A wedding ring is worn for a lifetime, making sure it is durable and long-lasting is extremely important. Metal of the ring is one of the decisive factors that affects the durability and look of the ring, so the choice of metal should not be overlooked. 18k gold and platinum can be regarded as the most common metals being used to make wedding rings, they are both precious and valuable metals, but how should you choose between them?
“Which one is better? Platinum or 18k gold?” is the most frequently asked question. In fact, both of them are distinctive metals, and should not be compared merely by scientific facts. Through careful, fine crafting, they are both high quality products and equally suitable for wearing for a life-time. Although they are good materials to make rings, they possess unique properties that make them different. We are going to disclose some concepts regarding the two metals, so that you can have a brighter picture in choosing the most suitable material for yourself!
The “k” in 18k gold is “karat”, which refers to the purity level of the gold product. The highest karat is 24k, while 18k gold means 18 out of 24 portions is pure gold, and 6 parts of other metals. In other words, 18k gold is 75% pure gold. The chemical property of pure gold is very stable, and it is strong against erosion and oxidation.
For platinum, it is a totally different metal than gold. It is a natural white metal, with a higher density than pure gold. Similar to pure gold, it is also a stable metal, it would not oxidize in any temperature.
We have a lot of people asking us whether platinum is harder than 18k gold, which makes it a better choice for wedding ring. It is a scientific fact that platinum has a higher density than 18k gold, thus, under the same size platinum rings appear to be heavier than 18k ones. However, the weight and hardness are two different ideas not to be mixed up. Platinum has a higher density and weight, yet it does not mean it is harder and scratch-resistant.
In jewellery, we can see it is written as PT900 or PT950, which means the product is either 90% or 95% pure platinum. The platinum we use in wedding rings has already been mixed with other metals to strengthen it, much like pure gold is alloyed with other metals to produce 18k gold. The techniques used for making the ring (e.g. Press Forming) are extremely important since it can increase the metal density. After adding alloys and using special jewellery making methods, both 18k gold and platinum are hard enough to withstand stress in daily occasions, they would not deform unless you are using a press to apply pressure on it intentionally. Hence, you need not worry about the two metals, there are more to consider other than the hardness.
“Softness” is a good way to illustrate malleability. Take a wood chopstick as an example, if you bend the chopstick, it breaks as it has a low malleability. If you replace the wood chopstick with a copper one, it bends instead of breaking as it has a high malleability. The same concept applies to platinum, since it has a high malleability, when setting diamonds, the prongs can absorb more force. On the other hand, by adding alloys to pure gold to produce 18k gold, it becomes harder and scratch-resistant yet the malleability decreases. Even though 18k gold and platinum have different malleabilities, they both are
One of the characteristics that separates 18k gold and platinum is the colour available. 18k gold is pure gold alloyed with other metals, usually silver or copper. The mixing of metals not only strengthens the gold, it also gives distinct colours to the gold, such as a greenish yellow or reddish gold. Depending on the proportion of silver and copper alloyed, there are a lot of colours to choose from, like a brighter yellow than the rich yellow of pure gold, and a rose like reddish gold colour. Brands like August Gerstner and Niessing are famous for the wide choices of colours, providing 18k colours other than the usual yellow, red, rose. August Gerstner provides rings with various colour combinations, including their house special Hazelnut colour. They even have a ring that comes with 12 colours! Niessing, on the other hand, has a dedicated colour wheel with 12 unique colour choices, such as three special gradient colours that no other brands can give.
So why should we consider platinum? It is a white metal, but why should we choose platinum when we can have 18k white gold? It is because platinum is a naturally occurring white metal, while 18k white gold is produced by using rhodium plating which is different from the other 18k gold colours. The colours of 18k gold would not fade as they are alloyed. However, rhodium plated gold would fade over time. It does not mean the white gold would become another colour, just that it would not be as white as before. Platinum, on the other hand, does not fade and change colours. It is the ideal choice if you want an ever-lasting white ring without the concern of colour fading.
So how about a never-fading 18k gold ring? Is it possible? It pretty much depends on the colour choice. Mentioned above, white is not possible as it is plated. For other 18k gold colours that are produced through smelting, such as rose gold from mixing 25% of copper and grey gold from mixing 25% of palladium to pure gold, their colour would not fade. Niessing from Germany is exceptional in controlling the 25% alloy formula, hence producing 12 kinds of 18k gold colour choices that never fade.
In recent years, black coloured 18k rings are getting more and more popular. Do you know what alloy is used to produce black 18k gold? The answer is, there is not. 18k black gold is also plated, the base colour is grey gold. Therefore, after some time, the black colour tends to fade. The slight change of colour provides you a unique style that is different in every ring, together with the kicking black scheme, it is no doubt a choice for reaching others’ attention. Black rings by T&C and Marion Knorr are your best choice to give others an extraordinary impression.
There is also another concern that is easily missed, which is metal allergy. Although pure gold is hypoallergenic, which means it is less likely to cause an allergic reaction, 18k gold is mixed with other metals like copper, and it may cause allergic reactions. Out of the many metals, nickel is the one that is easiest to cause allergic reactions. Many traditional workshops or brands choose to use nickel to increase the whiteness. Rhodium plated 18k white gold would be different as rhodium is hypoallergenic as well. However, the coating would wear off one day, which would expose the 18k gold and may cause allergic reactions. So choosing platinum would be a much better choice than white gold. One should not be worried about metal allergy when it comes to platinum, since it is hypoallergenic in nature. Customers who are allergic to copper should avoid red colour schemed gold as well. As for grey gold, like rings by Marion and Niessing, we are often asked whether it causes allergies. In Germany, the pure gold and alloy are melted together, and both metals are hypoallergenic, so you do not have to worry about it!
18k gold and platinum are both wonderful choices for wedding rings. Do try to take the above as a kind advice, and choose the most suitable metal to be your wedding ring, marking the start of a new page in your life!