Platinum or Gold? How to Choose the Perfect Engagement Ring
Choosing A Gold Engagement Ring
Throughout history, the sunshine-yellow hue of gold has symbolised wealth, power and status.
Over many centuries and with the advancing technologies, yellow gold has been transformed into white gold and rose gold using alloys. Multiple purities have been created including 9ct, 18ct and 22ct.
The result is a range of gold colours and qualities that can be crafted into your perfect precious metal engagement ring.
Yellow Gold Engagement Ring
Yellow gold bands have been found in ancient tombs and hoards across the world, from the Pyramids of Egypt to the East End of London.
It is mined in all corners of the world, although South Africa, China, the United States and Australia are some of the biggest producers today.
Gold is a soft reddish-yellow material in its purest form, which is why it requires processing to create stronger and more durable alloys.
White Gold Engagement Ring
Although yellow gold has been a popular choice for centuries, white gold was only invented in the 19th century and sold from around 1912 onward.
The process of creating white gold involves mixing pure gold with palladium, a white metal, to create its characteristic silvery-white colour.
It is typically finished with a plating of the precious metal rhodium, which adds brightness and ensures the colour of white gold lasts longer.
Read more: Wedding inspiration in shades of red and gold
Rose Gold Engagement Ring
What about rose gold? Despite its popularity today, rose gold only made its debut in the 19th century in Imperial Russia, where it was known as ‘Russian Gold’.
It is made by blending pure gold with copper to create blush pink or deeper red tones. Top Tip: Metal colour can also be used strategically to enhance the colour of coloured gemstones or counteract natural yellow hues in diamonds.
A slightly off-white diamond will be more obvious when set in platinum but the diamond may look whiter when placed in yellow gold. This can be an important consideration when choosing the perfect engagement ring for a price that is perfect for you.
Choosing A Platinum Engagement Ring
Platinum was first mined in South America where it was found by Spanish explorers in the 17th century. However, it is notoriously complex to process and was not used commercially in engagement rings until the end of the 19th century.
During the early 20th century, supplies of platinum were diverted to World War II efforts, which made white gold and silver more significant for jewellers.
See more: Ready to wear vintage engagement ringsPlatinum is a rare precious metal, even rarer than gold. Many couples choose platinum because of its bright, white finish. Whereas white gold may need specialist rhodium-plating to renew its colour after many years, platinum will continue to retain its colour.
Read more: Learn all about diamondsPlatinum is also one of the most expensive precious metal because of its rarity. It benefits from being incredibly resilient and hard-wearing, making it a symbolic and practical choice for brides-to-be.
When Did Gold & Platinum Engagement Rings Become So Popular?
In the sentimental Victorian era, diamonds were typically set in 18ct yellow gold or rose gold with beautiful scroll patterns.
Later, during the Edwardian period, styles shifted to be more delicate and decorative. As platinum is a hard metal, it allowed jewellers to create fine shapes while still holding the increasingly popular diamonds securely.
This fashion for white metal with diamonds meant that yellow gold slowly made way for wholly platinum designs.
Read more: Discover hand-engraved Laurel wedding ringsBy the jazz age of the 1920s and early 1930s, Art Deco engagement rings called for white gold or platinum with geometric emerald, baguette and Asscher-cut diamonds, surrounded by millegrain detailing.
Should I Choose A Gold Or Platinum Engagement Ring?
An engagement ring should reflect your personal style, especially as you will be wearing it daily.
We suggest choosing an engagement ring that matches your existing jewellery and wardrobe choices (whether Art Deco, Edwardian, Victorian or modern). This will ensure it perfectly matches your personality.