Choosing between 9ct and 18ct gold for your engagement and wedding rings can be a tough call if you’re unfamiliar with these metals. There is a common myth that 9ct gold is ‘harder’, and therefore will last longer as a piece of jewellery. However, the properties of 9ct and 18ct gold are more complex than meets the eye.
To unravel this myth, let’s compare it to the humble dining table.
(Yep, that’s right!)
Solid vs laminate dining tables??
Consider the difference between a solid hardwood dining table and its cheaper laminate counterpart.
A hardwood dining table, for starters, will set you back quite a bit more at the furniture store. It will show a few surface marks with the daily humdrum of use, but these are easily taken care of with a little regular maintenance. In many years’ time, it’s likely this solid household staple will likely still be part of the family.
A laminate dining table, by comparison, will be far cheaper at the furniture store. It will initially hold up better to surface marks, so won’t need as much regular maintenance. Though it’s more ‘brittle’ in construction, and won’t hold up very well to the demands of daily use.
What does this mean for jewellery?
Similar properties ring true for 18ct gold (in this case, the hardwood table), and 9ct gold (in this case, the laminate table).
An 18ct gold ring will set you back a bit more at the beginning, but will far outlast the same ring made in 9ct gold. While it’s softer and marks easier, there are easily taken care of with a polish every so often. For an engagement or wedding ring that you plan to wear most days, and keep for many many years, 18ct is the obvious choice.
A 9ct ring, by comparison, is cheaper than an 18ct ring, but won’t last as long (and in fact, considering its shortened life, works out to be more expensive for each year that you have it!). It shows less surface scratches, but its brittle nature means it doesn’t hold up to regular wear and tear. While 9ct is fine for a ring that will rarely be worn, it’s not great for a piece you’d like to have in the family for many years.
So, when making your decision, be sure to consider the longevity of your piece.