We’ve heard that platinum is one of the best precious metals to choose for your jewelry, but what are the reasons this material is held in such high esteem? Platinum is very rare and is therefore one of the most expensive metals used in jewelry. While the hefty price tag can be considered a negative, let’s see what the advantages of platinum are and how it compares with other metals.
What Are the Pros of Platinum?
One of the defining characteristics of platinum is that it is a very pure material. The platinum used in jewelry is usually between 95% and 99% pure. But why does purity matter? Read on.
Due to its purity, platinum can be worn without causing allergic reactions.
While 10-karat or 14-karat yellow gold can cause skin irritation in people allergic to nickel, which is often contained in gold alloys, there are no such problems with platinum.
Platinum is one of the most durable materials your jewelry can be made of.
While yellow gold, for example, is softer and wears down with time, platinum lasts a lot longer without showing signs of significant wear.
For this reason, rings made of platinum need to be fixed less frequently over time, and their prongs do not wear, break or bend easily, making your gemstones a lot safer in a platinum setting.
Because of its durability, platinum is not as easy to scratch as softer metals and alloys (it does scratch, but much harder).
That’s why you won’t need to have your platinum jewelry polished nearly as often as your yellow or white gold pieces.
Platinum vs. White Gold
Although platinum and white gold share the same color, it’s not like picking one over the other wouldn’t make a difference.
First of all, unlike platinum, which is pure, white gold is just yellow gold mixed with white metals and covered with rhodium.
However, this rhodium plating wears off with time, exposing the more yellowish layer beneath. When this happens, your white gold jewelry will need to be re-plated – a service that can cost a good amount of money.
With platinum, however, you won’t have such problems as it doesn’t have any plating.
Platinum vs. Yellow Gold
The most visible difference between platinum and yellow gold is the color, which makes each of these metals suitable for different gemstones and outfits.
However, the most important advantage of platinum is that it is not as soft as yellow gold, which scratches and bends more easily.
The durability of platinum makes it a good choice for jewelry that you will wear every day.
Yellow gold, on the other hand, is more suitable for pieces that you will wear less often, especially if the gold is a higher karat and therefore softer.
If you are looking for a metal to set colorless diamonds in, platinum is a better choice, hands down.
Yellow gold causes any diamond mounted in it to look a bit yellowish, so while this metal is a good choice for slightly tinted diamonds of lower color grades, it does not provide the best setting if you want to show off your colorless brilliant.
Platinum vs. Silver
Compared with platinum, silver is a softer and less durable metal.
Therefore, if you are looking for a piece that you will wear often and want it to last longer, platinum is the clear winner.
Another problem with silver is that it tarnishes with time and you need to clean your silver pieces more often.
However, silver’s redeeming quality is that it is much more affordable than platinum.
Platinum vs. Tungsten
Although tungsten has a similar color to platinum, its main advantage is that it is a lot cheaper.
Tungsten also doesn’t scratch as easily as platinum.
The problem with tungsten is that it is very hard to cut, and for this reason, tungsten rings cannot be resized as easily as platinum ones.
Also, unlike platinum, tungsten cannot be engraved unless laser is used.
Platinum vs. Titanium
Titanium and platinum look alike and are both safe to wear for people with allergies, but titanium is the more affordable option.
Titanium is also a lot more durable than platinum and is very hard to bend or scratch. However, once scratched, platinum is easier to polish.
Titanium is often preferred because it is a lot lighter. You should you keep in mind, however, that like rings made of tungsten, titanium rings are also hard to resize.
Platinum vs. Palladium
Palladium is very similar to platinum in terms of color and durability. Both metals are also hypoallergenic.
Not surprisingly, though, palladium is cheaper than platinum.
Apart from the lower price, the other main advantage of palladium is that it weighs less.