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Best Choice for Engagement Ring: Platinum vs. 18-Karat Gold

18 karat gold, gold, platinum, white gold
2/16/2021
Best Choice for Engagement Ring: Platinum vs. 18-Karat Gold

The search for the ideal engagement ring doesn’t end when you find the right diamond. You also need to decide on the band on which the stone is set. The most popular metals for engagement rings, gold and platinum each offer compelling benefits and distinctive drawbacks. Let's look at how platinum and gold compare in appearance, durability, cost and comfort.

Appearance

Color is the primary distinguishing physical characteristic between platinum and gold. While the latter is naturally yellow, the former is naturally white. If you prefer a yellow ring, gold will always be the best option. If you want a white ring, on the other hand, you can choose platinum or white gold.

Composed of gold, alloys and a rhodium plating, white gold looks very similar to platinum. 18k yellow gold and 18k white gold have the same gold content and purity, but the alloys used in white gold (and the rhodium plating) give it a lustrous white appearance, while the alloys used in yellow gold do not.

While it looks quite similar to platinum, white gold’s rhodium plating will wear and turn yellowish over time. Once you re-plate and re-polish a white gold ring, it will regain its white appearance. Platinum, on the other hand, is naturally white, meaning it will never fade to yellow. 

Cost

While platinum and gold are similar in price per gram, it takes more platinum to make a ring because the metal is denser. Platinum rings are also usually 95% pure platinum, while 18k gold is only 75% gold. Therefore, platinum rings are usually more expensive.

Since platinum is the densest and most durable metal, it shouldn't be too surprising that it is also the most expensive. About 20% denser than white and yellow gold, platinum can be two-and-a-half to five times more expensive than gold. Since it's less malleable, platinum is harder to mold, so the cost of labor that goes into shaping a piece increases.

Durability

Although platinum and gold are both strong precious metals, platinum is the more durable of the two. The prongs holding the center gemstone of a platinum ring are much less likely to break compared to those of a gold engagement ring. 

Despite being more durable, however, platinum will get scratched easier than gold. That said, when platinum is scratched, the color shifts within the ring, generating what is known as a patina finish. In many cultures, this is a beautiful occurrence viewed as a symbol of how long you and your partner have been together. In the United States, opinions differ from person to person, but many people love and embrace the platinum patina. Whatever the case, re-polishing your ring will help restore it to near its original look for both gold and platinum.

Platinum vs. Gold: Which is Best?

While both types of precious metals are beautiful, each has its own distinctive benefits, including: 

Platinum

  • More hypoallergenic
  • Requires less repolishing
  • More durable 
  • Naturally white without plating
  • More valuable than gold

Gold

  • Slightly shinier
  • Less expensive than platinum
  • Lighter and more comfortable
  • The most popular metal choice for rings

When it comes to choosing between platinum and gold, personal preference plays a big role. At the same time, 18K white gold might be the better choice if you are on a budget and want to maximize other aspects of your engagement ring. For instance, you could put the extra money toward a better diamond or a more intricate setting. 

couple getting engaged

If, however, you or your partner have a preference for platinum, there is good reason to embrace the metal. After all, a gold ring is generally a less valuable commodity than a platinum ring because of its lesser purity. Even though the absolute raw value of platinum and pure gold are almost equal, lesser purity dictates lesser value to a large extent.

With all that said, platinum isn't necessarily better than gold — it's all about your personal preferences and priorities.

At John Atencio, our experts can help you choose the one perfect engagement ring for your special someone. Visit one of our locations and let our attentive experts guide you toward a breathtaking symbol for your one-of-a-kind love story.