come. Do what we do best, make people happy." That's the philosophy I try to operate on!
K: I appreciate it! Thank you so much, we'll see you in the next episode.
T: Thank you!
M: Have a good one!