Gold vs. Platinum: A Walkthrough
Posted on March 10 2018
When purchasing an item from Diana Rafael, you will be able to choose the type of metal that your preferred piece of jewelry—such as a ring with a clarity enhanced diamond—will be made of. You will have two main options: gold or platinum.
What’s the difference?
Gold is the classic symbol of wealth, and its appeal has proven timeless. When shopping at Diana Rafael, you can choose between yellow gold, rose gold, or white gold. These variants are produced by combining gold with different metals. When gold is combined with copper and silver, you get yellow gold or rose gold, depending on the proportion of the three constituent metals. When gold is combined with silver only, or with another naturally white metal like palladium, you get white gold. White gold pieces of jewelry are typically coated with a metal called rhodium. The rhodium plating strengthens the product and gives it a purer, whiter appearance.
Platinum is a precious metal rarer than gold, and has been treasured for ages, from the time of the ancient Egyptians to the royal court of Louis XVI of France. In the first half of the 20th century, platinum was in high demand in the United States, but during the Second World War, non-military applications of the metal were prohibited. It may have taken a few decades, but the popularity of platinum has since rebounded. The natural white luster of platinum represents not just affluence but also purity, class, and endurance.
Concerning durability, gold and platinum are a story of contrasts.
Gold is resistant to tarnish, rust, and corrosion, but, in its pure form, it is also extremely malleable. This is ideal for the craftsman seeking to produce different forms using gold, but potentially problematic for the customer seeking to use a piece of gold jewelry on a day-to-day basis. To compensate for the malleability of gold, other metals are thrown into the mix. Consequently, the hue of the final product is not only altered; the final product’s strength is increased as well.
Pure platinum, on the other hand, is extremely durable. In fact, it is four times stronger than gold. It is also extremely dense, so much so that, when it is scratched, it barely loses material and therefore retains its original weight over time. Because of the remarkable durability of platinum, it is less malleable compared to gold, and therefore less craftsman-friendly. To compensate, other metals are thrown into the mix, such as rhodium or palladium.
The quality of gold is typically expressed in terms of its karat value. The karat value of a piece of golden jewelry indicates the percentage of gold in the product relative to other metals. Consider the following chart:
Karat Value % of Gold
Here at Diana Rafael, we offer 18K, 14K and 9K variants.
The quality of platinum is similarly expressed in terms of the proportion of platinum contained in a piece of jewelry relative to other metals. A label on a piece of platinum jewelry typically indicates such a combination. The label might read “900Plat” or “900Pt”, meaning the piece of jewelry contains 90% platinum and 10% other metals. Consequently, “850Plat” or “850Pt” means the product contains 85% platinum and 15% other metals. If an item simply describes itself as platinum, without any other indication of percentages, the item should contain at least 95% of the precious metal.
Effect on the Diamond
One final element to think about is how your choice of metal will affect the appearance of the diamond, such as clarity enhanced diamonds sold by Diana Rafael, that is set into it. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) classifies white diamonds according to five broad categories: colorless, near colorless, faint color, very light color, and light color. If your jewelry of choice features a colorless or near colorless white diamond, it would best be set in platinum or white gold, since the white color of these metals would preserve the pure look of the diamond. If, however, the diamond falls into the lower three categories, it will contain a yellow or even brown tint. In this case, such a diamond is best set in either yellow or rose gold. The color of the metal would conceal the tint of the stone.
Diamonds, of course, come in other colors like pink or blue. In such cases, it would be preferable to set them in either white gold or platinum. The white color of these metals would help accentuate the color of the stone.