Gold vs. Platinum Jewelry
At a Glance
Platinum jewelry outshines gold in terms of its rarity, purity and durability. Unfortunately, it’s also significantly more expensive and can easily be mistaken for silver or white gold.
Jewelry is worn to enhance status or beauty. It also distinguishes the wearer from the crowd. Although the values of gold and platinum have spiraled out of control in recent years, they remain the two most popular materials for jewelry due to their beauty, rarity and high status appeal. Although choosing gold vs. platinum jewelry is largely a matter of budget and personal preference, there are still a few qualities that distinguish one from the other. If you’re stuck with a decision of gold vs. platinum for your next jewelry purchase, we hope this guide will make the decision an easier one.
Platinum is the more scarcely available than gold. From ten tons of platinum ore only one ounce of pure platinum is obtained (after the refinement and purification process). The rarity of the metal makes it more precious. In comparison gold is more abundant in nature. However, it must be said that those who aren’t in the know can easily mistake platinum for white gold or silver. Gold, on the other hand, is unmistakable. As a status symbol, therefore, it may be said that gold jewelry is likely to turn more heads than platinum jewelry.
Pictured at top: Comfort Fit Platinum Wedding Band
Platinum is very soft in its metal form. It therefore needs to be mixed with other precious metals to be converted into jewelry form. The metals used for the purpose are iridium and ruthenium. The combination makes the platinum jewelry around 95 % pure. Gold, on the other hand, generally isn’t available in jewelry form at a purity above 18 karat (75 percent pure). More commonly, gold jewelry is available at a purity of 14 karat or less. The gold karat scale is out of a maximum of 24 parts, so you can divide the karat of gold jewelry by 24 to determine its purity. At higher purity, gold jewelry scratches and dents easily.
Platinum is slightly more dense than gold. This can mean that, in addition to costing more than gold at the same weight, a piece of platinum jewelry weighing the same as a gold piece may be slightly smaller.
Strength and Durability
Platinum jewelry is considered stronger and more durable than gold jewelry. During the time in which you own it, platinum jewelry is likely to require less refinishing and polishing. This is especially true in comparison with white gold, which is actually yellow gold with a thin plating of rhodium. A white gold ring needs to be plated periodically with rhodium to maintain its appearance, while platinum jewelry does not require this service.
At the time of writing, gold costs about 5 percent less per Troy ounce compared to platinum. This difference is compounded when you consider the fact that nearly half of some gold jewelry is actually some other metal mixed in an alloy, while platinum jewelry tends to be nearly pure. In addition, some jewelers consider platinum more difficult to work with, which can add to the labor cost — especially when ordering custom-made jewelry.