Why Platinum Rings Turn Dull so Fast, And What to do About it!

Scratches on This Platinum Set Represent Three Months of Wear

Scratches on This Dull Platinum Set Represent Three Months of Wear.

One of the biggest disappointments for newly married couples is feeling underwhelmed with their now dull plain platinum rings.

All they wanted was a plain and simple wedding band with an expanse of shiny platinum. Yummy. Only it doesn’t stay shiny for long. This is not what they signed up for!

In this blog I’ll be comparing white gold and platinum because I am asked most often to compare these two metals.

Three Reasons Why Platinum Gets Dull

1. Platinum is a malleable metal

2. Platinum is used in a more pure form than white gold

3. Platinum is softer than white gold in jewelry making

Platinum vs. White Gold on the MOHs Hardness Scale

MOHS Scale of Gemstone Hardness

Platinum is not a hard metal. It is 4 – 4.5 on the MOHs scale of hardness. This means it can be scratched by anything harder than it is. Diamond is ten on the MOHs scale and can easily scratch platinum. Your amethyst is a seven on the MOHs scale and can scratch your platinum.

For comparison, pure gold is 2.5, on the MOHs scale. That’s about the same hardness as your fingernail. That will not work for jewelry making. When white gold is prepared for jewelry making, by adding alloy metals, for example at 14kt or 58% pure gold, its hardness gets bumped up to 3.5 – 4.  That looks about the same as platinum. Right? But it’s not just the hardness that determines how your metal will wear and look over time. What the MOHs scale doesn’t show you, is the way your chosen metal reacts to harder obstacles when they collide. 

How Density Makes Platinum Strong. Why it Wears Differently than White Gold

Platinum Ring Missing Diamonds and Deeply Scratched

Platinum can Scratch More Deeply Than White Gold. It can also bend.

Platinum is more dense than gold. The same amount of platinum weighs 60% more than gold. This is because on a molecular level there are more and smaller molecules packed into that little bit of space in platinum. Platinum’s density allows it to be used in a purer form than gold. This density translates to strength. But, that does not make it Superman. Or if it does make it Superman, its Kryptonite is the daily-wear bashing about it gets. Platinum is a soft metal. When it gets a scratch or a micro-dent, it is actually moving out of the way of the harder item it is colliding with.

Dents and scratches on Platinum Band

Platinum Dents and Deforms When it Contacts Surfaces.

14kt White gold, which has been alloyed with stronger metals to make it into jewelry and make its normally yellow color white, has become a harder metal than platinum. To compare, we’ll take two identical wedding bands. Each band is 6mm wide and 2mm deep and high polished. Then let’s assume I hit each band against the same three harder surfaces. The white gold can leave a tiny bit of itself behind on the harder surface and show a scratch on its surface. The scratch will be very thin as the hard metal resists the harder surface. The platinum band scraping against the same surface moves, and its scratch may look a bit deeper. This is because the metal is softer. Its response to the surface is to yield, to get out of the way. But because of its density, it does not leave a bit of itself behind.

Scratched White Gold Band Ring

White Gold Ring Still Shining Even With a Ridiculous Amount of Scratching.

The final effect of this experiment is to show us that white gold, though it may have many fine scratches, is still shiny and can be worn quite a while, being banged about and still shine. Platinum by softly yielding and getting micro-dents gets to a state where no part of the surface hasn’t moved. Platinum becomes dull because of this. This dullness happens more swiftly than people like.

I give more detailed information on the behavior of platinum in my blog: White Gold vs Platinum, What’s the Difference?

Why Polishing Too Much Hurts Your Platinum Ring

Jewelry Cleaning With a Polishing Wheel

Polishing a Ring

One of my new clients had been married for six months and gone back and had her platinum wedding band polished up six times. Her little band was thin to begin with and I explained that if she kept polishing it, it would get too thin after a while.

Unlike the microdents and scratches platinum gets when hit or ground against a harder surface, when your platinum ring is professionally polished, we need to even the surface to hold the high shine. The polishing wheel and technique remove platinum from your ring.

Am I Against Platinum?

I’m not saying don’t buy platinum, I love its malleability. It’s fun to work with for certain designs.

It takes curves in hand engraving like a knife to butter. Beautifully.

In my opinion, if you are planning to choose platinum for your wedding ring choice, you should include details in your design, as opposed to plain, flat and shiny.

Dull Platinum, The Video

This video shows white gold and platinum next to each other as I discuss this issue further.


Don’t Chuck That Platinum Ring, Change it!

If you have a platinum ring that is dull all the time, there are possibilities you can consider to make it look nicer.

You might add hand engraving which adds interest and sparkle if the shape of your ring makes it a candidate. You could also consider adding other details or textures. What makes the dull look bad is if that is all you see. I added a hammered finish to a man’s platinum band. When it got dinged up, for some reason, it looked fine. The hammering changed the visual expectation of the band.

Designing For the Daily Wear Ring With Platinum

If you are going to design for platinum, think about differing heights in the design to add interest, engraved designs, and adding little diamonds on the band.  These touches will create sparkle and shiny areas on your ring.

Platinum Hand Engraved Wedding Set With Diamonds

After Dullness and Plain Finish on Her Engagement Ring, We Added Engraving. Now She Loves it.

Do you have a platinum ring that’s been looking dull? Something can be done about it.

Your Personal Jeweler,
Calla Gold


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About Calla Gold

Calla Gold is a Personal Jeweler and Author who takes pride in working with clients one-on-one to integrate their personal sense of style and taste into custom designed jewelry and repaired jewelry pieces.   Unlike typical Santa Barbara jewelry businesses, Calla Gold has no brick-and-mortar location. Calla Gold comes to you, bringing you the jewelry collection you want to see and collaborating with you to create unique custom jewelry. Calla also works with at-a-distance clients.

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Nancy Vassilakis
11 years ago

Thank you for another great article. I enjoyed reading it very much!


Lori Cooper
11 years ago

I have a hand engraved platinum ring that I love but it sure is scratched and dull underneath. The engraved wedding set you designed is one of the prettiest I’ve ever seen. You’ve inspired me to do something about my ring and bring back its beauty! I’ll be calling you Calla!

Linda Menesez
11 years ago

Calla, what a wonderful solution you came up with! I learned a lot in this article. I wouldn’t hesitate to refer anyone to you, who had a platinum ring that they were unhappy with. Actually, I wouldn’t hesitate to refer anyone with jewelry issues to you! Great article!


michelle gysan
michelle gysan
11 years ago

FANTASTIC ARTICLE. I always learn so much about jewelry from Calla Gold. Thanks again, for educating us about the quirks of platinum.

Linda Havlik
11 years ago

Whenever Ive noticed a beautiful Platinum ring it gave me a bad case of the “envies,” but now that I know about the downside I’ve decided white gold will be my next goal. Meanwhile, Calla you are a master jeweler. I really love the ring you redesigned to help your customer fall in LOVE again with her misbehaving wedding ring. Such service and passion you put into to your work…you roar!

9 years ago

Hi Calla Gold,

I’m not sure that I follow. Are you saying that platinum is softer (more malleable) than gold? I’m asking because that is patently not true. In fact, it’s the opposite. Where did you get your information?

9 years ago

Hi Calla, I’m interested in getting a platinum band for my wedding ring so I do have the same concerns as in your article. Would it be better if the ring is faceted? Like this one : https://www.etsy(dot)com/listing/167777003/custom-mens-or-womens-modern-unique?ref=related-2
Thank you!

9 years ago

I had a platinum ring made but realised the width was too thin for my liking after it’s been made! It’s been set with tiny little diamonds halfway around the band. Now I’m wondering if it’s possible to have it re-made to become wider, or does that mean just buying a new ring altogether?

9 years ago

Thanks for sharing the valuable information and i hope it helps many people. I too faced the same problem with my platinum ring. It was becoming very dull looking. I had to take it to the jeweler for polish work. Now I know a solution for it.

8 years ago

Hi Calla, You sound very knowledgable about dull platnuim rings so I’m glad I found this article! Yesterday I took my engagement ring to get the prong repaired (same place as purchased). I brought my thin platnium band along with diamonds half way around and mention I no longer liked it bc the back looks like metal. I asked if he could do anything about that like add diamonds all the way around but he said it wasn’t worth it. He said he can smooth it out and it would look beautiful, essentially he would fix it for less than… Read more »