Platinum is one of the most popular and valued metals for engagement and wedding rings. There are many reasons for this –
- Platinum has been a popular and sought-after jewelry metal for centuries and is extremely rare
- Platinum is a highly durable and long-lasting metal, much more so than many of its competitors such as gold, silver or palladium.
- Platinum is also hypoallergenic which is a great plus in jewelry-making since a lot of people are allergic to the copper or nickel that’s often part of the different gold alloys used in jewelry.
Add to that its beautiful grayish-white color, its long-lasting luster, and its strength, and it becomes quite obvious why platinum is so popular.
In this buying guide, let’s delve a bit deeper into the characteristics of this metal and see whether platinum is the right material for your future engagement ring or wedding band.
- The Platinum Alloy Used in Jewelry
- Platinum Engagement and Wedding Rings
- Platinum Color
- Durability and Longevity
- Platinum Value and Price
- Care and Maintenance
- Platinum Rings vs. Other Popular White Metals
- Should I Buy a Platinum Ring?
The Platinum Alloy Used in Jewelry
Polished, reflective platinum wedding band by James Allen. See it here.
Like most other metals, the platinum that’s used in jewelry is not 100% pure. Instead, several different metals are added to the platinum base in order to make it more malleable and workable. That’s because pure platinum is difficult to shape into intricate designs as it’s not workable.
Compared to gold alloys, however, platinum alloys contain higher purity. Anything with less than 80% platinum content is not considered “platinum” in jewelry and most alloys have purity somewhere between 85% and 95%. Compare this to 14K gold which is only 58% pure gold or 18K gold which is only 75%.
The other metals that make up the remaining 5% to 15% in a platinum alloy are usually palladium, ruthenium, copper, rhodium, titanium or iridium. Of those, the most popular ones tend to be palladium and ruthenium as they work best in softening the platinum and also complement its color.
Note: While platinum is hypoallergenic, copper can cause reactions in people with copper sensitivity. A platinum alloy with a significant presence of copper in it may still cause skin irritations and allergic reactions. However, this is highly unlikely as the presence of copper will usually be very small since too much copper would interfere with the platinum’s color.
Platinum Engagement and Wedding Rings
As one of the most popular options, platinum rings come in many designs and styles to suit all tastes. The metal’s workability means that it can be designed to feature a wide range of finishes, and can pair well with other gemstones and metals.
Platinum and diamonds make the perfect combination, as the cool tones of the metal complements the colorlessness of the diamonds. This combination is a favorite for eternity wedding bands and for men’s diamond wedding rings.
Men’s platinum wedding band with diamonds. See it here.
In terms of wedding ring finishes, some popular styles include matte, brushed, hammered, textured and satin to name a few. You will also come across more unique finishes like this blackened moon rock patterned wedding band for someone who wants an offbeat wedding ring.
Blackened moon rock pattern wedding band. Check price here.
In terms of engagement rings, platinum makes an excellent choice if you’re looking for a white metal. It’s durable for daily use and complements a center diamond beautifully.
Speaking of color, one of the defining features of platinum is its captivating white color. Increasingly popular in the last several decades, the grayish-white color of platinum is a very modern and popular choice and is steadily pushing yellow and rose gold further into the “vintage” and “classic” categories.
Men and women alike tend to prefer platinum as its contemporary color and feel fits a lot of modern styles. Platinum’s luster is also very rich and long-lasting even with minimal maintenance.
Durability and Longevity
Brushed inlay platinum wedding band. See it here.
Platinum’s hardness and durability are among its biggest advantages compared to its alternatives. Much harder and more durable than gold, palladium, and silver, and more malleable than titanium and tungsten, platinum exists in the perfect area of excellent sturdiness and durability while still not being impractically hard.
This means that platinum is very resistant to scratches but can still be easily polished or resized if need be. One of the best qualities of platinum is that when it does get scratched, it doesn’t’ actually lose any of its volume. When most other metals get scratched, tiny chips of them break off – not with platinum. Instead, when it gets scratched, platinum dents but retains its mass.
Furthermore, platinum is also corrosion-resistant and even though it can develop a layer of patina over time, if the wearer dislikes that, it can also be fixed with a quick polish.
This impressive durability of platinum makes it a very long-lasting material that is ideal for engagement and wedding rings. Not only can you rest assured that your platinum engagement ring will last “until death do you part” but it will also remain in great quality as a family heirloom for the next generation.
Platinum Value and Price
All these excellent qualities coupled with the metals natural rarity make platinum a highly valuable and quite pricy metal – much more so than even gold. Platinum is so scarce in the Earth’s crust that only a few hundred tons of it are produced per year. As with any other type of product, the high demand and low supply naturally result in a hefty price.
Most platinum jewelry tends to cost at least 4 digits with very plain and thin platinum wedding bands sometimes dropping to $300-400 apiece. More often, however, the lowest price for a sizable platinum ring with diamonds will be around $1,000 to $1,500. Of course, this all depends on the design and style of the ring as well as the brand.
The good thing about all this is that platinum can still fit different budgets even though it’s so valuable and pricy.
Care and Maintenance
Naturally, with its amazing durability, platinum is much easier to take care of than most other metals. While you need to take off your silver of gold ring almost every time you’re about to do some housework or lift something, with a platinum ring you can be much more carefree.
Note that the ring design plays an important part here. For example, a shiny, polished platinum ring will show more scratches over time than one with a matte or brushed finish. If the ring does look scratched or worn, you can take it to a professional to have it polished and remove the little dents that make up the patina.
Still, even platinum can get scratched every once in a while, so it’s smart to take it off when you’re about to engage in physical labor or sports.
As far as storing is concerned, list most other types of jewelry, it’s best to keep platinum in a separate container or a cloth pouch. However, unlike with most other metals and gemstones, with platinum, this should mostly be done to keep your other jewelry safe from the platinum jewelry. A normal platinum ring can very easily scratch a gold ring or a precious gemstone if it hits it accidentally.
Washing a platinum ring is also easier than washing other jewelry materials thanks to its durability and lack of an artificial plating. Warm soapy water is usually enough so there’s no reason to risk with strong detergents.
Platinum Rings vs. Other Popular White Metals
With platinum’s rise in popularity, more and more materials are used as its alternatives. This is understandable given the high price and low supply of platinum, however, no metals are created equal and there are significant differences between platinum and it’s most common alternatives. Let’s examine some of the more popular ones:
1- Platinum rings vs. white gold rings
Here’s the platinum version. Notice the difference in price.
White gold is an alloy of natural yellow gold with metals such as silver, palladium, manganese, and nickel. It’s much softer than platinum and it also usually has a thin rhodium plating on its surface to give it its silvery-white color. White gold is less durable, not hypoallergenic, and requires more care, as well as more frequent maintenance for its rhodium plating. All this comes at a lower price than platinum.
2- Platinum rings vs. palladium rings
Organic looking palladium wedding rings by ES Designs. Check price here.
Palladium is very similar to platinum in a lot of ways even though it’s much less known. Palladium has almost the same color as platinum and even though platinum is technically “whiter”, that’s usually not noticeable with a naked eye.
Both metals are similarly strong and durable with palladium being slightly harder than platinum. Both metals are scratch-resistant and corrosion-resistant, and both of them develop a layer of patina over time.
Price-wise, palladium is traditionally cheaper than platinum and is usually half its cost. However, as of October-November 2019, palladium’s cost seems to have spiked in most markets and it’s actually more expensive than platinum at the moment!
3- Platinum rings vs. silver rings
Sterling silver wedding band by Rebecca Cordingley. Check price here.
Silver is significantly cheaper than platinum even though it’s considered a precious metal as well. It’s softer and less durable than platinum, and it tends to tarnish and turn dark over time. With the proper care it too can last for decades but said care is much more than what platinum requires. Silver is hypoallergenic, similarly to platinum, but it often has zinc or nickel in its alloy as these are meant to give it hardness and durability – and, unfortunately, both zinc and nickel can cause skin irritations and allergic reactions.
Should I Buy a Platinum Ring?
Here’s what some real brides have said about platinum engagement and wedding bands:
Ayra: I’ve had a platinum engagement ring for over 3 years and haven’t seen any scratching on it yet but my husband’s 14K white gold ring is already super scratched after just one year. We’re going to order it in platinum soon.
Selena: Over time, I noticed that the shine on my platinum rings softened but they don’t look scratched. They’re so easy to look after. I don’t think I’ll have to polish them for several more years.
Ramesh: I really like the patina on my ring because it gives the ring a vintage, worn look. I prefer that to the overly bright white of white gold.
There are many opinions about platinum, mainly centered around its durability, patina and price. In our opinion, if budget is a concern, we suggest sticking to white gold as it can be several hundred dollars less expensive than platinum. But if you’re after the most prestigious metal and don’t mind a patina over time, then go for platinum.