For generations there has been a mighty battle between platinum and gold, both vying for the first place positioning in the world of jewellry settings. Sometimes it is a matter of preference as the wearer may find inherent value in one metal over another. For others, the appearance of the metal dominates the decision. At the end of the day – is one better than the other?
An element, gold naturally occurs in nature. It is mostly found in solid form in the veins of the siliceous rocks, although it can also be eroded and found as a powder, granules or nuggets in riverbeds. In its native state, the gold is free of any other element. As a compound, it is known as telluride. Roughly 25 percent of the gold in the world is found in South Africa, although the United States, Australia, Canada, China and Russia are also leading producers.
The earth at one time had plentiful supplies of gold, especially in chucks or nuggets large enough to be mined or picked out of streams and rivers. Gold is thought to be more common in the oceans, although measured known amounts in the world are estimated to be 0.005 parts per million. As a result, gold is one of the ten rarest elements in the crust of the earth. Its value, however, is driven not by rarity, but by the element’s inherent beauty.
In contrast to the eroding characteristic of gold, platinum is a metal that will not corrode, fade or tarnish. It is known to originate from the heavens, arriving on earth in meteorites that have been landing on the planet for billions of years. At one point in history, those searching for gold passed over platinum as an inferior metal.
As platinum looks much like silver, it was given the name platina by the Spanish when it was discovered in 1590. It wasn’t until two centuries later when King Louis XVI of France declared platinum to be the only metal fit for kings that the metal finally earned its place of honor. It has since been the chosen metal of the royals, serving as the foundation of the crown for the late Queen Mother, Queen Elisabeth.
Why Platinum is Better
What we know today is that platinum is much better and more valuable than gold. In fact, it is 35 times more rare than gold, making it an excellent precious metal investment. To give you an example, the amount of known gold on this earth would fill four Olympic-sized swimming pools; the amount of known platinum would fill only one of the same sized pools – knee high.
Platinum is a white metal that is used almost in its purest form in jewellery. Generally speaking, it is 950 parts pure platinum per 1000 parts. Platinum is a very dense metal and will feel heavier than a gold piece of jewelry of the same size. If we took two identical rings, one made of 18ct gold, it will weigh 10 grams; the same size ring in platinum would weigh 16-18 grams.
Platinum wears much better than gold as it is more durable. Over the course of 80 years, a gold ring would wear out if it is worn on a regular basis. The Platinum ring would not erode like the gold, but would instead flatten and thin over time. While this would require some care to help maintain its integrity, the gold ring would need repair and replenishment of the gold.
And the Winner Is: Platinum
There is little more beautiful and brilliant than a flawless white diamond set in platinum. In fact, the whiter the diamond, the more important it becomes to set it properly in white, bright and precious platinum. As platinum is both strong and pliable, it makes for the perfect metal to craft the diamond or gemstones setting in.
The main point is platinum can be so highly finished or polished, it can be like looking in a mirror, which reflects the light back into the diamond or gemstone. This reflection gives it more sparkle or Fire or Brilliance. In addition, jewellers can create very intricate jewellery pieces with the metal. When fine prongs are created, the diamond – or other stone – is held securely and beautifully in place.
While some may still prefer gold over platinum in the creation of the perfect piece of jewellery, especially when considering the band component of your ring, but when it comes to the setting that is to hold your diamond or gemstone in place, the value, durability and appearance of platinum wins every time.