Precious Metal Breakdown

Precious Metal Breakdown

You’re familiar with the warm glow of 18k yellow gold and the cool shimmer of platinum, but what’s the deal with green gold? How about rose gold? Palladium, anyone? There are lots of options when it comes to fine jewelry metals. Read on to learn more about the precious metals we love to use to create handmade jewelry in our NE Minneapolis studio.


No matter the color, gold is warm and inviting. Gold is the most malleable of all metals, making it the perfect pick for fine jewelry. Pure gold is 24k and as more alloys are introduced, the karat number decreases. For example, 18k gold is 18 parts gold and 6 parts alloy. The more pure the gold/higher the karat, the softer the metal - so 14k and 18k are preferred options for daily wear jewelry. Different karat and alloy combinations produce different colors of gold. EC Design primarily works with 14k rose gold, 14k green gold, 14k yellow gold, and 18k yellow gold. What makes each one unique? Let’s find out!

Rose Gold

Rose gold goes by several names: pink gold, red gold, peach gold. The addition of copper to a gold base is what gives rose gold its pink/red color and the amount of copper affects how rich the final color is. For example, 14k rose gold is on the red side of the spectrum while 18k is more peachy-pink. A small amount of silver and zinc are added along with copper, making the metal stronger without dulling the color.

Green Gold

Green gold is a combination of gold and silver. The 14k variety has a soft green hue while 18k is more vibrant. Green gold is alloyed with silver to help strengthen it and mute the yellow tones.

Yellow Gold

Yellow gold has historically been one of the most popular metals for fine jewelry. If you want a rich, bright yellow opt for 18k yellow gold. If you are looking for something in a softer shade, you may want to go for 14k yellow gold, which is a more mellow, almost peachy yellow. 

Precious metal bands from EC Design Jewelry.

White Metals

If you are looking for a cooler metal, you’ll love platinum and palladium. From bright, white silver to deep gray, these precious metals are perfect options for fine jewelry.


Pure platinum has a soft surface, so it is alloyed with a small amount of ruthenium to increase its durability. 950 platinum is 95% pure platinum and 5% alloy metals. It is white in color and is well suited for daily wear jewelry, like wedding and engagement rings. 


Palladium is a silver-white metal that is in the same group as platinum. If you are looking for a darker, rich cool metal you’re going to love 500 palladium which is half palladium and half silver. 950 palladium is 95% pure palladium alloyed with ruthenium and is closer in color to platinum.

All of these precious metals are excellent options for fine jewelry because they are durable and minimally reactive. No matter your color preference, EC Design Jewelry has a beautiful selection of rings to choose from. We have an excellent selection of ready to wear Simple Bands and Mixed Metal Bands, not to mention our Made to Order options. If you want to get creative and explore these metals and more, let’s get together to create a Custom Design!

So, what’s your favorite?

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