By Michael O’Connor, Jewelry & Style Expert
“As good as gold”, what’s better? Since childhood we’ve known that “as good as gold” indicated the highest level. But were we naïve? When we got older and wanted to show the highest level of financial responsibility, we didn’t want to settle for a mere “gold card”. By then we learned there was something even better! There was something much more rare, something that showed a purity in our credit rating and showed our persistence and endurance as shoppers and diligent bill payers. We aspired, of course, to a “platinum card”.
This analogy isn’t entirely metaphoric, however, and actually becomes quite relevant as you search for the perfect engagement ring or wedding bands. Here’s why.
L – Platinum and diamond engagement ring by Hearts on Fire R – Platinum and diamond engagement ring and wedding band by Michael M.
Every metal has characteristics that make it “right” for usage in particular items. Titanium for eye-glasses, because it’s lightweight; aluminum for patio furniture, because it can brave the elements but be light enough to move around the pool; and surgical steel for operations, because it’s hypoallergenic. When it comes to jewelry, however, we primarily look to what’s known as “noble metals” (metals that are rare and resistant to corrosion) as being most suitable. Even within this “noble” category however, there are characteristics that make metals just “right”. Let’s take two of the most frequently used metals for engagement rings and wedding bands – platinum and gold. Both are noble, rare and precious, however when used for engagement rings and wedding bands, one metal shows superiority. The superiority has to do with what you need those pieces of jewelry to do.
Men’s platinum wedding band by Gelin Abaci
Engagement rings and wedding bands are exchanged to signify the highest level of relationship – marriage. Therefore, they should be made from something that’s precious, rare and pure. In the hierarchy of metals platinum is more precious and thirty times more rare than gold. Platinum jewelry is usually made of 90-95% pure platinum, while gold at 18K is 75% pure gold and 14K is only 58.5% pure gold. Therefore, from a significance standpoint this makes platinum the more appropriate choice.
Further, engagement rings and wedding bands are given with the expectation that they will be worn every day for life. Therefore, they need to be made from something that will never fade or tarnish, something durable enough to stand up to a lifetime of daily wear, something that is hypoallergenic, and in most cases, something that can hold a precious diamonds or gemstones securely for life. Again, platinum proves to be most appropriate. Platinum is naturally white and will remain white over time, unlike white gold which is originally yellow but mixed with other metals, then plated over the top to look white. Over time, the white plating on gold will wear, revealing a “less white” color underneath. Platinum will not only stand up better to daily wear but gems held in a platinum setting are more secure because it is virtually indestructible. Finally, because platinum is usually 90-95% pure it will always be hypoallergenic.
Now that we’ve looked at the differences isn’t it time we updated our language to reflect our new knowledge? Let’s replace that old saying with something better. “As good as gold” should really be “perfectly platinum”.
Michael O’Connor is one of America’s leading voices on jewelry, style and accessories and has become the “go-to” resource for editors and producers seeking information on current trends and celebrity information. O’Connor as been involved in the luxury, jewelry and fashion industries in a career that spans over 25 years. Connect with Michael on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.
Have you begun your engagement ring search? Did this blog post change your thinking on gold vs. platinum? Tell us your story in the comments section below.