Why Does Platinum Dull?

A major part of planning your dream wedding is deciding the type of wedding ring you and your better half want. Couples often look for that perfect shiny platinum rings that will last a lifetime. But to their disappointment, many of the couples who bought one have experienced their platinum rings getting dull within a few years.

Sadly, they don’t know why does this happen. So let us briefly explain through this article what can go wrong with this “fit-for-king” metal. Simultaneously, we will also give you some tips on how to take care of that valuable platinum jewelry.

Why Does Platinum Dull?

A million-dollar question for that thousand dollar platinum jewelry is … why does it get dull?

The three main reasons for this are:

  1. Platinum is used in its purest form (i.e., 95%) compared to white gold, which is made of mixed metals (alloys).
  2. It is a malleable metal.
  3. It is softer than white gold.

Using the MOHs scale of hardness, platinum is 4-4.5; therefore, anything harder than this can scratch it. On the other hand, diamond and amethyst are 10 and 7 on the Mohs scale, respectively, and both can easily scratch platinum.

White Gold vs. Platinum

While you may feel the two metals rarely have any difference, let’s discuss the factors that set them apart from one another. You can then decide for yourself!

Density

An important feature is the density of platinum. It is denser than gold. If you take the same amount of these two metals, platinum will weigh 60% more than gold. It has smaller and more molecules in lesser space as compared to gold.

Hence, because of its density, it is used in a purer form than gold. This is the strength of platinum. But, it is still a soft metal that moves out of the way of the harder item it collides with when scratched.

Since white gold is alloyed with other stronger metals to make jewelry, it becomes a harder metal than platinum. For comparison, if we take two identical bands made of platinum and gold and hit the surface of each band with three harder surfaces – you will see that gold shows a thin scratch on its surface while leaving a small amount of itself on the harder surface.

Platinum band, however, when scraped against the surface, moves inside, leaving a deeper scratch. This happens because the metal is softer, and also due to its density, it doesn’t leave a bit of itself behind.

If you see the final effect on both the metals, you may see some scratches, but the gold band would still be shining, making it wearable for a longer time. Platinum, on the other hand, starts getting dull more swiftly. Having said that, other characteristics make platinum jewelry stand out when compared to gold.

Durability & Long-Lasting

Undoubtedly, platinum is considered as the hardest and most durable metal. But you should know that there is a difference in the way gold and platinum handle the surface scratches.

If white gold is scratched, some gold is scratched away and is lost. On the other hand, the scratched platinum moves to another place on the ring creating a “patina finish.”  This patina finish gives an antique look to your jewelry.

Once you polish the platinum ring, the platinum’s metal moves back in place, unlike white gold. One of the most prominent features of platinum jewelry is its durability. It can hold precious stones securely in place for a lifetime.

Hypoallergenic

Before you make your choice, don’t forget about the possible allergic reaction of different metals. Because white gold is made by mixing different metals, it can irritate your skin or cause an allergic reaction.

Platinum jewelry, on the other hand, is in its purest form (95% pure) that makes it true hypoallergenic jewelry metal. You may prefer to buy platinum jewelry if you think you have sensitive skin or suspect to have any allergies.

Cost

Affordability has remained a major concern for buyers when it comes to platinum jewelry. Platinum is more expensive because it is mined less than gold. Let’s say if 2,700 tons of gold are mined annually, in comparison, only 80 tons of platinum are mined. It is also 30 times rarer than gold!

The density of these two metals also determines their prices. Since platinum is denser than gold,the same piece of jewelry made of platinum would weigh more than gold. As metals are priced by their weights, a platinum ring would be much more expensive than the same one made with gold.

How to Clean Platinum Jewelry?

If you already own an ornament made of platinum, you should be careful when cleaning it. Over time you may find your platinum jewelry getting dull.  You can clean it with the following methods, rather than getting it polished frequently:

  1. Use jewelry cleaners that are specially made for cleaning platinum and gold.
  2. Scrub the metal gently using a soft toothbrush.
  3. Rinse it under warm water.
  4. Use a lint-free cloth to dry it.
  5. Avoid brushing delicate gemstones such as topaz or emerald, if any, mounted in your platinum jewelry.

Taking Care of Platinum

Other than cleaning with precaution, you should take care of your platinum jewelry by:

  1. Not using any harsh chemicals when wearing platinum jewelry that can cause any scratches on it or might damage the gemstones.
  2. Always keep your platinum jewelry in a separate compartment from other jewelry, or it may get scratches.
  3. Spare some time to visit a professional bi-annually who can check your platinum jewelry. This will help you to make sure that the gemstones are secured in their setting.
  4. If any repairs or size adjustments are needed, take it to the jeweler who only uses platinum stock for this purpose. Mostly, jewelers use white gold, which causes dark markings along with repaired points.

Polishing Platinum

You should bear in mind that because of getting your platinum ornaments polished, again and again,they would get too thin after a while.When you get your platinum ring polished, the jeweler may also even the surface to ensure the high shine remains intact. Some platinum will also be removed with the polishing wheel and technique. Therefore, it is better to clean it properly and take care of it beforehand to avoid getting it polished unnecessarily.

Revive and Redesign

If you think your platinum ring is getting too dull, consider adding some details and textures to it. Another idea is to add hand engraving to make it interesting.

If you have not purchased it yet, then try to buy one that has more details rather than getting a plain band. A ring with an engraved design or maybe a little diamond can make it look shiny and sparkle.

Don’t Settle for Less When it comes to Platinum

You can buy whatever pleases your eye, but that’s our two cents. You will find many beautifully designed rings at the jeweler; if you think the benefits outweigh the cost of the ring you have chosen,then go for it! Keep in mind the factors that have been discussed above. A platinum jeweler may be expensive, but it’s worth it.

Make sure to properly clean it, store it safely, and get it occasionally checked by professionals. It may seem a little tiresome, but anything for that precious beauty.