a guide to precious metals

A guide to platinum

Platinum is a naturally occurring white metal. It is rarer than gold and much heavier and harder. Because it is harder, platinum can be used in a purer form than gold. Usually at about 95%. Therefore, platinum is more expensive than gold jewellery.

I am often asked if their ring is actually made of platinum because it is scratched. Platinum is more difficult to scratch but it does develop little bumps and ridges. This is especially true of engagement and wedding rings which are worn every day.

A guide to white gold

White gold doesn’t exist naturally, it is made from yellow gold mixed with white metal alloys like palladium or silver. After, it is given a coating of rare, silvery-white metal called rhodium, which gives its luminous sheen.

The reason for this mix is to strengthen the piece, gold is naturally very soft and on its own would bend out of shape.

Platinum versus white gold

Platinum and white gold look the same, but what makes them different?

The main advantage of white gold is that it is more affordable. However, the disadvantage is that it may need to be recoated with rhodium once or twice a year. This is because wear and tear can rub away the outer coating and reveal the yellow gold underneath. It is not hugely expensive to have it recoated but it does mean that you need to maintain your jewellery regularly.

Platinum is initially more expensive.  However, it can be argued that it is more cost-effective in the long run.  For an engagement ring, it is considered the best choice because of this reason.

Our fairtrade and ethical policies

I use fairtrade gold, silver and platinum, which is the world’s first independent ethical certification system for gold. Fairtrade gold makes a real difference to the lives of miners, their families and communities. 

Using and buying it means you know the small-scale and artisanal miners were paid a fair price, giving them financial security. They also receive an extra amount of money to invest in building the future of their families and their communities, through education, medical care and environmental projects.