Platinum vs. Gold, Which is Better?

By August 2, 2016Diamonds

Customers often ask us which metal is better for engagement rings, platinum or gold?  There is no right or wrong answer since the decision is based on personal choices such as convenience and price.  We like to present the facts and let our customers decide.  So here are some advantages and disadvantages to each metal and you can make the call.

Price

Platinum is the more expensive of the two metals and carries the triple whammy.  It is typically more expensive per ounce than gold, it is a denser metal so the rings end up heavier, and the metal is much more difficult to work with so labor charges are higher compared with gold.

At the time of this article gold is actually more expensive per ounce than platinum.  Gold is priced at $1660 per ounce compared with platinum at $1519 per ounce.  However, what some consumers don’t realize is that gold used to make jewelry is not in its pure form, while platinum is almost pure.  Jewelry is typically made of 14K (58% gold) and 18K (75% gold) gold, compared to 90-95% pure platinum.  Applying purity percentage to the price will yield $962 for 14K and $1,245 for 18K, compared with $1,367 for 90% platinum.  Factor in the greater density of platinum and it outclasses gold in price.

Maintenance

Gold is a naturally yellow metal while platinum is a naturally white metal.  To create white gold, nickel (a white metal) is mixed into the gold alloy to reduce the yellow color and produce a pale yellow alloy.  After casting a ring using the alloy, the ring is electrically plated with rhodium (a white metal) to create  a white appearance.

The downside to white gold is ongoing maintenance.  The rhodium plating hiding the yellow gold wears off every 6-12 months and the yellow color begins to show.  The ring must then be re-plated with rhodium to preserve the white appearance.  Platinum does not require ongoing maintenance to look white.

Ring Wear

Platinum is a naturally stronger metal than gold, but gold is actually harder and therefore more scratch resistant.  Yellow gold gets softer with increasing Karat purity, but white gold is opposite.  So while 18K yellow gold is softer than 14K yellow gold, 18K white gold is harder than 14k white gold.

Because platinum is a stronger metal it is more durable allowing platinum rings to retain their shape better over time. This makes platinum prongs a more secure option for diamond settings compared with gold.  Gold prongs bend easily and can shift, but platinum prongs are very difficult to move.

In summary, gold is lighter, cheaper, more scratch resistant, and requires maintenance to keep the white appearance.   Platinum is stronger, heavier, more expensive metal that offers added security for diamonds and requires no maintenance to preserve its white color.  You make the call!

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