Is Platinum Better Than Gold?

A common question jewelers are asked is “Is platinum better than gold?”. In all honesty, there is no right answer, because it all depends on what you’re looking for, what your budget is, and whether or not you’re happy to regularly maintain your jewelry.

Both gold and platinum are precious metals that are regularly used to make beautiful pieces of jewelry such as diamond engagement rings, diamond bracelets and earrings.

In its natural form, yellow gold has that distinct yellow/golden color that makes it so appealing. However, white gold is also an increasingly popular choice. White gold is created by mixing gold with white metals such as silver or nickel, and is coated in rhodium. As a result, it takes on a very different appearance from the traditional yellow.

How do platinum and gold differ?

9 minute video discussing the differences of platinum and gold in detail.


Platinum and white gold have a very similar look, so to the average consumer they’re almost indistinguishable. However, there are some key differences that may sway your decision as to which is better.

Strength

While both gold and platinum are strong, platinum is harder. Platinum is denser than gold, which means it’s more durable, and is less likely to break. That means there’s a smaller risk of you losing any of the precious metal.

Gemological Institute of America (GIA) emphasizes that platinum is “an excellent choice for engagement and wedding rings. Because platinum is strong and less brittle than gold alloy, platinum prongs are less likely to break so it is ideal for setting diamonds”. This makes it a fantastic choice for those who prioritize longevity and resistance to everyday wear and tear.

Softness

Platinum may be stronger than gold, but ironically it is also softer – that means platinum is more likely to scratch or become damaged on the surface. It’s possible to rectify this damage with polishing.

On saying that, the higher the karat of the gold is, the more likely it is to scratch in a similar way to platinum.

Allergies

It’s quite rare for somebody to be allergic to either gold or platinum. However, allergies to other metals often mixed with gold are quite common, such as nickel. As a result, thanks to its purity platinum is a much more hypoallergenic metal.

A study of over 4,000 people by the North American Contact Dermatitis Group indicates that almost 10% of individuals may be allergic to gold, with more women testing positive than men. Hypersensitivity to gold is statistically linked to female gender and to allergic reactions to nickel and cobalt.

Maintenance

White gold and rose gold can change over time, and lose their shine as they become yellowed. In order to return them to their full glory, you’ll occasionally need to have your jewelry professionally polished and replated.

With platinum you’re far more likely to get good results by cleaning your jewelry at home. If lower maintenance is important to you, then you may prefer platinum. This is ideal when it comes to extra special purchases, such as diamond engagement rings, which you won’t want to part with.

Is platinum more valuable than gold?

Platinum is generally valued higher than gold. This is because platinum is rarer than gold, has a higher density and is purer. Platinum rings require more platinum than gold rings require gold, which can increase the overall cost.

While gold can increase in value the higher the karat, platinum is almost always worth more than gold.

Does platinum make a good investment?

Like gold, platinum is thought to be a worthy investment, as you’re highly unlikely to make any kind of loss. However, it isn’t completely risk-free. As with anything, the price can fluctuate depending on demand.

However, the demand for platinum is only increasing, so there’s money to be made by savvy investors.

The price of platinum doesn’t affect the price of gold, and vice versa. Because of that, investors are recommended to have a diverse portfolio of investments across gold, platinum and silver.

What is so special about platinum?

Around 1,500 tons of gold are mined every year, while only 150 tons of platinum are mined annually. That makes platinum much rarer than gold, and is another reason why it’s valued more highly.

Gold is found in multiple regions worldwide, whereas platinum is predominantly found in South Africa, with 75% of the world’s platinum mined in the region, along with Zimbabwe and Russia. Platinum has even been found in meteorites.

Is platinum as shiny as white gold?

Platinum is exceptionally shiny, as is white gold when it’s new. However, as we’ve already highlighted above, white gold does have a tendency to discolor quickly. Because platinum is naturally white, it never discolors.

This means it’s much easier to polish platinum, and it doesn’t need to be replated, unlike white gold.

When new, both white gold and platinum are hard to tell apart. Only when worn for some time will it become apparent what is white gold and what is platinum.

Why should you buy platinum?

It’s down to personal preference, but there are a number of key reasons why you might buy platinum over white gold:

  • The prestige
  • The rarity
  • The purity
  • Easy and inexpensive to maintain
  • More hypoallergenic
  • Low risk for investors

Gold has a longstanding tradition associated with jewelry, and with good reason thanks to its beauty and prestige. However, platinum does have that extra level of durability and status, making it just that little bit more appealing for some consumers.

Platinum as a Setting for Diamonds and Gemstones

  • Durability: Platinum’s density and strength make it an excellent choice for securing diamonds and gemstones. Its durability means that prongs made from platinum are less likely to break or wear down over time compared to those made from gold.
  • Malleability: Despite its strength, platinum is also highly malleable, allowing for precise and secure settings that can be finely crafted to hold stones securely in place.
  • Security: The durability and malleability of platinum contribute to a more secure setting for precious stones. Jewelers can create tighter, more secure settings that protect stones from falling out.
  • Maintenance: Over time, platinum’s setting does not thin out as quickly as gold’s, especially with high-karat gold, which is softer. This means that settings in platinum require less maintenance to ensure that stones remain secure.

Gold as a Setting for Diamonds and Gemstones

  • Softness with High Karat: Higher karat gold is softer and more prone to bending and wear over time. This can potentially lead to loosening of the settings, especially if the jewelry is subjected to regular wear and tear.
  • Maintenance and Durability: Gold settings, especially in higher karats, may require more frequent checks and maintenance to ensure the stones remain securely in place. However, lower karat gold (such as 14K or 18K) is mixed with other metals to increase its strength and can also provide a secure setting, though not as durable as platinum.
  • White Gold Considerations: White gold is often used for its platinum-like appearance but requires rhodium plating to maintain its color. This does not directly affect the security of the stone setting but is a maintenance consideration for the overall appearance of the jewelry.

Conclusion

Platinum is generally considered a safer option for holding diamonds and gemstones due to its superior strength, durability, and resistance to wear. It allows for secure settings that require less maintenance over time to keep stones safely in place. While gold can also securely hold stones, especially in lower karats mixed with other metals for strength, it may require more maintenance to ensure the longevity of the setting. The choice between platinum and gold for gemstone settings will also depend on personal preferences, including considerations of aesthetics, budget, and wearability.

Looking for a platinum & Gold ring?

Take a look at our diamond engagement rings, and discover how you can custom order your desired metal. Platinum, 14K or 18K, we make them all.