May 2

Platinum and White Gold vs Silver for Your Engagement Ring

By Calla Gold

Calla Gold Jewelry designed Wedding set

Platinum Wedding Set

Platinum and White Gold vs Silver for Wedding Rings

Every once in a while, I get asked if silver is appropriate for wedding rings. Silver certainly isn’t the customary, go-to metal, but is it appropriate? Depends on one’s point of view.

diamond eternity band

Platinum and White Gold Rings Make up This Wedding Set

Traditional Metals are Gold and Platinum

90% of all wedding rings are made out of gold or platinum. Yeah, I made that up. It’s 100% for me, but I know other areas of the country embrace other alternative metals. Gold and platinum are the traditional, time-honored, and accepted metals.

No other substance comes close. No other metals are so intimately connected to the bond of marriage than these.

Over the years, gold and platinum wedding rings have come to symbolize the union between husband and wife. It’s almost as if these metals strengthen the connection between the two, like some sort of talisman or good luck charm. As long as they wear their rings, their marriage will endure.

These days silver doesn’t represented this union. It just doesn’t.
Still interested in bucking tradition? Read on.

Princess Diamond in square prongs on Tiffany style band

Platinum Prongs
Image – Serendipity Designs

The Hardness of Silver vs. Gold and Platinum

Silver is a soft metal. Which means it wears down much faster than platinum or karat gold. This is especially critical with settings that hold precious gemstones.

Grandma’s platinum ring will last generations. Her old sterling silver ring…not as long. I would never trust silver prongs to hold a valuable gem.

Most platinum rings are 90 to 95% pure platinum. The metal is hard enough in its natural state without the need of much alloying for jewelry making. 14 karat gold is alloyed and hardened with 42% other metals as it is naturally softer in its pure state. It is a wonderful metal to work with for jewelry making.

white gold vs silver

Fresh Successful Casting of White Gold Before First Polish with Gems Laid on Top Loosely

Casting Issues with Silver vs. Gold and Platinum

Silver rings tend to show more porosity than gold or platinum.

Porosity are tiny pits inside and on the surface of jewelry, and are due to poor casting techniques or bad luck.

Casters have a harder time dealing with silver than they do with gold and platinum. My purpose isn’t to bore you with lots of technical jargon explaining why this is. It just is. Trust me.

Tarnishing  of Silver vs. Gold and Platinum

Silver tarnishes. Gold doesn’t tarnish. And platinum doesn’t either. Again, I won’t bore you with lots of technical analysis of why this is. It just is.

white vs silver

Beautiful Wedding Set in White Gold

Joshua’s Custom Design Story – He Asked for Silver

A man named Joshua in Kentucky called a while back who wanted to create a custom wedding ring. I told Joshua the design and waxing would cost about $500. Setting the diamonds would cost another $150. The diamonds were the big expense and would set him back around $5500. Casting the ring in 14k would cost about $800. Considering what he wanted, my pricing was very reasonable.

He called back a day later—had probably been talking with his banker—and asked if we could save money by casting the ring in silver. I explained about the metal’s inherent softness and propensity to tarnish. Setting his beautiful diamonds in $50 worth of silver would not be a good idea. Unless of course, he didn’t mind replacing them every couple years or so.

Broken silver cuff bracelet

Tarnished Sterling Silver

Joshua chuckled and said, “You had me at tarnishing, but I was enjoying the ride.” We cast his ring up in 14kt white gold. Later, he emailed me pictures of the beautiful ring on his beaming bride’s finger.

He added that she’d just about flipped-out when he’d originally suggested they make the ring in silver. “Are you out of your frikken mind, Joshua?” she’d said. “I’m sorry, honey, but no way are those diamonds running around the rest of my life in silver.”

My Opinion on Your Best Metal Choices for Your Engagement Ring


White Gold With Hand Engraving

I recommend white gold vs silver or platinum vs silver wedding rings. They’re harder—the better to hold gemstones—don’t wear as fast, and they don’t tarnish.

I’m also somewhat of a traditionalist when it comes to wedding jewelry. Gold and platinum represent marriage. Silver doesn’t. Enough said.

Your Personal Jeweler,

12 thoughts on “Platinum and White Gold vs Silver for Your Engagement Ring

  1. What an informative post! I love Joshua’s bride’s reaction – women know best, thankfully you were there to help him! Thanks for the helpful picture of the tarnishing. How does one get rid of that nasty tarnishing and make a silver ring last longer?

    • Hello Jennifer,
      As a jeweler when I want to handle silver’s tarnish I just steam it, and polish it on a high RPM rouge wheel and it comes out shiny and perfectly new. But if that is not a possibility a silver polishing cloth can help or a creamy silver polish like Wright’s. It’s often sold at Hardware stores.
      I loved Joshua’s bride’s response as well. It cracked me up.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  2. Hello Calla,
    I just wanted to say two things:

    1- Sterling Silver wedding bands have been quite the norm in a number of jewish communities in the world. Its getting worn shows the work that has been put into the marriage. I think that this way, Sterling Silver shows wonderfully how love grows and evolves along life.

    2- I own an heirloom ring (sterling silver) which was cast in 1886, and only once repolished in the 1970s. It is in mint condition, although it has been my grandmother and great-grandmother’s engagement ring. It’s a victorian-era ring, with a london blue topaz, flanked by pearls. This ring is in perfect condition, has obviously been cared for quite well, and is still going strong.

    With these things, I would like to disagree with you and say that Sterling Silver is no less a “loving” metal than gold or platinum. It might be somehow different in circles that are used to gold and platinum, but to me, it’s far more personal. My entire family used sterling silver, and they don’t feel “less loved” than people with platinum rings.

    I love that we don’t put the strength of our relationships on the “noble” quality of a metal, but on it being a token of the work we ought to put on keeping our bond alive.

    That’s my two cents.

    • Dear Julia,
      I’m so pleased you took the time to write about your family rings and your experience with silver. Your stories are wonderful. I’m pleased that Sterling silver has had such a nice impact in your family. Your words will add to the conversation about metals to choose. Sterling silver will be happy to be represented by your stories about it being a perfectly lovely metal.
      Thanks for your two cents.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  3. Will my fiance bought a diamond ring supposed be plantimun when we went to appraiser he put check out the diamond are real but ring it self is not so diamond set top of tarnish setting. Burn it something he did to it to see if it real. It turn black he said the money you pay for it not worth it. Do some suggestions should I returned spent lots of money on it.

    • Dear Annette,
      I would return the ring to the seller and get your money back. At that point I’d ask friends for recommendations of reputable jewelers in your area. Once you have established that you are working with a jeweler that is trustworthy make your purchase dependent on a favorable appraisal.
      May your new ring be a joy to you both.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  4. I appreciate your advice in the post but I’m sick of the careless exclusion and invisibility of same sex marriage when describing unions (i.e. husband and wife) so decided not to read on.

  5. The right choice to go with is Platinum, at least that’s my opinion. Platinum has emerged as the most expensive and better-looking metal than others. Choosing a platinum diamond ring is a good choice due to its several benefits. Platinum has a more natural shine, making it a perfect pair with different diamond cuts and colors. Rings made from platinum are safe to wear and free from any kind of maintenance, as it doesn’t require any protecting coating.

    • Hi Reuben,
      I have to beg to differ on you statement that platinum has a more natural shine. It does have a nice shine, but not any measurable way nicer than white gold’s shine or silver’s shine.
      I’m afraid I need to differ as well on the, “free from any kind of maintenance” claim. As a repairing jeweler I fix prongs, breakage and other maintenance issues on platinum rings. Platinum is a malleable metal and is a fine and noble metal, but it, like fine car needs maintenance.
      I’m guessing by safe to wear you mean unlike titanum or something it can be sawed off.
      About protective coatings I assume you are referring to rhodium plating which is a part of the white gold maintenance. It’s not protective it is put on for additional beauty and that white color pop. Many of my clients have me rhodium plate their platinum jewelry because it keeps the platinum shining longer.
      I’m not raining on your parade, just rebutting points so as not to let people have expectations that platinum cannot deliver.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

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