Gold vs Platinum: What's Best for a Ring?

You will probably wear that ring for a very long time, so you want it to be as beautiful to you in year ten as it was when you first received it. The stones and the setting of your ring are essential to its appearance, but so is the metal you choose. Gold and platinum are two precious metals that make gorgeous pieces of jewelry. 

Fine jewelry, like rings, is usually made of either gold or platinum. But which is best, or is there a 'best metal' for a ring? Gold is the default metal for making wedding and engagement rings, while platinum is a newer option. Here we'll discuss the properties of each metal, their benefits, and make a few linear comparisons to help you make an informed choice.   

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Gold: Its Properties and Benefits

Gold is a bright yellow precious metal. It is dense, malleable, and in its pure form, it is too soft to make jewelry. So, we combine (or alloy) it with other metals - usually silver, palladium, or copper. This mixing of alloys makes gold firmer and can alter its color. 

In its natural state, gold is found as nuggets, veins, in rocks, or in alluvial deposits. About 50% of the world's gold ends up as jewelry, with the rest in investments and industry. 

In jewelry, we describe pure gold as 24-carat, but many pieces are also made of 9 or 18-carat gold. This means that out of 24 (100% pure), a piece is made of 9 or 18 parts gold, which is 37.5% or 75% pure (respectively). 


  • Most popular
  • Easy for jewelry making
  • Difficult to tarnish

Platinum: Its Properties and Benefits

While platinum looks very much like silver, it is rarer and more precious. Platinum is about 30 times rarer than gold, even more dense, malleable, and, like gold, is too soft in its pure form for jewelry making. So, it is alloyed with other metals to make it harder and longer-wearing. One of the best properties of platinum is how resistant it is to wear and tarnish, making it perfect for fine jewelry. 

Platinum is more than a single metal. The 'platinum group' includes six metals - platinum, ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, iridium, and osmium. Interestingly, the other metals that platinum is alloyed with for making jewelry are usually others from the Platinum group. 

This noble metal has many applications and uses, including lab equipment, catalytic converters, and dentistry equipment, as well as jewelry.


  • Durable
  • Hypoallergenic
  • No plating is required for strength
  • Develops patina

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Gold vs. Platinum: The Look

The difference in the look of gold versus platinum is immediate. Gold is bright yellow, and platinum is a white metal. Of course, gold can also be white or rose-colored, so your choice of metal may not be straightforward. If you like the look of silvery-white jewelry, you still have a choice between gold and platinum. While white gold consists of other alloys, including rhodium (one of the platinum group), platinum is usually 95 - 98% pure. 

This rhodium plating that gives white gold its color will wear away over time, leaving your ring with a slightly duller, more yellowish appearance. It can be remedied by your jeweler to restore the bright white color or left to its new hue. Platinum, however, will never change its color.

For the less trained eye, it may be difficult to determine the difference between platinum and white gold. Both metals are polished to a lustrous finish, although, in either metal, you can also get a matte or satin finish. 

Gold vs. Platinum: Durability

Durability is one of the most striking differences between these two metals. While they are both malleable, platinum is less so than gold. This means that platinum is less susceptible to scratches and other damage over time, and it is easier to create delicate designs. Your setting in platinum is more secure than one in gold due to the differences in malleability.

The lack of malleability in platinum isn't all good news, though. It takes force to create a setting in platinum, which may damage softer gemstones like emeralds. If you really prefer gold but also want a durable metal, consider rose gold. The added copper content in rose gold significantly increases its durability.

If your platinum ring gets scratched, you can have it polished back to its former glory. This may not be the case for your gold ring.

Gold vs. Platinum: Maintenance

Jewelry is an investment, and ensuring that you can properly maintain your ring has to be a consideration when choosing the metal. Rings, in particular, are subject to regular contact with hard surfaces. This puts them in constant danger of being scratched or otherwise damaged. 

Over time, a gold ring may require reshaping or having the prongs re-tipped more than a platinum ring. Additionally, if your ring is white gold, the rhodium plating will eventually wear away, revealing a softer white color. As mentioned earlier, a jeweler can repolish and replate it to restore that initial bright white color. 

A platinum ring will require maintenance as well. Over time, your ring will accumulate many tiny scratches, creating a 'patina’ effect. It takes on a greyer, antique look which many people love, but if you prefer the brightly polished look it had at the beginning, a jeweler can restore this for you. Even if you have your platinum ring polished every few years to maintain that bright smooth look, you won't lose any of the metal. Unlike gold, which wears away every time it is polished. 

If you prefer jewelry that is low maintenance, then consider a platinum ring. Although it will develop little scratches over the years, they are easily dealt with or even left alone for an antique look.

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Gold vs. Platinum: Cost

As platinum is rarer, purer, and denser than gold, it makes sense that it costs more per gram than gold. So, platinum jewelry is more valuable (hence, more expensive) than gold jewelry.  

Taking together the above comparisons, we hope you can now decide which metal you prefer for your ring. 

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