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Guide to buying jewellery

Learn which metals are best for your jewellery and piercings.

Shop all metal jewellery at Argos
Guide to buying jewellery.

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.

Gold jewellery.

Gold jewellery

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.

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.
Platinum jewellery.

Platinum jewellery

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.

Yellow gold.

Yellow gold

The 'typical' gold colour, it has a rich yellow tone. It's often mixed with copper and zinc to create strong alloys.

White gold.

White gold

Yellow gold is combined with white metals to create this cheaper alternative to platinum.

Rose gold.

Rose gold

Yellow gold is mixed with copper to create a blush colour. It's considered a more durable than yellow or white gold.

Other kinds of metal jewellery

Titanium jewellery.

Titanium jewellery

Very strong, lightweight and durable, its grey colouring makes it a popular choice for men's jewellery.

Surgical stainless steel jewellery

Surgical stainless steel jewellery

Versatile and inexpensive, stainless steel is a popular choice for fashion and body jewellery.

Metal plated jewellery.

Metal plated jewellery

Plated jewellery is coated with a thin layer of a precious metal to create the look of solid gold, silver or platinum.

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.

    Belly bars.

    Belly bars

    • Surgical stainless steel is a popular choice.
    • If you are not sensitive to nickel, consider gold and silver.
    Ear piercings.

    Ear piercings

    • Gold and sterling silver are popular choices.
    • Gold and silver plated are also affordable options.
    Cartilage ear piercings.

    Cartilage ear piercings

    • Surgical stainless steel is a popular choice.
    • If you are not sensitive to nickel, consider gold and silver.
    Tongue bars.

    Tongue bars

    • Surgical stainless steel is a popular choice.
    • Avoid plated metals that may chip or crack.
    Eyebrow bars.

    Eyebrow bars

    • Surgical stainless steel is a popular choice.
    • If you are not sensitive to nickel, consider gold and silver.
    Nose studs and rings.

    Nose studs and rings

    • Gold and silver work well for studs as they are flexible.
    • Stainless steel is a popular choice for septum rings.

    Unhealed 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.

      Revere jewellery.

      Revere jewellery

      Give that special someone a gift from the heart. Revere is here for you.

      State of Mine jewellery.

      State of Mine jewellery

      We give you the quality to wear your body jewellery with confidence.

      Moon & Back jewellery.

      Moon & Back jewellery

      Memories are best when they're shared, like our jewellery.

      Inara jewellery

      The Inara collection combines high-tech ceramic, plated with Gold and Rhodium to bring a new level of choice and affordability. Ceramic is well suited to jewellery production because of its smooth feel, light weight, scratch resistance and overall durability.

      Shop Inara jewellery

      More advice

      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.*

      Learn more

      *Jewellery and Watch Care is provided by Domestic and General Insurance PLC.

      Why buy at Argos?