Ring Guides

Learn About Platinum

Platinum is a naturally occurring white metal that is rarer than gold and often used in jewellery for its attractive appearance. Learn more about platinum, and whether it is the best metal for your ring.

What is platinum?

Platinum is a pure, silver-toned metal, amongst the rarest in the world. As a colourless metal, platinum is bright and lustrous, and is the perfect accompaniment for diamonds, to keep them icy and similarly colourless. The platinum metal used for engagement rings is typically 95% platinum, 5% other precious metals (like palladium, copper or rhodium), otherwise referred to as ‘950 platinum’.

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What is 950 platinum made of?

Platinum is a naturally occurring metal, found across the globe in places like Australia, Canada, Russia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Although it occurs naturally in a pure state, platinum is usually mixed with other metals, like palladium, copper or rhodium, to create a metal alloy suitable for jewellery creation. Platinum is exceptionally hard in its pure form, so the metals added to create 950 platinum metal create a more malleable substance, meaning goldsmiths can craft the metal with fine, intricate finesse.

Diagram showing which metals make up 950 platinum

The history of platinum

The word ‘platinum’ derives from the Spanish word ‘platino’, which means ‘little silver’ - the two metals comparable for their lustrous, bright and colourless looks. Platinum is widely credited with having been discovered around 1735 in South America, although there is evidence of its use in gold alloys dating back to 1200BC in Egypt. There are also suggestions of its discovery in the 1550s by the Spanish in Mexico, although it was considered unworkable, and an impurity within gold - it was therefore largely discarded.

It was in the late 1700s that Europeans started to use platinum metal within luxury items, like buttons for expensive clothing. Platinum, however, needs extremely high temperatures to become a malleable state, workable to create fine jewellery, intricate and small-scaled. This was finally achieved around the turn of the 20th Century, thanks to high powered jewellery torches, and notable jewellers like Cartier began to work with the platinum metal.

Popular platinum ring designs

How much does a platinum ring cost?

The cost of your platinum ring is largely dependent on its design, the craftsmanship needed to create it, and most importantly, the size and number of diamonds or precious gemstones used.

The metal work for a platinum ring starts at £700, for a simple solitaire ring design. With the addition of a 0.30ct, good quality diamond, you’ll find that an exquisitely crafted platinum ring starts from around £1,300.

Until recently, gold rings have retailed at a lower cost than platinum, but now you’ll find gold and platinum rings costing the same price.


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Why choose a platinum ring?

As a colourless and lustrous metal, platinum is a great choice for diamond engagement rings. The reflectivity of the metal enhances the diamond’s sparkle, keeping it bright, colourless and icy. Other metals, like yellow and rose gold, can have their warm tones picked up by the diamond, therefore reducing its colourless appearance.

Platinum is an incredibly durable metal, more resistant to nicks and scratches than gold metals.

Platinum has remained the most popular choice for engagement rings since its first use, and has proven to stand the test of time, taste-wise. Platinum metal is versatile, suitable for a wide variety of tastes and designs, and is the perfect choice for a timeless engagement ring that will transcend fashions and changing trends.

View the pros and cons of platinum in the table below.

Pros of Platinum Cons of Platinum
Hypoallergenic, meaning allergic reaction is incredibly unlikely, even for the most sensitive skin Sometime considered more expensive than gold, although recent market fluctuations see platinum and gold priced similarly, if not identically
Lustrous and colourless, enhancing the bright sparkle of diamonds without interference of other colours Does not tarnish or need re-plating, unlike white gold
Suits most skin tones, particularly cool and dark skin tones Due to its density and strength, it is harder to repair
The most durable metal, more resistant to nicks and scratches than gold alternatives
Low maintenance, does not require re-plating and infrequently requires polishing
Versatile, pairing well with other jewellery and clothing colours!

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