Choosing the right precious metal for your ring

Fine jewellery is typically crafted from either gold or platinum. But what are the differences between these two precious metals, and which is the right choice for you? On the one hand, gold is the ‘original’ precious metal of choice, whose beauty and value has been coveted for thousands of years. On the other, platinum is even rarer and more valuable than gold, and has gained a certain caché as the most luxurious of the precious metals in more recent years.


Colour differences

Perhaps the most obvious starting point when considering the differences between gold and platinum is their colour.

Gold is naturally yellow, though it is often alloyed (mixed with other metals) to form white gold or rose gold. Platinum on the other hand is a naturally greyish-white metal.

One of the most common dilemmas faced by a client choosing a ring is whether to go with white gold or platinum. If you find yourself in that position, there are a few useful facts to bear in mind.

Platinum in its unpolished state is actually a pale grey colour, but when it’s highly polished becomes so reflective that it takes on a bright white appearance. In contrast, white gold is a slightly off-white colour, retaining a hint of yellow even when polished, unless it is rhodium-plated (which most white gold is), in which case it takes on an even brighter white than platinum. The image below is of four 18ct white gold rings. Two are rhodium-plated (one polished and one matte) and two are unplated (again, one polished and one matte).


Alloys and hallmarks

Both gold and platinum are alloyed to make them more hardwearing, since in their pure forms they are too soft to be suitable for jewellery. It is this alloying that is also used to create the different colours of gold. By mixing gold with silver and copper, it retains a yellow colour; mixing it only with copper creates the pink colour of rose gold; and mixing it with silver and palladium produces white gold.


Pure gold or fine gold as it is called in the industry, is also known as 24ct gold. In the UK, the gold used in fine jewellery is most commonly alloyed to 18ct (18 parts out of 24, meaning 75% purity). In different countries there are other standards that have been adopted. In the US for example, 14 carat gold is very popular (58.3% purity). The UK hallmark for 18ct gold is ‘750’, signifying 750 parts gold out of 1000.

Platinum on the other hand is typically alloyed to 95% purity in the UK (the other 5% is usually ruthenium or cobalt), for which the hallmark is ‘950’ hallmark, signifying 950 parts platinum out of 1000.


In practical terms, one of the most important differences to be aware of is in malleability, platinum being less malleable than gold. This gives platinum the advantage when creating very delicate structures and very secure diamond settings. However, it can also be problematic if you want to set a softer gemstone like emerald, where the force need to create a platinum setting could damage the stone.


Wear and tear

Another important practical consideration is how the two metals age. Despite the very high tensile strength of platinum, it actually marks relatively easily, forming what is known as a ‘patina’ of tiny scratches on its surface, as shown in the image here of a single ring.

Wedding and engagement rings are inevitably subjected to significant wear and tear as a result of being worn every day. This is particularly noticeable on the underside of rings, where they come into regular contact with hard objects like door handles for example. After a while, platinum will lose its brightly polished finish, and take on a greyer colour, and will need to be re-polished every few years if you want it to look pristine.

In contrast, if you have a white gold ring that has been rhodium-plated, as the rhodium gets scuffed and scratched away it will eventually start to reveal the natural warmer colour of the white gold underneath. Every few years, the ring will need to be re-polished and re-plated if you want it to look bright white again.


On a final note, in addition to differences in their strength and durability, there is also a noticeable difference in the density of gold and platinum. While gold is famously heavy, platinum is even heavier. In fact, a platinum ring will weigh about 50% more than the same ring in 18ct white gold.

At Ingle & Rhode we have a collection of rose goldwhite goldyellow gold and platinum engagement rings. Please feel free to get in touch if you’d like any more advice on the which is the best precious metal option for you or visit us in person at our London showroom near Bond Street station. We’d be delighted to help.

Browse our collections or commission a bespoke design



Browse our collections or commission a bespoke design

Fantastic from start to finish. The shop is located in a beautiful part of London which is easy to get to. Inside the shop itself I felt comfortable and relaxed. Being the first time buying an engagement ring I thought I might feel pressured but that was not the case. After ordering the ring communication was great throughout and delivery was on time. Upon opening the box I was taken aback by the how flawless the ring looked. I was genuinely lost for words. Thanks to all the staff at Ingle and Rhode that helped me pick the most perfect ring.
Tom Gittins
Beautiful, ethical jewellery - can't recommend enough! I am so glad that I found Ingle & Rhode when looking to buy my partner an engagement ring - they are superb, and the products are wonderful. Buying an ethical ring was really important to my partner and I, and so I was immediately drawn in by Ingle & Rhode - unlike a lot of ethical jewellery companies, their rings are still very contemporary.. which was exactly what my partner wanted! I had a couple of calls with Ellie during the process, who was so helpful - despite not having a great idea of what to go for, she was decisive and led me towards my own decisions; highly recommend speaking with the team, because they are wonderful (and lovely people too). Can't recommend using Ingle and Rhode highly enough - my partner loved the ring that I chose, and we would definitely use them again for jewellery in the future.
Mr Runcieman
Excellent process for bespoke engagement ring Excellent process, from start to finish. I emailed to begin the process of designing a bespoke ring. Within 2 days I had an in person meeting to discuss ideas. I was shown some examples and given brilliant advice by Ellie, who I found extremely reassuring throughout. The designer, Hayley, sent me initial sketches 1-2 weeks after the in person appointment. Hayley was very patient and again provided brilliant advice. Hayley was quick to create new design iterations based on my feedback. After many back and forward emails, the design was finalised and CAD mockups were provided. The mockups were extremely accurate when comparing with the finished product. The entire process, from first email to collection, took 6 weeks for a bespoke ring made with recycled platinum and a beautiful pear diamond (which was 2-4 weeks faster than their estimate). Communication was excellent and they were very keen to fit deadlines around plans I had in place. Ring resizing was required (my estimations were 4 sizes off!). I rang to book an appointment for a professional measurement and was able to meet the same day with short notice. The ring is to be collected within 7 working days. Overall the entire process was excellent. I felt very well looked after, very reassured and found all staff genuinely trustworthy. Above all else, my partner loves the ring and we are both extremely happy.
From Russia With Love Cannot express how grateful I am to have ended up using Ingle & Rhode to construct an engagement ring for my now fiancé! I was absolutely clueless how to go about finding a ring but quickly realised I knew what style I wanted and enquired about designing and constructing a ring. From the moment Ellie got in touch she made the whole experience effortless and with Hayley's design help produced drawings of a ring that were exactly what I had pictured - all this achieved via email from an oil rig in Eastern Russia! I received the ring once home and upon opening the box I could not believe Ingle & Rhode were able to turn a few emails into such a perfect and incredible ring that was just a thought I my head only weeks before. We are now very happily engaged and the ring could not mean more to us given the nature of how it came to be and what it now represents. Once again, I cannot thank Ellie enough. All the best Ally
Umang Joshi
Perfection. From the initial meet to the final ring, ever step of the process was incredibly. I surprised my (now) fiancé with a diamond ring and everything was perfect. Would highly recommend to anyone who is looking to get an engagement ring for their partner.

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Call us on 020 3468 7917 or come and see us in person at our showroom close to Bond Street station, London. You’ll be able to discover our stunning collection, speak to our experts one-on-one and explore the option of creating your very own bespoke ring. We aim to respond to appointment booking emails within 1 hour.

CALL 020 3468 7917

Visit us at 14 Gees Court, London W1U 1JW, but please note that visits are by appointment only.