Why Don’t Jewellers Make Silver Engagement Rings?
by Kevin Dibb
August 30, 2019 / Learn About Metals
If you’re shopping for an engagement ring, one of the first questions you will be asked is what metal type do you prefer. As many women wear mostly silver jewellery, we often get asked if we make engagement rings in silver. So we thought we would take some time to answer the question of “Why don’t we see silver engagement rings?”
Engagement rings are a symbol of our love and we want them to last a lifetime, right? If you have spent time finding the perfect stone and finalizing the perfect design, you’ll want to know which is the perfect metal to use. As jewellers, our recommended choices are platinum or 18ct gold, this can be white, yellow or rose. So now you may be asking yourself, “why isn’t silver an option?” We see it used in jewellery everywhere but why not for engagement rings?” Well, there are a number of reasons why jewellers don’t tend to make silver engagement rings.
Firstly, let us tell you a bit about silver. It is a soft, white, lustrous metal and has been used in traditional jewellery throughout history! It was one of the metals of antiquity that were known to prehistoric humans, whose discovery it was is unfortunately lost to history. Used all over the world, silver has been utilised as currency since the ancient Greeks and Romans. The Aztecs are also famous for their use of silver for trade and adornments. Even China once used it for the payment of taxes and we have all seen the silver jewellery from India. While its value is just a fraction of gold’s, it is still widely considered to be a precious metal.
So, if silver has been successfully used for so long and in so many ways, why isn’t it used for engagement rings?
Over the years we have seen and made some beautiful silver jeweller but most have been dress pieces and are not designed to be worn every day. Engagement rings and wedding rings are usually worn all the time, so silver being a softer, malleable metal it will quickly show signs of wear and is prone to bending out of shape quite easily. Those of you who currently wear or have worn silver rings will be all too aware of their tendency to distort. Often the constant flexing from round to oval and back to round again will cause the joins to fracture relegating many silver rings to the back of your jewellery box, perhaps to be repaired one day.
In silver ring set with gemstones, most of the wear is visible at the base of the ring but what you may not realise is that the most important place to look for wear is around the centre stone. The centre stone is the focus of the piece and to be honest, it’s usually most of the budget. The reason for the ever-popular trend of delicate, fine claws that this shows the stone to its fullest, there is only a small amount of contact between the metal and the gemstone keeping it in place. This means that silver’s trait of being more malleable is detrimental and, if the ring is knocked, a claw could easily bend and the stone will loosen or even worse, fall out!
While freshly polished silver is a beautiful, highly reflective metal, it will tarnish and/or oxidize quite quickly. It can react with the acids in our skin causing it to darken, this can also cause a black stain to be left on your skin under the ring. Some household chemicals will also react with silver and it isn’t uncommon for people to have dermatological reactions to it.
Today, silver is a lot less expensive than gold or platinum but this wasn’t always the case, in Egypt silver was more valuable than gold until around the fifteenth century BC. You may think that by using silver, it may save a little but the truth is, in silver jewellery, the metal content of a piece is only a fraction of the total price. The labour for a talented craftsman to custom make an engagement ring remains the same no matter which metal it is made from, in fact, some designs are more labour intensive when made in silver. You will find that paying for a piece to be custom made in silver will result in a valuation lower than the amount of money spent. On the other hand, a gold or platinum ring would receive a value equal to or higher than.
For these reasons, most jewellers would like to know the piece they made can stand the test of time. If you would like a silver looking engagement ring, we would recommend 18ct white gold or platinum for its durability and brightness.
Silver is beautiful and certainly has it’s place in jewellery manufacture but when it comes to your engagement ring, you want your beautiful, expensive gemstone, to stay in place. You may also like to hand down your engagement ring down to future generations, for this Platinum or gold would be the only choices.
At Larsen Jewellery the friendly staff can guide you through the choices, There is also a great selection of beautiful diamonds and stunning coloured gems you get to see in person. The best part is, you actually see and speak with a jeweller, so there is no one better to answer any questions you may have.