What Jewellers don’t tell you

Jan 6, 2014

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GETTING MARRIED? Want to buy a Designer Engagement on Wedding Ring?

Designer White Gold rings versus Designer Platinum rings- confused?

Are you are trying to decide on a Designer Engagement and Wedding Ring, then the following article may be helpful to you

The fact of the matter is that both white gold and platinum  have their own unique properties and hence benefits. By and large,  these are not explained too well to the would be designer jewellery buyer, but are outlined below.

HARDNESS vs MALLEABILITY???!!!

Two properties of metals that aren’t well understood by the jewellery industry as a whole and by jewellery consumers are hardness and malleability. Put simply, hardness refers to a metal’s resistance to scratching and denting. A hard metal, just like diamond, the hardest material known, will be resistant to scratches, whilst a soft metal will scratch easily.

Malleability refers to how easy a metal is to bend and turn into different shapes without breaking. A malleable metal will bend easily, whilst a brittle metal will not bend easily.

Whilst it may be true that platinum is harder than gold in its purest form, 18kt white gold is mixed with other metals, most commonly palladium, silver and copper to make it harder. This results in 18kt white gold being harder than platinum alloys, which are most commonly 95% platinum. On the other hand, platinum is more brittle than white gold, and is hard to bend and hammer into shape. What the hardness and malleability of white gold and platinum means in real life is that a platinum ring will be easily scratched and dented, but will hold diamonds and other gemstones more securely, as platinum is less prone to bending due to its brittleness. However, to get the best of both worlds, we have been encouraging our clients to buy rings with a platinum setting and a white gold band. This results in a more secure setting for the centre diamond, whilst the white gold band results in less scratches and dents.

Platinum’s softness versus white gold is also the main reason why we don’t recommend platinum for mens’ wedding rings.

DENSITY AND WEIGHT

Platinum alloys are about 20% denser than white gold. This results in a ring that feels more substantial, and thus more luxurious, even though it may be very fine.

PRICE

With the spot price of platinum and gold being very much the same nowadays, many people ask us why platinum is still more expensive that white gold. There are four main reasons for this: Platinum is denser, and thus more material weight is needed to produce the same ring than from white gold. Platinum alloys used in jewellery are purer. Since most platinum alloys are 95% platinum and 18kt white gold is 75% gold, less gold is require to produce an 18kt white gold ring.

Platinum is more difficult to work with, and often needs a jeweller with experience to produce a good job. Therefore, the labour cost is roughly 20% more than with white gold. Platinum can not be re-used and re-melted like white gold. Therefore, any scraps and filings must be sent to a refiner which is very expensive.

ALLERGIES

One of the benefits espoused by The Platinum Guild is that platinum is hypoallergenic. Whilst this is true, so is most 18kt white gold.. Whilst nickel was commonly used to alloy white gold in the past, most manufacturing jewellers use a palladium based alloy that is free from nickel. However, nickel, being a much cheaper metal than palladium is still used widely overseas, and thus some people may suffer from nickel allergies with imported jewellery.

For me the ideal ring for longevity is a white gold band with a platinum setting and I hope this article explains why.

Ring in the picture in by Paul Spurgeon.

Helen