If you are looking for the best kind of white jewelry, you might have come across platinum. It is one of the most durable and expensive rare precious metals, and it allows you to enjoy great value without having to worry about the jewelry getting damaged too soon. But is it worth it? Does platinum scratch easily?
This article shares insights into everything you need to know about platinum jewelry and whether it’s worth the investment or not.
Does platinum scratch easily?
Platinum is one of the hardest precious metals, and because of this, it doesn’t scratch easily by most metals, well unless platinum is scratched by a material that is harder than platinum, for example, diamond or amethyst.
To avoid scratching, avoid wearing your platinum ring if you will be in contact with hard surfaces. If your engagement ring is made of sterling silver, for instance, you shouldn’t wear it with a platinum wedding ring because platinum is quite hard, and it would damage the ring made of softer, less durable materials.
While platinum jewelry is durable, strong, and one of the hardest metals used in jewelry making, it’s quite imperfect, and it’s even a little malleable when compared to sterling silver jewelry. And this means that despite its beautiful, shiny natural luster, tarnish, and corrosion resistance, platinum jewelry could still get scratched easily, especially when it’s in contact with harder metals or surfaces. Scratching is what makes platinum dull, or in other words, it’s the cause of the patina.
What is the Mohs Scale of platinum?
Despite its reputable durability and hardness, platinum isn’t really hard metal. This high purity precious metal is one of the softer metals, and it ranks between 4 and 4.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. So, it would be scratched by any other metal or material that scores higher on the Mohs scale – not just a diamond that scores a 10 on the scale, but also amethyst which scores 7 on the scale.
By comparison, 24k gold has a hardness of 2.5 on the Mohs scale, while 14k gold is rated between 3.5 and 4 on the hardness scale. This means that platinum isn’t the hardest metal used in jewelry making, and you may want to learn more about the metal before you buy jewelry made of this metal.
Why your platinum jewelry scratch easily?
From the information about the ranking of platinum on the Mohs scale, it makes sense that platinum scratches easily.
The biggest difference between platinum and other precious metals like gold, for example, is that platinum is much denser than gold, and the same amount of gold and platinum will not weigh the same because platinum is up to 60% heavier than gold. On a molecular level, platinum has many more molecules that are packed more tightly than the molecules in gold. Thanks to its high density, platinum is often used in its pure form, but gold isn’t. Note that density often translates to a higher level of strength. Why then does platinum get scratched?
Well, the reason for this is that as much as platinum is dense and stronger than gold, it is, in essence, a soft metal. When platinum is in contact with a hard surface or a harder metal, it will get scratches quite fast – these scratches initially appear as micro-scratches. Over time and with constant exposure to hard surfaces, the micro dents increase thanks to the soft-yielding nature of platinum, which is why platinum jewelry dulls over time.
So, while it would be expected that a metal like white gold is softer than platinum, this is hardly the case, and white gold is actually harder and more resistant to scratching than platinum. How? Well, 14k white gold, for example, is a gold alloy that is made of soft gold but an almost equal percentage of high-strength metal alloy that makes white gold quite durable and resistant to scratching. Then there is the plating of white gold with rhodium, which adds strength to the white gold while also allowing the white gold to take on a little more harsh exposure than platinum. When white gold jewelry is banged against a hard surface, for example, it only leaves a very small part of itself on the surface, and the scratch will not show easily. However, if the same amount of pressure is applied on a platinum piece, the scraping and the resultant impact will be a lot more noticeable because platinum is softer than the 14k white gold. Also, the platinum will not leave some of itself behind.
Over time, and with many dents on platinum pieces of jewelry, their scratches will have build up significantly, dulling the platinum. This is also referred to as a patina, and the only good this about this is that it doesn’t always look like the worst thing that would have happened to your platinum ring, for example.
Not everyone likes patina-filled jewelry, though. If you are looking for white jewelry that will maintain its shiny finish for a long time, you might want to think about your options carefully before settling.
White gold will look nice for a while, but then it must be redipped in rhodium after a number of months, while platinum must be polished after some time too – and there is always a chance of polishing hurting your jewelry too much, especially when it’s overdone.
If you settle on platinum despite its negative characteristics, what are some of the things you could do to protect your platinum jewelry from extreme scratching and dulling?
What about the solutions?
- Add some changes to the platinum jewelry.
Instead of chucking the ring and keeping it out of sight forever, the one thing you could do to make your platinum ring look nicer, especially if you don’t want to have to polish it all the time, is to make it look different and a lot nicer. You could do this by getting the ring hand-engraved to add interest and sparkle to the ring – this is a great solution if the shape of the ring allows this change. Alternatively, you may want to add in some details and/or textures. Doing this will make the ring look different and not as dull. Some people will consider hammering the ring, especially after it’s dinged.
- Buy a platinum ring with different (rather than ordinary) features.
Just because you are buying a set of wedding platinum bands doesn’t mean that the rings have to be boring. You could try something different; for example, opt for platinum rings designed with different heights, engraved designs, or diamonds. These features add interest, and even with dulling, you won’t really notice the changes on the jewelry, and you can keep your platinum jewelry for much longer.
- Protect the ring
The best thing you could do to protect your platinum ring is to keep it away from surfaces or environments that would damage the ring. So, don’t swim with the ring; go climbing, horseback riding, mountain climbing, or even gardening with the ring on. Also,remove it when cleaning the house or doing anything else that would get your hands dirty or messed up.
Though durable, platinum is not resistant to scratching, and it will develop a patina that dulls it out, especially if it’s dinged regularly. So, if you are looking for platinum jewelry, be ready to take extra care of the jewelry.
Tiger is a fashion&jewelry lover. He is also a fashion jewelry manufacturer that help thousands of small business to grow and also do business with some big fashion jewelry brands. He is a truly metal expert and he will share some information you are looking for.