Platinum Vs Silver: Same Appearance, Yet Very Distinct Metals

platinum vs silver - two engagement rings on a table

Whether you are looking for a ring, bracelet, or earrings, you will want a beautiful and lasting piece of jewelry for your collection. Gold, silver, and platinum are precious metals found in jewelry stores worldwide, but deciding which one best fits your style can be overwhelming.

At a glance, silver and platinum jewelry are very similar. Yet, there are distinct differences that set them apart from each other. Both bring a touch of sophistication and elegance to the wearer, but there are differences in durability, value, and maintenance to keep in mind before making a selection. 

To help you decide which precious metal is best for you, we will explore them both: Platinum vs. Silver. Then you can find the perfect piece of jewelry to add to your collection.

What is Platinum?

a variety of platinum diamond rings on a womans hand

There are platinum rings, earrings, and even platinum records. Okay, that last item is not made from platinum, but that’s because of cost. Platinum is one of the rarest and most expensive precious metals in the world.

Originally discovered by Spanish explorers, the name “platinum” comes from platino, which translates as “little silver.” It is no wonder how those explorers came up with this nomenclature as the precious metal has silver coloring with a white sheen. There are even stories of explorers throwing platinum back into the river because they didn’t think it was valuable. 

No one is throwing away platinum in today’s society. It is one of the most valuable and coveted of all precious metals. The purity levels vary between 85 and 95 percent, with other metals including cobalt, copper, iridium, palladium, and ruthenium. Anything less than 80% purity is not considered platinum.    

Most platinum comes from South Africa and is used for wedding or engagement rings. The purity, rarity, and strength of the metal make for good symbolism for couples. Platinum rings are typically 90-95% pure platinum.

What is Silver?

two silver engagement rings on table

On the other hand, silver has a long history and was once used as currency. You may see silver candlesticks or even silver utensils (“silverware” anyone?). But you don’t have to come from a family with silver spoons to afford silver jewelry. In other words, silver is a more affordable and available metal found around the world. 

Although, let us not confuse silver-looking objects with actual silver. In its purest form, silver is extremely pliable and soft. Other metals like copper, nickel, and zinc are added to add durability. Metal alloys with 92.5% silver are known as sterling silver and more commonly used when creating silver objects. You may find alloys with 99.9% silver, also known as fine silver, but these items are rare and not ideal for long-lasting treasures, such as rings or earrings

The history of silver is a lively one. No one knows the actual discovery of silver because it was known since prehistoric times. Today’s silver jewelry creations are from metals most likely mined in the United States, Mexico, or Peru, which make up 40% of the supply. 

Although silver is known to deteriorate over many years, proper maintenance and care extend its use and viability.  

Platinum vs Silver

platinum and silver engagement rings

Deciding between platinum and silver is simple when you break it down into categories. For this platinum vs silver decision, consider each metal’s durability, value, wearability, and maintenance. 

Platinum vs Silver: Durability 

Durability is the ability to withstand wear and tear or damage. When it comes to jewelry that you wear every day, you will want durable pieces for lasting enjoyment. 

Platinum is one of the most durable metals known to man. It has a very high melting point, which means it takes a lot to transform this metal. Any ring with a gem setting, such as an engagement ring, will benefit from the strength and security that platinum provides. The gem will not fall out, even after years of wearing it.

Silver jewelry, however, will lose its shape over time. Silver is considered a softer metal and is, therefore, less durable. It is uncommon to find an old silver ring with gemstones simply because the metal’s strength is unlikely to last. 

Platinum vs Silver: Value Comparison

Some people like to spend big money on their jewelry collections, while others appreciate the more cost-efficient options. When choosing between platinum or silver jewelry, value is an important deciding factor.

In terms of price, silver is, without a doubt, the more affordable option. For this reason, you are more likely to see larger jewelry and even costume pieces made from silver alloys. You get more quantity for your money when selecting silver jewelry.

On the other hand, platinum is one of the most expensive precious metals available. The metal’s rareness creates a higher value than other metals, and because it is durable, it will last longer. An in-between option is white gold which is more durable than standard silver but less expensive than platinum. 

Platinum vs Silver: Skin Reaction

People with sensitive skin care about what they wear, and jewelry is no exception.

Because silver alloys can sometimes contain other metals such as nickel or zinc, some jewelry pieces can cause skin irritations.

On the other hand, platinum is hypoallergenic and does not cause any such reactions.

Platinum vs Silver: Wear & Proper Care

No matter what metal you choose, proper care is recommended so that you can enjoy your jewelry for many years.

Jewelry made from silver is known to chip and wear thin over time. Silver is also known to tarnish or lose its luster. Polishing the silver is maintenance required to care for your treasure.

Platinum jewelry requires less maintenance. While your platinum ring may not tarnish or corrode, it can develop a matte appearance, known as patina. Ask a professional jeweler to polish the item once a year to ensure its luster and shine.  

Platinum vs Silver: Which is Better for Jewelry?

Adding a new piece of jewelry to your collection is always exciting. You will want to choose platinum if you want a beautiful engagement ring that will stay on your hand every day for many years. Or choose silver if you want a gorgeous necklace that will turn heads at the event of the year. 

At the end of the day, the jewelry’s purpose determines the outcome. Platinum is best for everyday wear, and silver is for special occasions. Platinum jewelry is durable and expensive, while silver jewelry is affordable and precious - but both are great options!