Which is right for you Platinum, Gold, or Silver?
When deciding between Platinum, Gold, and Silver one must consider their desired use. What type of jewelry are you considering? Are you looking for something cost effective? Is your skin sensitive to certain metals? Do you want something more lustrous or something more durable? The variation in color and appeal is the most obvious difference between the metals, however there are other variances including their difference in alloy metal mixtures, maintenance, and price.
Gold is a timeless, classic symbol of wealth and prosperity, found in multiple colors, and is more cost effective than Platinum.Your desired purity should depend on your desired durability. For example, when purchasing a Gold ring, an 18 or 14 karat piece will prevent deformities due to daily wear and tear. Those with allergies should consider pieces consisting of 14 karats or more to avoid exposure to higher amounts of alloys that might cause a reaction.
Silver is a beautiful, lustrous metal that outshines gold and compliments any skin tone. Silver is not as hard as the other metals; however it is the most cost effective of the three. Silver itself doesn’t cause allergic reactions, however if it is mixed with Nickel, it can cause a reaction. Silver is best used for jewelry that you aren’t planning to wear every day because it is prone to oxidization, which sometimes causes Silver to tarnish and turn black.
Platinum is a shiny, dense heavy metal, which makes tremendously durable and long lasting jewelry. It is hypoallergenic, which means platinum an excellent choice for those with metal allergies. Platinum metal will displace instead of scratch, so if you scrape it or bash it against something, there will be little to no metal loss over time. Platinum is rare and therefore, significantly more expensive than gold.
Gold ranges in softness based on its purity. Pure Gold is generally too soft to stand alone in jewelry, so it is mixed with alloy metals to make it harder. The “karat” determines how much alloy mixture is used. The greater the karat size, the less alloys are used, which makes for softer and less durable jewelry. There are different types of Gold including Yellow Gold, Rose Gold and White Gold.
Yellow Gold consists of pure Gold mixed with Copper and Zinc alloys. Rose Gold consists of pure Gold mixed with Copper alloys, giving it that reddish rose colored tint. Yellow Gold and Rose Gold colors will not fade or wear off over time. This is because their colors are attributed to the metal components in their alloy mixes.
White Gold consists of pure Gold mixed with white metals, such as Silver and Palladium. This alloy mixture makes a harder Gold than Yellow and Rose Gold. White Gold is generally coated with Rhodium, a metal that shares many properties with Platinum, to make the White Gold appear “shiny” and whiter.
Pure Silver is soft and is commonly mixed with other metals to increase its durability for jewelry. There are multiple levels of purity and several options you might encounter, a few include Fine Silver, Sterling Silver, and Nickel Silver.
Fine Silver is also known as pure Silver because it has 99.9% purity. Fine Silver is exquisitely radiant, but because it is not mixed with other alloys it bends easily and isn’t durable enough for the jewelry you plan to wear regularly.
Sterling Silver is the standard among all the Silver grades. In order to be called “Sterling Silver” the metal must contain at least 92.5% pure Silver. The other 7.5% is a metal that varies, but usually contains Copper.
Nickel Silver, despite the name, is not really Silver at all. Nickel Silver is actually an alloy that contains no pure Silver, but instead combines Copper, Nickel, and Zinc.
Platinum is a rare white, silvery metal and is one of the heavier metals used in jewelry. Unlike Gold, it is hard enough to be used in just about its purest form (95%) for jewelry. In order for a piece of jewelry to be labeled as “Platinum” it must use at least 95% pure Platinum, if not it will be labeled a “Platinum Alloy”.
Plating, short for electroplating, is the process of covering one metal with a thin layer of another using electrolysis. The item you desire to be plated is dipped in a liquid solution that contains the metal of your choice. An electric current will flow through the solution and cause the plating metal’s suspended particles to bond to the submerged jewelry. Plating is an easy and affordable way to make your old jewelry look brand new. There are different types of plating including Gold Plating, Silver Plating, and Rhodium Plating.
Gold Plating is generally applied to a base metal such as Silver, Brass, or Bronze. This is typically a thin layer of gold that will wear off over time. Consider the type of base metal you are plating when determining how long the plating treatment will last. Gold sticks to Silver much better than it sticks to a costume metal and when you Gold plate existing Gold-filled items, it will last even longer.
Silver Plating is applied to a base metal and is the most cost effective of all plating options. It is also a great alternative to buying a solid Silver jewelry piece. However, Silver plating is very thin and wears off easily, which means you will need to re-treat your jewelry often.
Rhodium plating is most frequently used on White Gold as well as Silver because it makes jewelry “shiny” and white, while also providing tarnish resistance and durability. Rhodium is an inexpensive way to make your jewelry look new or to turn your Yellow Gold into White Gold. Rhodium plating will eventually fade and wear off so you will need to re-plate your jewelry.