The Difference Between Gold and Platinum
Gold and platinum are both among the most precious metals widely used in the jewelry industry. Gold is the classic material known for millennia, and platinum excels in durability and density. OroSpot features an extensive selection of gold and platinum jewelry, and we encourage you to learn more about both metals and their applications, so you can make the best decision about this significant purchase. Let us help! Gold vs.
Platinum is considered the most precious metal, because it is much more scarce and more enduring than gold. Annually, only about 130 tons of platinum are mined, which is between 5 and 6 percent of the annual mine production of gold.
Unlike gold, platinum is a naturally white metal, with a cool grey tone, and does not need to be alloyed for color (although it is alloyed with small amounts of ruthenium, iridium or cobalt to reach the hardness desired for jewelry making). Pure gold is yellow and it is alloyed with copper, silver and zinc for durability, and white gold is achieved by mixing gold with whitening alloys, such as nickel or palladium, and by plating the surface with a very hard, white metal – rhodium. Platinum jewelry does not require plating. Both platinum and gold will not tarnish, but platinum will keep its luster longer, with little maintenance.
Gold’s purity is represented by karats, with 24 karat being pure gold. Most gold jewelry sold in the United States is either 18 karat (75 percent pure gold) or 14 karat (about 58 percent pure gold). Platinum jewelry, on the other hand, is 90 to 95 percent pure platinum, and is graded by a sterling number that represents parts per thousand of pure platinum (900 sterling or 950 sterling). OroSpot offers jewelry made of platinum 950.
Platinum is more resistant to damage than gold. It does not crack or corrode, and it doesn’t wear away, even after many years. For example, after years of wear, a gold wedding band will gradually wear down and become thinner – but platinum will not. Like all precious metals, platinum can be scratched. When a platinum ring is scratched, the metal is merely displaced, but there is no loss of volume, so the tiny scratches do not remove platinum from the ring. It just requires some quick polishing to restore its original appearance. Scratched gold, on the other hand, loses little slivers that need to be replaced during polishing. When force is applied, platinum moves rather than breaks, unlike gold, which is more brittle and can break after repeated force.
Platinum is heavier and denser than gold. Although rhodium-plated white gold and platinum jewelry might look identical to the casual eye, there is a noticeable difference in weight, especially on larger pieces. For example, a wedding band made from platinum will be about 1/3 heavier than an 18 karat white gold band.
Because of its rarity, purity and weight, platinum is usually more expensive than gold. In times of economic uncertainty the price of platinum might decrease due to reduced industrial demand, and even temporarily fall below the price of gold; but during periods of economic stability, the price of platinum tends to be as much as twice the price of gold. The higher cost of platinum jewelry is also due to the fact that it is much more labor intensive and more complicated to work with than gold. Approximately 10 tons of ore must be mined to make up one single ounce of platinum, and the total extraction process takes about six months to produce pure platinum. Only then can skilled hands transform platinum into pieces of jewelry. Platinum smiths work with different tools than goldsmiths, because platinum melts at a much higher temperature (3,215°F) than gold (1,948°F). The higher melting temperature makes platinum harder to cast.
Platinum might be a higher investment initially, but when comparing cost, keep in mind that platinum requires less maintenance than gold over time, and it is an ideal choice for long-term daily wear. If platinum does not fit your budget, consider 18 karat white gold as a more affordable alternative. Whether you choose gold or platinum, you can be sure that they will both make great settings for your rings. OroSpot invites you to browse our impressive collections of platinum and gold jewelry to find that perfect piece at the perfect price!