Gold vs. Platinum Engagement Rings: Which is Better?

Selecting an engagement ring can be an overwhelming process because there are many decisions to make, from the design to the stone choice. One of these decisions that will shape the entire aesthetic of the ring is the metal choice, and two of the most popular options are gold and platinum. Both metals are excellent choices for this important purchase, but it’s important to note their individual characteristics in order to make an informed decision between the two. Before discussing their differences, let’s first review how gold and platinum are similar.

Are gold and platinum similar?

Both gold and platinum are precious metals that have a high shine, perfect for all types of jewelry. Because they are both easily shaped, it makes them ideal for intricate pieces of jewelry (without breaking), as long as it is done at the right temperature and by a practiced jeweler. Gold and platinum have symbolic meanings in many cultures and are associated with wealth and used to celebrate important life events. Both gold and platinum are durable metals that can hold up to everyday wear, which is essential for an engagement ring. That being said, platinum is typically considered to be a denser metal and less prone to scratching than gold. Pure gold is a very soft metal, so it is alloyed with other metals to make it stronger. Different karats of gold are known to be stronger than others, and we can discuss that in more depth later.  Platinum and pure 24 karat gold are hypoallergenic. Depending upon which alloy the gold is mixed with will determine if the gold is hypoallergenic. Having a hypoallergenic ring is very important for those with sensitive skin, as this ring will be worn on a daily basis. Both platinum and gold are relatively easy to work with, as an experienced jeweler and can offer versatility during the design process There aren’t many limitations on how intricate your design can be with these metals. 

Gold vs. platinum key differences

Although they have many similarities, gold and platinum also have important differences that must be considered before selecting one over the other. Now, let’s discuss the individual properties of both metals. 

First, gold.

Gold is a very versatile metal and is available in a variety of colors, such as yellow, white, green, and rose. This allows for customization during the design process and you can also mix and match colors to create the perfect look. Since gold has been utilized for centuries and is visible in ancient jewelry, it is considered to be a traditional choice. It also has some significance within specific cultures.

Gold in the most pure form (24kt) is a very soft metal, which is then alloyed with other metals in specific percentages in order to make different karats, popular ones being 10kt, 14kt, 18kt, and 22kt. The higher the karat, the softer the metal and also the more expensive. If you have a specific budget in mind, it’s possible to meet that by going with a lower karat gold, such as 10kt or 14kt; this can also allow you to put more money towards a center stone.

If you’re choosing gold, you may also want to know what metals it is being mixed with, since you’ll be wearing it daily. Here's how each color is typically achieved:

  1. Yellow Gold: Pure 24kt gold is naturally yellow in color. Yellow gold is made by mixing pure gold with metals like copper and silver. The proportions of pure gold and copper or silver vary depending upon the karat (10kt, 14kt, 18kt, etc) that is being made. The more pure gold, the more yellow the jewelry.
  1. White Gold: White gold is made by mixing pure 24kt gold with white metals such as nickel, palladium, or silver, and it is often plated with rhodium to give it that bright white appearance. Again, the percentages of pure gold and the alloying metals vary depending upon the karat being produced.
  1. Rose Gold: Rose gold is made by mixing pure 24kt gold with copper, which gives it that pink-ish hue. Depending on the desired shade, small amounts of other metals may also be added. Different  percentages of pure gold and the alloying metals are used depending upon the karat being made.
  1. Green Gold: Green gold is not as common and is made by mixing pure 24kt gold with silver, copper, and sometimes cadmium. The specific percentages of each metal essentially determines the shade of green that is created, along with the karat weight.

While gold is a wonderful option for any type of jewelry, it is important to note that there are some minor downsides to it. As previously mentioned, gold can be hypoallergenic when mixed with certain alloys. If you have sensitive skin and aren’t sure of the alloy, it is recommended to steer clear of gold. It would be a shame to spend a lot of money on this important purchase, only to be unable to wear it due to allergies. Due to its soft nature, gold is also prone to scratching over time, and this can also mean that prongs can bend and other intricate aspects of the ring may wear over time. This is nothing to be overly concerned about, as long as you take care of your ring properly and only wear it during the appropriate times. It’s also important to have your ring checked for any issues every six months to avoid any larger problems down the line. If you choose a white gold ring, it will need to be plated with a rhodium plating to have that bright white finish. Depending upon your skin chemistry, this plating will wear off over time at different rates and will need to be re-plated occasionally. 

Next up is platinum.

Platinum is a very dense and durable metal, which makes it ideal for everyday wear–especially for people who are very active, as the metal is stronger and more difficult to damage. Unlike gold, it maintains its structural integrity, which may make it more suitable to pass down to future generations. That being said, it is not recommended to wear any jewelry, no matter the metal, while cleaning, showering, working out, or any other activity that may lead to damage or expose the jewelry to any chemicals. Platinum is a naturally white metal, so it won’t need to be plated with anything in order to keep this color over time. It is also ideal for those with skin allergies, as it is hypoallergenic. Due to the fact that platinum is a more rare and expensive metal, it tends to be seen as more valuable.

While platinum is a great choice, there are a few downsides to consider. If you want something other than a white metal, platinum is not the choice for you because it is naturally white and the color cannot be altered by mixing with other metals. Since platinum is a more rare and heavier metal–and metal is typically priced by weight–platinum tends to be more expensive than gold. If you’re on a specific budget and want to make sure that you have sufficient funds to consider the center stone and ring design, you may not want to consider platinum. Also due to their weight, platinum rings are heavier on the hand, which some people prefer, but some dislike. Platinum can be a bit more difficult to work with for a jeweler, so your ring may be more complicated to repair or resize if that's ever needed. Because of this, the cost to repair a platinum ring will also be higher than that of repairing a comparable gold ring. 

It should now be clear that while gold and platinum have unique qualities that differentiate them from each other, ultimately the choice between the two depends on individual preferences. The decision between gold and platinum should reflect the couple's lifestyle. Either one will create a ring that will last as a beautiful symbol of love.