There are several metals commonly used in making quality rings. Two of the most popular metals that are used are gold and silver.
The most popular of the two, by far, for rings is gold. There are many varieties of gold , ranging from yellow to white. Gold, by itself, is too soft to be used as a ring. Hence it is mixed with other metals to make it serviceable. Pure gold is 24 carat, and the least gold measurement is 10 carat. An 18 carat gold ring is therefore 18 parts gold and 6 parts of other metal or metals -thus forming an alloy with 75% gold.
Silver is the counterpart to gold and has always played second fiddle to gold. In a few societies in history such as ancient Egypt and the Middle Ages in Europe, silver was considered to be more valuable than gold. Nowadays, silver jewellery, because of its beauty, quality and inexpensiveness has become a highly sought-after commodity. Like gold, silver is a soft metal and in practice is used with other metals for hardening purposes. A 100% silver would simply be too soft to use in usable jewellery. The finest rating for silver is fine and is 99.9 per cent pure. Sterling silver is just below fine in ratings and is 92.5 % silver, 7.5% copper. The main drawback to silver is its tendency to tarnish. This is caused by a layer of corrosion that develops naturally on the silver when it is exposed to oxygen in the air. Scientists have tried to prevent tarnish by adding different alloys which have helped decrease the tendency for tarnishing to take place.
Silver jewellery is gaining popularity with a consumer public which is interested in affordability, style and quality. When polished, silver shines as gloriously as white gold.