Gold and platinum are the two most commonly used metals for engagement and wedding rings. Let’s look at how gold and platinum compare in appearance, cost, durability, and comfort.
The main distinguishing physical characteristic between gold and platinum is color. Platinum is a naturally white metal, whereas gold is naturally yellow. If you want a yellow ring, then yellow gold is the best option. However, if you want a white ring, you can opt for platinum or white gold.
White gold jewelry is composed of gold, alloys, and a rhodium plating which gives it a white look that’s similar to platinum. However over time the rhodium plating in white gold will wear off and fade to a yellowish tinge. Once you re-polish and re-plate the white gold ring, it will look white again. Platinum will not fade to yellow since it is naturally white.
While gold and platinum are similar in price per gram, platinum is more dense and so more of it is required to make a ring. Platinum rings are usually 95% pure platinum, while 14k gold is only 58.5% gold (18k is 75% gold). Platinum also has a much higher melting point than gold. Platinum jewelry can take up to 2-3 times longer to construct and finish than jewelry made of gold. Therefore, platinum jewelry is more expensive.
Though both gold and platinum are strong and durable precious metals, platinum is the stronger and more durable of the two. Platinum is the preferred metal for setting diamonds and other precious gemstones because of platinum’s strength and density. Platinum jewelry is less subject to wear and tear.
Despite being more durable, platinum is a softer metal than gold. This means it will get scratched a little easier than gold would. However, an important thing to note is when gold is scratched, the gold is lost and it looks like a scratch. When platinum is scratched, the platinum gets moved from one place to another, and it develops something called a patina finish (which looks like an antique or worn ring). A lot of people love and desire the patina finish.
The good thing is that for both platinum and gold, re-polishing your ring will restore it to near its original look.
Because platinum is more dense than gold, platinum rings will be heavier than gold as well. Some prefer the heavier weight, but some find the lightness of gold rings to be more comfortable. It is really up to each individual.
One more benefit of platinum is that it is hypoallergenic. While gold rings do not create an allergy issue for most people, some can develop an allergic reaction from the nickel alloy used in gold rings.