When it comes to choosing between gold and platinum for your diamond engagement ring setting and your wedding rings, many soon-to-be brides and grooms aren’t sure if they should be choosing one precious metal over the other. Gold and platinum are the two precious metals used most often in diamond and gemstone jewelry, particularly bridal jewelry.
Platinum is more expensive than gold because it’s rarer. Additionally, precious metals are bought and sold by weight, and platinum is almost twice as heavy as gold. In the U.S., most platinum jewelry settings are 95 percent pure, while 14 karat gold is only 58.5 percent pure. Platinum is more expensive per ounce than gold, and it’s also more difficult for a jeweler to work with, which also increases its cost.
In platinum’s defense, it’s stronger, longer wearing, and more durable than gold. Platinum never needs plating to retain its original white color.
Gold is a softer metal than platinum; in fact 24 karat gold, which is pure gold, is rarely used in fine jewelry because it’s just too soft. 14 karat and 18 karat gold are most often used; 18 karat gold is 18/24ths or 75 percent pure gold, and 14 karat gold, the standard alloy for fine jewelry in the U.S., is 14/24ths or 58.5 percent pure gold. Yellow gold is bright, sunny yellow metal that polishes easily. Yellow gold is beginning to make a comeback after taking a back seat to white gold and platinum over the past 20 years.
White gold is held to the same karat rating and contains the same gold content as yellow gold. Jewelers add certain alloys to yellow gold to turn it white, or almost white. Most white-gold alloys must be plated with rhodium (a member of the platinum group of metals) to gain a bright white appearance. With a ring that experiences a lot of wear and tear, the plating begins to wear off after about a year, so the re-plating becomes necessary periodically to keep most white gold jewelry looking its best.
Some jewelers today are using white gold alloys that have a natural white color with no yellow in them. These newer alloys don’t need to be maintained with rhodium plating, and give a color very similar to platinum. If you find a jeweler who uses this type of alloy, you can avoid one of the major negative aspects of having a white gold setting instead of platinum. Check with your jeweler to see if they use these new types of alloys in their custom designs, or if the manufacturers they purchase from use them if you’re buying a preset diamond engagement ring ring.
Platinum is a true white-colored precious metal, and a favorite for many because it will last longer that gold and never needs plating to retain its bright white appearance. Platinum is stronger and denser, but slightly softer on the surface than gold.
Platinum has historically been more expensive than gold, but recently the price per ounce of both gold and platinum is much closer than it used to be.
When you are shopping for a diamond engagement ring, you probably will need to decide whether you want a gold or platinum setting, especially if you are designing your own engagement ring. Many preset diamond engagement rings only come in gold or platinum, so the choice may not be yours to make with a preset.
Keep in mind too that although gold and platinum are the most common and popular choices in precious metals available, there are other options such as tungsten, silver, palladium and titanium. These metals are more readily found in men’s rings and other jewelry, so you probably will not run into any of these options in your search for a diamond engagement ring and matching or complimentary wedding band.
Gold, both white and yellow, is the most popular metal choice for diamond engagement rings and other jewelry. Gold is rich, shiny, and easily polished. When you’re considering gold for your rings, your first thought will go to color –white gold or yellow gold? For some women, they know in advance which color they want, but for others the decision isn’t so easy. Believe it or not, some diamonds and gemstones look better in yellow gold, and others look better in white gold. Also, you want to be sure the gold you choose works with your skin tone. Ultimately, you should pick yellow gold or white gold because you love it. It can boil down to personal taste, and you should always go with the one that appeals the most to you.
If you prefer the look of white gold, you may need to decide between it and platinum to get the ring that most closely suits your lifestyle. As mentioned earlier, white gold can wear down and needs occasional re-plating. But because it is so soft, scratches to both white and yellow gold can easily be polished out.
Since platinum is so hard, it doesn’t scratch like gold but it can get pits, which can be very noticeable and can create a patina – a dull, uneven appearance. Pits in platinum can be polished out by a jeweler, but polishing platinum is much more difficult than polishing gold. Keep in mind too that the weight of platinum may or may not be desirable to the wearer – some women like the feel of platinum’s heaviness, while others do not. Weight should be a major consideration in which precious metal to choose for your diamond engagement ring and wedding band.
Regardless of whether you choose gold or platinum, either metal will provide you with a beautiful diamond engagement ring and wedding band that can last you a lifetime with just a bit of maintenance along the way. Have fun choosing the beautiful diamond engagement ring and wedding band you’ve always dreamed of, and you will enjoy them for a lifetime.