BRIDES and their grooms are increasingly turning to platinum for their wedding and engagement rings, says Christopher Evans, a leading Cheshire jeweller and goldsmith
But why? We thought we’d take a closer look and compare how gold and platinum measure up in terms of appearance, cost, durability and comfort.
The main difference between the two metals is, of course, the colour. While platinum is naturally white, gold is naturally yellow. However, white gold is proving to be more popular than yellow gold for wedding and engagement rings and that’s possibly because brides want to achieve the look of platinum at a lighter price.
White gold rings are composed of gold, alloys, and a rhodium plating which gives it a white look that’s very similar to platinum. 18karat white gold and 18karat yellow gold have the same gold content and purity – 75% gold – but the alloys in white gold and the rhodium plating make it appear white.
While white gold looks very similar to platinum, over time, the rhodium plating in white gold will wear off and fade to a creamy tinge. Re-plating will be required to restore the white gold finish. Platinum, however, is naturally white and will not lose its colour over time, and all it takes to restore it to its former glory is a polish.
While gold and platinum are similar in price per gram, platinum is more dense and so more of it is required to make a ring. Additionally, platinum rings are usually 95% pure platinum, while 18 karat gold is 75% gold. Therefore, platinum rings are more expensive.
Platinum is stronger and more durable than gold and 18karat gold will scratch more easily. However, both gold and platinum will develop their own patina over time which gives it an ‘antique’ look.
“It’s a finish that many of our customers really like,” says Christopher Evans. “Alternatively, it’s a simple job to re-polish platinum rings to restore their original look.”
The ‘matt’ finish of white gold without a rhodium plating is popular with grooms when choosing a wedding ring.
The patina finish is an effect that can also be gained if the rhodium plate isn’t applied to a white gold ring. And it’s a finish that’s very popular with grooms for their wedding rings.
Finally, the comfort factor! Because platinum is more dense than gold, platinum rings will be heavier than gold.
“Some of our clients prefer the heavier weight, but some find the lightness of gold rings to be more comfortable,” says Christopher Evans. “It’s really up to the individual.”
One more benefit of platinum is that it is hypoallergenic. While most people can wear gold without any adverse effects, the nickel alloy used in gold rings can produce an allergic reaction in a minority of people. Although it’s worth knowing that the use of nickel alloy is being phased out by some gold refiners.
“For those who want something a little more different than either platinum or gold, there’s also palladium” adds Christopher. “Palladium is naturally white in colour, like platinum, but is less costly than platinum and closer in price to 18karat gold. It is also hypoallergenic.”