Overrated: Platinum jewelry expensive solution for non-existent problem

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Platinum is a particularly useful metal; over a third of the annual world production goes for catalytic converters, and new fuel cell technology depends on it as well. However, when it comes to jewelry, I think platinum is overrated.

I'm not questioning the rap your local jeweler may have laid on you in an attempt to upsell you into a platinum setting for your diamond. The metal does wear better than gold, holds a polish better, and would be worth more in a distress sale. I just don't think the difference between platinum and white gold is worth the price.

Platinum is currently selling for about $1,350 a Troy ounce, 69% higher than gold. The difference in jewelry price is even higher; while a 14-carat gold is only 62.5% gold, the balance less expensive metals, a good platinum ring is usually 95% high-cost platinum.

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While white gold is not as durable as platinum, it is still very durable, and millions of people have lived their lifetimes quite content with white gold. For the difference in price, you could afford to have your ring repronged once or twice during your lifetime, with enough left over to splurge on some knockout earrings.

I also feel that platinum has a cold, steel-like finish, where white gold's patina is much warmer. For those who like an industrial look in white jewelry, there are other options- palladium, titanium, and tungsten carbide. To show off your betrothal jewels, though, I'd stick with white gold.

Finally, platinum is more difficult for a jeweler to work with, as it has a higher melting point than gold. If you need to have platinum jewelry repaired, don't trust it to a bench jeweler without platinum experience; you could end up with a platinum puddle. Be prepared to pay a higher price for such skills.

Sure, there's a certain kick in knowing the ring on your finger is made from the same material as the pollution control of your car. For a 69% savings, though, I'd think white gold, and pocket the difference.

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