Platinum is a favorite for engagement rings for its durability and hypoallergenic nature. As one of the rarest of precious metals, platinum has had an enduring and sought after presence in jewelry design. If you’re curious about platinum being the right choice for you, read on for everything you need to know about platinum and platinum engagement rings.
Guide to Platinum Engagement Rings
What is Platinum Made Of?
A natural silvery-white metal, platinum first started to be used in jewelry in the early part of the 20th century. A specially devised torch allowed for platinum to be melted down so it could be used for making jewelry. However, jewelry is rarely ever made of pure platinum since it’s too hard to work with in that form.
Platinum is most often alloyed with another metal, usually palladium and sometimes ruthenium. Palladium is slightly harder than platinum so it helps make the platinum alloy more scratch-resistant since platinum can be prone to scratches. Palladium is a bit darker in its natural form and lacks the luster of platinum, but the small amount used to make platinum doesn’t affect the overall look of the alloy.
Typically, the composition is 95% platinum with 5% alloy metal – a very high level of purity. A platinum engagement ring should carry a mark to indicate its composition. If the ring is not marked 950, it’s likely that the ring has less than 50% platinum, or possibly none at all. The purity level may also be recognizable in the heft of the ring – platinum is a denser metal, so it feels heavier than other metals, especially when compared with gold.
Is Platinum a Good Choice for an Engagement Ring?
Platinum is a wonderful, durable, and beautiful choice for an engagement ring, not to mention that it’s naturally hypoallergenic. If the luxurious look of a crisp, silvery luster in the metal of your engagement ring is appealing, then platinum is a great way to go. But just as with any choice of metal, platinum can have some drawbacks to consider.
Due to its rarity and the high level of purity used in engagement rings, platinum will likely always be the more expensive metal option. When considering the same setting, the platinum version will on average be $500 to $800 more than a 14K white gold version, and on average $300 to $500 more than the 18K white gold version.
As mentioned before, platinum is also a heavier metal. If you’re thinking of a thicker band or some intricate metalwork in the setting, platinum may have a noticeably heavier feel. Also, while none of the metal is lost when the ring gets scratched, platinum will definitely still scratch. You’ll need a professional jeweler to clean, buff and polish the ring back to its original luster.
Platinum vs. White Gold for Engagement Rings
Why Choose Platinum for an Engagement Ring?
A big reason that people turn to platinum engagement rings is because they are hypoallergenic. People commonly have reactions to the alloy metal nickel that is used in white gold engagement rings, so platinum is a great, safe option. When you add to that the incredible durability and strength of platinum, it becomes a wonderful choice. This is especially helpful if you’re considering a larger center stone that would benefit from a stronger setting.
Platinum also acquires a unique quality to its look as it ages. As a result of the miniscule scratches reacting with light, platinum will gradually appear to have more of a matte texture and darker appearance. This is known as patina. Some people love this look for the character it adds while others choose to restore the platinum’s original luster with visits to a jeweler for cleaning and polishing.
Trends & Designing with Platinum
The neutral, silvery-white hue of platinum is the perfect complement to all types of skin tones. Platinum is a cool tone and a classy, luxurious metal that can be flattering during all seasons and with all color palettes when it comes to clothing. And it’s an excellent pairing with diamonds and colored gemstones alike, enhancing their best features.
One of the great features of platinum is its strength and durability. These characteristics make platinum very pliable and easy to work with to create intricate pieces of metal handiwork from skilled jewelers. Vintage-inspired pieces are especially popular being cast in platinum for this very reason. Additional embellishments of filigree, milgrain or twisted and patchwork designs are a hallmark of platinum pieces from earlier eras.
The solitaire platinum engagement ring is a standout design choice that is always trending and will never not be classic and timeless. Whether the solitaire engagement ring harkens back to eras past or incorporates a sleek and modern appeal, platinum is always a great choice for a simple or elaborate solitaire style.
If you’re considering a gemstone other than diamond, platinum is an ideal choice for its strength. Other gemstones will be softer than diamond and more vulnerable to scratches, chips or breaking. Setting them in platinum, especially the prongs, will give them a superior strength and durability when compared to setting them in gold.