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Choose Platinum Or White Gold Diamond Engage Ring?

When considering the purchase of a diamond engagement ring, often the first question that couples ask is: should we opt for platinum or white gold? In my opinion, the question should rather be: platinum or gold? White metal or yellow metal?

To illustrate my point, let's first consider the diamond itself: What is the desired size, or carat weight, of the diamond you are looking for? This will in turn be influenced by the price you want to pay for your diamond, and which of the four Cs you attach most importance to: cut, carat weight, colour or clarity.

Many people think of a one carat diamond, measuring about 6.5 millimeters in diameter, as the ideal size for an engagement ring - not too big and not too small. Now, a one carat diamond, which has excellent grades in all four Cs, might cost around £10,000, a pretty hefty investment for most people, to say the least. So, as with all major purchases, compromises will likely have to be made.

So as not to stray too far from my original topic, let's consider a one carat loose diamond costing, say, £2,000. This will most likely have a good cut, and be colour J (slightly tinted yellow) and clarity SI2 (inclusions which are not visible to the naked eye). A suitable setting for such a diamond might well be yellow gold, because the whiteness of platinum might accentuate the yellow tint of the diamond, whereas the yellow gold setting is more likely to complement it.

On the other hand, your main priority might be a pure colourless diamond with an ideal cut and few if any inclusions, but your budget remains the same at £2,000. In this case, the carat weight of your loose diamond will fall to around 0.65 carats, but your diamond will be ideal cut, F colour (colourless) and VVS1 clarity (tiny inclusions just visible under a microscope). And here's the best bit: a 0.65 carat diamond still measures about 5.6 millimeters across, just 0.9 millimeters less than the one carat diamond.

I could write a book about the various options available for round brilliant cut diamonds alone, not to mention the various fancy shapes of diamond that are available, but to return the subject of what metal to choose for your diamond engagement ring, the choice really has to be between platinum or yellow gold.

Why not white gold? Well, for one thing, white is obviously not the natural colour of gold, so in order to obtain the white(ish) colour, yellow gold is alloyed with a white metal such as nickel or palladium. As these metals, especially nickel, can be a skin irritant for susceptible people, and also because the alloy still retains a slight yellowish tint, the alloy is then plated with another, hypoallergenic white metal, called rhodium. This coating is very thin and can start to wear off after a year or two, and your ring will need to be re-plated in order to preserve its whiteness and its hypoallergenic qualities.

Platinum, on the other hand is used in virtually its pure state. It is pure white, very strong, does not tarnish and is the perfect complement for your white diamond.

So, to recap, the choice is really between platinum and yellow gold. A platinum ring setting should cost around £350, and a gold setting around £200 (these are internet prices - you can double them for the high street!). The extra cost of platinum can easily be absorbed by compromising slightly on the diamond specifications, if indeed £150 is really an issue when you consider that a platinum diamond ring will last more than a lifetime.

It is important to remember that the prices for loose diamonds and settings that I have used in my examples are internet prices. Expect to pay at least double on the high street for the same products.


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