If you’re leaning towards a silver hue as the color of your future engagement or wedding ring, platinum and titanium are two excellent metals to look at.
And for good reasons:
Both platinum and titanium are great choices for this type of jewelry as they have a stylish, contemporary color, they fit with many different styles and they are both durable for daily wear.
While there are a lot of similarities between these two metals there are also quite a few differences that distinguish them. Here’s a look at the similarities and differences between platinum and titanium and which is the better option for your rings.
What Is Platinum?
One of the most famous precious metals on the planet, platinum has been used in jewelry for millennia. Platinum is valued more than gold due to its rarity and properties.
Platinum doesn’t tarnish, fade or corrode, and it’s very durable, as well as hypoallergenic. All of these qualities make it an excellent metal for most types of jewelry, including engagement and wedding rings. However, it can develop a patina over time which comes from the dents and scratches the ring acquires when exposed daily.
The platinum you’ll find in jewelry is an alloy, mixed with other metals such as palladium, copper, iridium and cobalt. The reason for this is simply to make the platinum more workable and malleable as it wouldn’t be suitable for certain more complex designs or gemstone settings otherwise.
Still, even with it being an alloy, most common platinum alloys in jewelry have a high purity of at least 85% to 95%.
What is Titanium?
Satin finished titanium wedding ring. See it here.
Titanium is one of several whitish metals that’s been actively used in jewelry in the last 20-30 years as a less expensive alternative of platinum. It was in the 90s that the platinum’s white became a popular choice for engagement and wedding rings but the high price of platinum was a problem for a lot of shoppers. Enter – titanium.
Titanium isn’t a new metal but it’s relatively new compared to platinum. It was discovered in 1791 and was named after the Titans of Greek mythology because of its incredible strength and durability.
Even though it was discovered relatively recently, titanium turned out to be quite abundant– it’s the 9th most commonly found metal in the Earth’s crust. For comparison – platinum ranks 78th in this regard, hence it’s steep price.
Matte black titanium wedding ring. See it here.
Titanium may be affordable, but it’s definitely not a metal that should be looked down upon. It has a very high strength-to-density which makes it exceptionally durable, it’s resistant to corrosion, it’s hypoallergenic and very hard to scratch or crack.
Most titanium alloys used in jewelry are a mix of 90% titanium and 10% aluminum and vanadium as without these two inclusions, titanium alone would be unworkable for jewelers.
The strength of titanium is both an advantage and a disadvantage, however, as it’s so hard that it’s near-impossible to resize, Even in an alloy, titanium is still too hard to shape into gemstone settings or certain fancy ring designs so for those elements, jewelers usually use other metals on top of the titanium base of the ring.
Titanium vs. Platinum
So, now that we’re familiar with our two contenders, which is better for your engagement or wedding rings? If we go by price alone it’s easy to reach the conclusion that platinum is much better and titanium is just its budget-friendly alternative. But this isn’t necessarily true.
Both platinum and titanium impress with their durability and are way ahead of some of their alternatives such as white gold and silver. Of the two, however, titanium is definitely the harder metal. It’s significantly harder to scratch a titanium ring than it is to scratch a ring made out of platinum.
Then again this is can be viewed as a positive for platinum as it’s hard enough to be scratch-resistant but it’s still soft enough to be easily fixed and polished if it does get scratched, deformed or develops a patina.
Titanium, on the other hand, is so hard that if it needs polishing or resizing you might as well get a new ring.
Appearance and Color
Both metals have pretty similar colors – so much so that most regular shoppers can find it hard to differentiate between the two with the naked eye. Both of them are naturally grayish and silver in color but can also be anodized into other colors – typically black. They can also be given a more satin finish and texture with the right polish.
Titanium retains its luster more easily throughout the years while platinum can develop a patina after a while. This can be polished off but it’s something to contend with.
Of course, platinum is considered much more valuable than titanium – as with the value of most other precious metals and gemstones, its rarity is the main driving factor of its high value. As we’ve shown, however, platinum is much more than just rare – it’s durability, corrosion- and scratch-resistance, and its long-lasting luster make it a valuable metal in and of itself. A nice platinum engagement or wedding ring is something that you’ll be able to pass down to the next generation in your family or to keep as an heirloom.
Titanium, on the other hand doesn’t have this value. It’s a much more affordable metal making it an excellent choice for a budget option. It’s not heirloom quality and not something that will hold a lot of value to turn into an heirloom.
To put this into perspective, compare these two rings:
The difference in price is over $1400!
Surprisingly, platinum and titanium are quite different in this regard – titanium is eerily lightweight, while platinum is much heavier and more solid. Which one you’d prefer is entirely subjective – some people like the lightweight feel of the titanium, which almost feels like you’re not wearing a ring.
On the other hand, the heavy feel of a platinum ring is a positive for some people who like the substantial feel of a heavier ring.
One major positive that both metals share is that they are hypoallergenic – unlike many other metals and alloys used in jewelry, both titanium and platinum are essentially guaranteed to not cause any skin irritations and allergies.
This sets them apart from most other jewelry metals which can cause skin reactions in a lot of people. Titanium, in particular, as the cheaper of the two metals, is even used for surgical implants and body jewelry because it is 100% bio-compatible with all people.
Jewelry applications and designs
Now that we’ve established what the major differences between the two metals are, let’s briefly examine what the differences between platinum rings and titanium rings are when used in jewelry.
Platinum comes in a wide range of designs and finishes. See this ring here.
Both metals are quite popular in engagement and wedding rings, however, platinum also has a lot of applications in other types of jewelry – necklaces, earrings, bracelets and more. Titanium is almost never seen in those types of jewelry because it’s not malleable enough to be crafted in complex designs – that’s why you’ll mostly see titanium in the rings section and not anywhere else.
Furthermore, titanium rings tend to be plainer in their design – no extravagant ornaments, no fanciful settings – this, too, is because of how hard the metal is. If you want a titanium ring with a pronounced gemstone setting or design, it will likely need to be done with an additional metal on top of the titanium base.
A rare couple titanium ring set by AnL Jewelry via Etsy. See it here.
Platinum, on the other hand, can be used for all types of designs and settings as it’s just workable enough to allow for them while still being hard and durable.
Women’s titanium ring by Romas Banaitis via Etsy. See it here.
Additionally, expect to find more men’s titanium rings than women’s rings. That’s likely due to several different factors – men prefer rings with plainer designs, they tend to like that titanium rings are easy to ignore on the hand, and they also usually appreciate the fact that titanium rings are extra-sturdy and durable which works well for certain professions. For women, on the other hand, the value of platinum is often the deciding factor.
Still, both metals are used for engagement and wedding rings for both men and women, so, whichever metal suits your needs and preferences more – go for it!