Platinum vs gold: when choosing the perfect metal for your jewelry, it can be challenging to decide between platinum and gold.
Both metals have their unique properties and benefits, so it’s essential to consider your personal preference for jewelry before making your decision.
Do you like the classic look of gold? Or do you fancy the contemporary look of platinum?
Gold jewelry has been popular for generations. Think about your mother’s wedding ring or the family heirloom jewelry you inherited from your great-grandmother.
It’s probably made of gold.
On the other hand, platinum has a sleek, stylish look that is appealing to brides and grooms of this generation.
There’s no denying that both gold and platinum are beautiful metals. But when choosing an engagement ring or a piece of jewelry, which is the better option?
We will discuss both options so you can make an informed decision.
What Is Platinum?
Platinum is a chemical element that comes in a natural white color. It’s a malleable and non-reactive metal, just like gold, but denser and more valuable.
The name comes from the Spanish word “platina”—a diminutive of the word “plata,” which means “silver.”
When used in making jewelry, coins and other decorative items, platinum is used in its pure form.
The alloy contains 95–98% platinum and 2–5% iridium, palladium or other metals.
The shiny white metal has a high melting point of 1,768 °C. It doesn’t corrode in the presence of other elements, making it an ideal choice for vehicle and electronic parts where corrosion resistance is vital.
Platinum is a rare natural element, with South Africa supplying almost 80% of the world’s production.
Its first use dates back to the pre-Columbian era when people used it for making artifacts.
The Europeans presumably knew about it in the 16th century, but it didn’t pique their interest until the mid-18th century.
The metal is trendy for prestige jewelry, like wedding bands, engagement rings and other jewelry pieces for special occasions.
The 3 Types of Gold Used in Jewelry
When it comes to gold jewelry, there are three main types that you will come across: yellow gold, rose gold and white gold.
These are alloyed gold, containing a combination of gold and one or more other metals.
They are available in 14k, 18k, 20k and 22k variations, but the most common fineness and value for money for these gold types are 14k and 18k.
14k gold is made up of 58.5% gold and 41.5% alloy, containing silver, nickel, zinc and copper.
It’s the most popular type of gold for jewelry because it’s affordable and robust enough to withstand everyday wear and tear.
18k gold is made up of 75% pure gold and 25% alloy, including copper and silver.
The alloy composition gives the gold a richer yellow color. This gold type is a good choice for people who want a higher gold content in their jewelry.
It also suits sensitive skin, as it’s less likely to cause an allergic reaction.
Yellow gold is the standard version, as it has existed since the beginning of human history.
The earliest trace of it dates back to 3000 BCE, and it has been widely prevalent in various cultures across the world.
In modern times, yellow gold jewelry has experienced ebbs and flows. Its popularity peaked in the 1960s–1980s, with almost everyone getting married at that time possibly having a yellow gold ring.
Yellow gold jewelry is still popular because of its classic appeal. It’s still the most widely used setting for a diamond ring.
When shopping for yellow gold jewelry, be careful of gold vermeil and gold-plated variations.
These are names for some cheaper materials with a thin layer of gold.
Rose gold has a beautiful pink hue which ranges from light pink to deep red.
Its standard color variation comes from mixing up 75% gold, 22.5% copper and a small amount of silver.
Carl Fabergé, the Russian jeweler famous for making the Fabergé eggs, first introduced this gold version in the 19th century.
It became popular in the United States until the Wall Street crash in 1929.
However, the restriction on platinum use during World War II revived the popularity of yellow and rose gold.
Today, rose gold is a popular choice for engagement rings and other fine jewelry for its unique, romantic, feminine look.
Two German alchemists invented this gold type in 1710, but it did not become popular until the 1920s.
The main reason behind this soaring demand was the banning of platinum in the jewelry industry during WWII.
People were looking for a platinum alternative for fine jewelry, and white gold was the most reasonable solution.
White gold is an alloy of gold and other durable metals, including palladium, nickel or silver.
The gold and palladium combination is highly malleable, so it’s suitable for necklaces or any jewelry with intricate designs.
Gold-nickel alloy is quite strong, primarily used in rings.
White gold gets its glossy white color from the rhodium coating. For this reason, 14k, 18k or 20k white gold jewelry looks the same.
This version of gold is suitable for those who want a modern and sleek look.
It is also more durable than yellow and rose gold, making it a good choice for everyday wear.
Platinum vs Gold: A Detailed Comparison
Platinum and gold are two popular metal choices for jewelry. Both materials have pros and cons, but which is the best choice for you?
We’ll do a detailed gold versus platinum discussion and compare the two regarding various factors, including color, durability and value.
Ready to find out which material is best for you? Read on.
Color is probably the most visible difference between platinum and gold.
Platinum shows a low-key grayish-white shade, while gold is commonly available in yellow.
Gold is also available in pink (pink gold) and reddish shades (rose gold), but the type that closely resembles platinum is white gold.
Because of a rhodium plating, white gold displays a shiny silvery-white shade.
The exterior layer may fade over time, exposing its natural pale yellow tint, but it’s easy to restore the shine with a new rhodium coating.
Platinum will never get discolored because its natural color is white. Its lustrous surface will hold the glossiness for many years.
Platinum is used in jewelry in its pure form. Also, the metal is non-reactive, so it should not react with your skin.
The jewelry we use may cause an allergic reaction because of the presence of nickel in the alloy.
Platinum alloy in jewelry does not contain nickel, so it should not trigger any allergic reaction.
On the other hand, although gold is also an inert metal, it’s not hypoallergenic because it has nickel in its alloy.
In this regard, white gold is the most non-allergic of all types because its rhodium coating does not let nickel touch the skin.
However, wearing platinum rings or necklaces may feel slightly uncomfortable because of its weight.
It’s denser than gold because the alloy contains a high density of platinum.
For this reason, it will feel heavier than similar-sized gold rings or necklaces.
Comparing the appearance of platinum with gold, mainly white gold, you will see some differences.
A side-by-side comparison will reveal that platinum has a more grayish tint, while white gold looks slightly brighter because of the rhodium plating.
Also, the luster of platinum may become slightly dull quicker than the white gold surface.
But it will never get discolored entirely or reveal any underneath yellowish tone.
A white gold ring will need re-plating every few years because the rhodium layer wears off gradually.
Also, both platinum and white gold settings expose the diamond’s inclusions in a ring.
If you choose a lower-grade gemstone and want to hide its tint, yellow gold is the most suitable option.
All types of jewelry need care and maintenance at regular intervals. But if you compare a gold ring with a platinum ring or other jewelry pieces, the platinum ones will require less care and maintenance.
Of all gold variations, white gold is the most demanding, requiring buffing and re-coating every few years to maintain its shine.
Cleaning at home will be enough for rose and yellow gold jewelry, but you will need to re-plate and polish them occasionally.
Platinum needs buffing too, because it quickly becomes dull and tends to scratch.
But you can mostly keep it lustrous with regular home cleaning. Scratching does not chip away the platinum metal.
Because of its density, the metal just moves around the circumference. For this reason, a quick buffing with a jewelry polishing cloth is enough to bring platinum back to its original shine and appearance.
On the contrary, scratches on gold jewelry mean the loss of those tiny parts.
Also, the metal becomes a little thinner with each polishing.
Strength and durability
Considering the strength and durability of platinum vs gold, the former will be the winner.
Platinum is more robust and heavier than gold because of its high density.
It will last longer and is less likely to break down. For this reason, it’s a better option than gold as the setting of a diamond ring.
The prongs that hold the gemstones are unlikely to crack or rupture.
You can make it harder by alloying it with metals like iridium, cobalt or ruthenium.
On the other hand, the most long-lasting of all gold types is rose gold because of its copper element.
Despite being stronger, platinum is slightly softer than 14k gold. It’s because over 41% of 14k gold is alloyed materials, making it slightly harder than platinum and higher karat gold variations.
For this reason, it’s easier to engrave with deep grooves on platinum jewelry than on gold pieces.
It also gets scratched relatively quicker from daily wear and tear, which changes its finish and texture.
The slight dullness creates a frosted finish known as platinum patina.
When you compare the value of platinum with gold in jewelry shops, you will find the same-sized platinum piece is more expensive than gold.
It’s a little puzzling, because gold is more expensive if you look at the platinum vs gold price chart.
Each ounce of gold costs $1,762.00, while an ounce of platinum is only $898.00 (the prices can vary depending on market situations).
Why is platinum jewelry costlier then? The answer lies in the density of the metal.
A piece of platinum jewelry contains 95 to 98% of platinum. On the other hand, most gold jewelry is made of 14k and 18k, which include 58% and 75% of gold, respectively.
So if you compare ounce-to-ounce, the gold portion in gold jewelry is much lower than the platinum portion in platinum jewelry.
Gold is a classic choice when it comes to engagement and wedding rings. Millions of people have chosen it to celebrate their special day.
However, platinum is also experiencing growing popularity, especially after many celebrities have adopted the style.
Platinum is arguably the best choice for jewelry, especially rings with diamonds.
Beyonce has a platinum engagement ring. Eva Longoria-Parker and Jennifer Hudson, along with many other stars, also picked platinum instead of gold for their engagement rings.
The expensive price tags still deter many people from choosing platinum jewelry, but it’s worth the money if you consider the quality and durability.
The Pros and Cons
Platinum and every gold type are beautiful, but each has its unique properties along with advantages and disadvantages.
platinum vs gold: Yellow gold pros and cons
The purity of yellow gold depends on the karat rating. The highest rating is 24k, but it’s softer than jewelry with a lower karat rating.
- The most available and widely used type of gold
- A classic look
- Looks good with lower-grade diamonds
- More hypoallergenic than other gold types
- Need regular maintenance
- Could get scratched from daily wear
platinum vs gold: Rose gold pros and cons
Rose gold comes in various hues, including shades of pink and red. The color variation is the result of different combinations of alloy metals.
- Better durability than yellow and white gold
- Color variations are unique
- Looks good with all skin colors
- Quite affordable
- Less available than other types
- Not hypoallergenic
platinum vs gold: White gold pros and cons
White gold’s price is similar to yellow gold’s price, but it is stronger and lasts longer.
Its alloy metals include silver, nickel, rhodium and palladium.
- A cheaper platinum alternative
- More scratch-resistant and durable than yellow gold
- Displays an eye-catching shine
- Not hypoallergenic
- May lose the glossiness quickly
platinum vs gold: Platinum pros and cons
This silvery-white material is rarer and more expensive than gold. Learn about its pros and cons to decide whether you should get platinum jewelry or not.
- Does not tarnish or change color over time
- Resistant to corrosion
- Shows more wear resistance than gold
- Creates a stronger setting for diamonds
- Heavier than gold and silver
- Jewelry making and resizing costs are higher than gold
FAQs about Platinum vs Gold
Why is platinum more expensive than gold?
Platinum is a rare and precious metal not found in large quantities on Earth, so it tends to be more expensive than gold.
It has a higher density and is used in jewelry in a purer form, compared to gold, which is used as an alloy with other metals.
Another reason for its higher price tag is that the density of platinum in the same-sized jewelry piece is more than 14k and 18k gold pieces.
Is it worth buying a platinum ring?
Platinum doesn’t corrode or tarnish as quickly as gold, which makes it a preferred choice for jewelry and other decorative items that may come into contact with water or sweat.
If you have a diamond-encrusted ring, platinum as the base metal will be a better choice than gold or silver for holding the precious gems.
Considering everything, buying a platinum ring seems to be a better investment.
What is the disadvantage of platinum?
Platinum is one of the preferred precious metals used in making jewelry and many other things.
But it has some disadvantages too. Platinum is more expensive because it’s rarer, harder to work with and requires exquisite craftsmanship.
Repairing or resizing a platinum ring is costlier than a gold ring.
Also, platinum is slightly softer than most white gold alloy variations. So, it can get scratched more easily than some white gold rings and other jewelry pieces.
Can I wear a platinum ring every day?
Yes, you can. Comparing platinum with gold, the former is a better choice than gold and silver for its durability and hypoallergenic properties.
It also does not rust or tarnish because of moisture or sweat. However, platinum jewelry can still get scratched a little, so be careful about that.