Guide to buying jewellery
Learn which metals are best for your jewellery and piercings.Shop all metal jewellery at Argos
A key part of choosing a piece of jewellery is deciding what it's made of. Finish, durability, cost, and importantly your personal style, are all factors to consider.
Different metals used in jewellery
For fine jewellery, gold, silver and platinum are popular choices. Classic and timeless, the choice is largely down to personal taste, although there are some differences in their features.
There are three colours of gold; yellow, white and rose. Pure gold is often mixed with harder metals to form a more durable alloy.
Benefits of wearing gold jewellery
- High carat gold won't tarnish easily.
- It's malleable, allowing for intricate designs.
Look out for
- High carat gold is prone to scratches.
- Alloys may contain nickel which some wearers are sensitive to.
Sterling silver jewellery
Pure silver is soft and prone to scratches so is often combined with a harder metal, usually copper, to create the alloy sterling silver.
Benefits of wearing sterling silver jewellery
- Bright white colour and high shine.
- Generally a less expensive precious metal.
Look out for
- Can tarnish or develop dark coating.
- Can scratch or scuff, although more durable than pure silver.
Naturally white, platinum is rarer than gold and often used in a near pure form. It is heavier than other metals used in jewellery.
Benefits of wearing platinum jewellery
- It's hypoallergenic.
- It's very durable and resists tarnish.
Look out for
- Platinum is more expensive than gold or silver.
- Relatively rare, it's available in fewer designs.
Gold carats explained
The carat refers to the amount of pure gold in the alloy. 24 carat is the purest form of gold but 9 carat and 18 carat are most commonly used for jewellery. Lower carat golds are cheaper and more durable, but may have a duller appearance.
Other kinds of metal jewellery
What is hypoallergenic jewellery?
Some people are sensitive to nickel and copper so look for hypoallergenic jewellery. These are usually made from pure metals such as platinum and titanium. Surgical steel, sterling silver, and high carat yellow gold jewellery contain a very small amount of nickel or copper so can also be considered hypoallergenic.
Best metals for piercings
It's important to consider the material when purchasing body jewellery because some metals are more suitable for sensitive piercings.
If your piercing has not yet fully healed stick with surgical stainless steel body jewellery. If you know you have a metal allergy, avoid this metal in your unhealed body piercing.
Inspired jewellery ideas
Treating yourself or looking for a gift? Take a look at our beautiful jewellery collections.
Jewellery & Watch Care
A piece of jewellery or a watch can mean a lot to us and damaging a precious item can be both stressful and upsetting. But with Argos Jewellery & Watch Care, there's less to worry about.*
*Jewellery and Watch Care is provided by Domestic and General Insurance PLC.