A Tale of Two Precious Metals

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A Tale of Two Precious Metals

Platinum or gold?

Right now the first option is on the upswing. Platinum Guild International, which tracks sales around the world, reports that platinum jewelry sales in the U.S. rose 11 percent in 2017 over the previous year, outshining the 3 percent rise for gold jewelry.

“Platinum is a natural white metal, and white is popular right now,” says Karen Wood, vice president for service at Dallas Gold & Silver Exchange and one of our resident experts on the subject. “But it has its pros and cons.”

First, a look at the pros:

  • Platinum implies prestige (your “platinum” credit card has more benefits than your “gold” credit card) and is more durable than gold, which can wear down or scrape off over time.
  • Platinum is denser and stronger, and its prongs will hold a diamond or other gemstone more securely. That’s particularly important for a big stone.
  • Because it’s used in a nearly pure form, platinum is considered hypoallergenic. Gold is softer and needs to be mixed with alloys – usually nickel or copper – which trigger allergic reactions in some people.
  • White gold gets its white metal look through rhodium plating, which wears off over the years and needs to be refinished. Platinum merely needs to be polished.

Now the cons:

  • Even though platinum is cheaper than gold (currently about $900 per ounce versus $1,300 for gold), platinum jewelry can be much more expensive. That’s because platinum jewelry is much more pure than gold jewelry, so you’re paying for more precious metal and less alloy, and may require more workmanship.
  • Platinum jewelry will also be heavier to wear, which not everyone may like. It also can blemish or scratch more easily than a softer, more malleable metal.
  • The harder metal does not hold small stones as well and is more difficult to filagree, or use thin metal strands to create intricate designs.

The bottom line? There isn’t just one, which is why you should come in for a test drive and decide what’s right for you.