Gold never goes out of style. Whether you are buying a gold ring for yourself or someone else, a range of affordable options are available. Setting a budget guides you in the decision making process and makes finding an affordable ring easier. Before you shop, learn what gold purity ratings mean and how to interpret hallmarks. The purity of gold affects its price and appearance, but it is important to remember that gold does not have to be pure to look good. Understand what types of gold are available and what sets different kinds apart from each other. Consider the style of ring that you want and whether it should be set with gems or other materials. Learn how to evaluate used rings and how to get them looking as good as new. Affordable gold rings are available from jewellers, in the second hand market, and online from sites like eBay.
Gold Purity Ratings
The purity of gold affects its affordability, look, and hardness. Pure gold is extremely soft, making it impractical for use in jewellery. Mixing pure gold with other metals, such as copper, zinc, or silver, hardens it and changes its colour. The purity of gold is measured in carats (ct), with 24 carat gold being pure or more than 99 percent pure gold. The table below shows the percentage of gold present in popular carat ratings.
Gold Content (percentage)
When buying an affordable gold ring, consider buying one with a lower purity rating to keep the costs down. However, if the ring will be worn with others, try to match the purity of the rings, as rings with lower purity ratings tend to be harder that those with higher ratings. If less pure rings rub against softer rings, they can cause them to wear on one side.
Hallmarks are stamped onto jewellery and other metal items as a safeguard for buyers. The hallmark shows that the item has been tested by an independent body, which is usually the Assay Office in the UK, and guarantees that the metal is of a specific purity. British hallmarks are made up of three compulsory symbols: the manufacturer's mark, the fineness mark, and the Assay Office mark. The manufacturer's mark, also known as the sponsor's mark, is made up of the initials of the company that sent the item for assaying, or testing. The fineness mark indicates the metal type and purity. The Assay Office mark shows where the item was assayed and can be a leopard to indicate London, an anchor for Birmingham, a rose for Sheffield, or a castle for Edinburgh.
Hallmarks may look slightly different if the item was assayed outside of the UK. There is a wealth of information available online about hallmarking. If you find an affordable gold ring with unfamiliar markings, research the item before you buy.
Types of Gold for Affordable Gold Rings
In addition to the metal purity, consider the types of gold used in affordable gold rings. Some types may be slightly more expensive than others. This is largely affected by popularity and demand, and the type of metals mixed with pure gold. The main types of gold are yellow, white, and rose. White and rose gold can never be pure or 24 carat. These metals are alloys and their colours come from the metals that are added during the manufacturing process. The highest purity level frequently used for rings is 22 carat, but 18 carat or lower is common for rose gold. Choosing a ring in coloured gold can be an affordable option that allows you to choose a unique ring with character.
Yellow Gold for Affordable Rings
Gold in its common form is referred to as yellow gold. Shades and finish vary, with some yellow gold having a soft hue and matte finish and others being brighter, with shinier finishes.
White Gold for Affordable Rings
White gold is a blend of pure gold and a white metal, often zinc or palladium. Nickel alloys are hard and strong and a popular choice for rings. However, some people develop a skin irritation and rashes from prolonged contact with nickel. Palladium is a rare metal that makes gold more pliable, so this alloy is popular for gemstone settings, but often increases the price. Some rings are plated with rhodium, which creates a white tint and protects the metal from wear.
Rose Gold for Affordable Rings
Rose gold is also known as red or pink gold and is made of gold and copper. It is often 50 percent gold and 50 percent copper. The higher the copper content, the stronger the red hue of the ring.
Gems for Affordable Gold Rings
Gems increase the price of jewellery. However, a gold ring with gems can still be affordable depending on the size and types of gem chosen. Smaller stones are usually cheaper, depending on their clarity and quality. Sapphires and emeralds are popular choices for rings as they are strong and resistant to wear. Diamonds tend to be expensive, but cubic zirconia is an affordable alternative. This is a synthetically made crystal that closely resembles a diamond, costs less, is durable, and colourless. When shopping for an affordable gold ring, also consider rings with the wearer's birthstone.
Styles of Affordable Gold Rings
Affordable gold rings are available in a range of styles, from simple bands to intricate filigree pieces. In some cases, less metal is used in the creation of the ring, but more work goes into making it. In addition, adding gems increases the ring's price. Rings are often named for the arrangement of gems on the ring. Cluster rings feature multiple gemstones set it a compact grouping. Solitaire rings feature single gemstones, usually diamonds. Cocktail rings feature large patterns of sparkling stones. Eternity rings feature small stones that encircle the entire band, while half-eternity rings have stones that stretch only across half the band.
Buying a Used Gold Ring
When shopping for affordable jewellery, buying a used gold ring is an excellent option. Gold does not degrade over time and seldom loses its lustre, so buying a used or vintage ring simply means that you are buying a ring with a history. In fact, old gold tends to have a beautiful sheen if it has been cared for properly. Although gold is soft and rings tend to scuff, these marks can be removed by polishing. Deeper marks and gouges may present a problem, but you can avoid buying an item that cannot be restored by checking the ring carefully before you buy. Ask a jeweller about the cost of polishing and cleaning the ring and add this to the buying price to calculate the ring's total cost. If the ring features gems or any other settings, make sure that the stones are firmly in place and that none are missing.
How to Buy an Affordable Gold Ring on eBay
The wide range of gold rings available from eBay sellers makes it easy to find an affordable ring. To search, type a phrase, such as "zircon gold ring", in the search field, which can be found on every page, to see the items available from eBay sellers. Choose the most appropriate category and item characteristics to refine your search. For more control over your search, use the advanced search feature.
Before You Buy on eBay
Before you buy on eBay, take a moment to learn about the item and the seller. Clicking on an individual listing takes you to the item listing page where you can find all of the information that you need about the item. This includes the item description, photos, buying options, accepted payment methods, postage and packaging fees, and the seller's feedback details. To see a seller's feedback information, click on the number next to the seller's username. This information allows you to see what other shoppers have experienced when buying from a specific seller and includes information about the seller's products and customer service. Detailed seller ratings provide additional information about aspects such as the seller's communication and the accuracy of the item description in the original listing.
Buying an affordable gold ring is easy when you know how to shop on eBay. First, set a budget for a clearer indication of what you can afford. Purity ratings affect prices and rings with a higher gold content tend to be more expensive. Pure gold is rated at 24 carat and this indicates that the ring contains more than 99 percent gold. Hallmarks are stamped into the metal to show that it has been assessed by a third party. If the ring was made in the UK, the purity rating and metal type, manufacturer's mark, and Assay Office mark are included. If the ring was not made in the UK, the hallmark may differ, but this information can be researched easily online.
Although yellow gold is the most common type available, white and rose gold are also used to make rings. White gold is pure gold mixed with a white metal and rose gold is pure gold mixed with copper. Gold rings are available in a range of styles, with or without gemstones. The type and size of gemstone affects the price. Choose a smaller, less expensive gemstone when shopping for an affordable gold ring. Consider buying a used gold ring as gold is easy to polish and restore. Ask a jeweller about the cost of polishing the ring before you commit to a purchase. Remember to add any extra costs to the price of the ring before buying. eBay seller's offer a wide selection of new and used affordable gold rings.