Platinum vs. Silver: What's the Difference?

Platinum and silver have been used to make stunning and long-lasting rings, necklaces, bracelets, and other ornaments for years, and are among the precious metals you will find in jewelry shops today.

But deciding which one to choose for your jewelry can be difficult because, at a glance, both platinum and silver look very similar. Regardless, you need to be able to tell these two metals apart so you can make an informed decision.

Hopefully, with the following platinum vs silver comparison guide, you will be able to find the metal that best fits your style.

Platinum vs. Silver – The Basics



Of all the precious metals used in jewelry, platinum is the rarest and the most expensive. And contrary to what many people think, platinum is not a single metal like silver or gold; it is a family encompassing a group of metals that share similar properties. The family includes six metals – platinum, palladium, iridium, osmium, rhodium, and ruthenium.

Almost every metal in this group is used to make ornaments except osmium. Platinum, however, is the most popular. In most instances, the metals in the platinum family are used in alloying either to prevent tarnish or to strengthen the other metal.



Silver is yet another popular metal today and one of the most versatile. It makes beautiful jewelry and has been used as currency for centuries. It has also become very prevalent in the manufacture of electronics, thanks to its outstanding heat and electricity conductivity.

One of the reasons silver is a popular material for jewelry is that it is lustrous, easy to find, and cheaper than platinum. Unlike platinum, however, silver is prone to tarnish, which means items must be cleaned regularly and given proper care so they can last longer.

To make jewelry, silver must be combined with other metals to create a stronger and sturdier alloy because the metal in its pure form is very soft and can easily be damaged. The alloy, commonly known as sterling silver, is usually a blend of copper and silver or lead and silver, with pure silver being 92.5% and the other metal 7.5%.

The Difference Between Platinum and Silver

1. Resilience and Durability

The Difference Between Platinum and Silver
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Resilience is the ability of the metal to endure wear and tear or any form of damage. When buying jewelry that you plan to wear every day, this is one of the factors that you should consider, as you want to be able to use your pieces for a long time.

  • Platinum

Platinum is a strong metal with a very high melting point. This extra strength makes the metal a popular choice for engagement and wedding rings because valuable gemstones can be added to it safely and securely. Also, platinum doesn’t wear off over time, which lowers the risk of gemstones falling out of the ring.

  • Silver

Silver is a softer metal and, therefore, has a shorter lifespan than platinum. Silver jewelry has been found to lose its shape and weight after a period of wearing it.

You will not likely find an old silver engagement ring with gemstones still intact simply because, after years of wearing, the metal loses its strength to hold the stones in place.

2. Price

Some people don’t mind spending a little bit of money on jewelry especially when they know an item is going to serve them for a long time. Others appreciate options that are more pocket-friendly. When deciding between platinum and silver, you will want to think about how much you are willing to spend.

  • Platinum

As we stated earlier, platinum ranks among the most expensive metals we have in the market today. This is partly because it is a rare metal and one of the most durable.

Some people who want platinum jewelry but can’t swing the cost will go for white gold instead. It is an in-between option; less pricy than platinum and more durable than the traditional sterling silver.

  • Silver

When it comes to cost-effectiveness, silver undoubtedly carries the day. And because it is also easier to find than platinum, jewelry pieces made from silver alloys will likely be larger than those made from platinum.

In other words, when you buy silver pieces, you not only spend less but also get your jewelry in larger quantities.

3. Care and Maintenance

Care and Maintenance
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Whether you choose platinum or silver, your jewelry pieces will need proper care and maintenance so they can serve their intended purpose for many years.

  • Platinum

Jewelry made from platinum is very easy to maintain. Sure, it may not tarnish or get corroded, but over time, it can develop patina, a matte appearance that may make it look less shiny than it originally was.

Have a professional jeweler clean and polish your platinum items for you at least once a year to maintain their shine and luster.

Some people, however, will find the faded luster more of an advantage, as a somewhat dull platinum engagement ring will make the diamond and other gemstones on the ring look bigger.

  • Silver

Silver jewelry will require regular cleaning and care to keep its shine and to prevent it from tarnish. Tarnishing occurs when the sterling silver reacts with sulfur-containing elements in the atmosphere.

The reaction forms silver sulfide, the film that darkens the silver, and that’s what we refer to as tarnish. Polishing the silver can help restore your jewelry luster.

But tarnishing is not the only problem you will face with silver. Your jewelry will start chipping and wearing with time. To prevent this, avoid doing house chores with your jewelry on, and once you remove it, make sure you are storing it properly. We recommend storing each piece in a separate bag to avoid scratching against each other.

4. Skin Allergies

Platinum and silver are great for people with skin sensitivity and metal allergies because both metals are hypoallergenic.

However, sometimes the metals used to make silver alloys such as zinc or nickel can cause skin itchiness.

If you have problematic skin, make sure to check what metals are contained in the alloy used to make the jewelry you wish to buy. This is especially true if you are eyeing sterling silver. Platinum does not cause any skin reactions.

How to Visually Tell Platinum From Silver

How to Visually Tell Platinum From Silver
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Okay, now we know that platinum and silver are naturally very different metals. But what do our eyes see? Can you be able to differentiate between platinum and silver just by looking at the metals?

Platinum and silver can be difficult to differentiate especially when you are presented with the two metals for the first time. But platinum has a much whiter hue than silver. In fact, native Americans blended platinum and gold in the early days to make whiter, stronger gold alloys.

The extra whiteness in platinum makes it shine more than silver, and this may be the first thing you see when your jeweler presents you with the two metals.

If you ever saw a jewelry piece that got you wondering how the manufacturer got silver to look so shiny and pure, there is a chance that what you were looking at was actually not silver but a piece of platinum.

Other Differences Between Platinum and Silver

  • Platinum has a density of 18 g/cc while silver has 10.5 g/cc.
  • Platinum unlike silver will not lose metal when scratched, nor will it lose its net weight over time from scraping. This is because the scratched metal doesn’t fall off; it’s only displaced.
  • Platinum has a melting point of 3, 214.4° F while silver melts at 1, 763.24° F.
  • Platinum is highly inert and nonreactive. Silver is less inert and nonreactive.

Should You Choose Platinum or Silver?

Should You Choose Platinum or Silver
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Evidently, both platinum and silver have distinctive differences that make their good side and bad side. The main advantage of silver is pocket-friendliness but it is not as durable as platinum and requires regular cleaning and polishing to avoid tarnishing.

Platinum, on the other hand, requires less maintenance and will last for many years. But this comes with a higher price tag.

So, to make a decision you will be content with, think about the purpose you want your jewelry to achieve. If you are looking for something that you will be wearing every day like an engagement ring, it would be best to invest in platinum.

For everything else, you can go with silver. To be honest, both metals are great. Whether to choose one over the other will ultimately depend on your budget, style, and what you are looking to achieve.

To get the most out of your purchase, buy from a trusted jewelry store. Any professional jeweler will be able to give you tips on what’s best for you and provide options that will best fit the occasion you are buying for.

Tips for Buying Platinum and Silver Jewelry

While the type of metal to choose may be the biggest decision you will have to make when buying platinum and silver jewelry, there are additional tips you should have in your back pocket to make your purchase worthwhile. We have listed the most important below.

Make It Personal

Whether you are buying the jewelry to gift someone, for engagement, or to add to your own collection, buy something that matches the wearer’s style, personality, and preference. That way, the purchase will bring maximum happiness for a long time.

Do Your Research

If you haven’t bought platinum or silver jewelry before, it would be wise to learn more about it before making your purchase. You would likely not buy an expensive phone or computer without first doing your homework. The same case applies to jewelry, and especially if you plan on buying platinum.

Check for Hallmarks

Whether you are buying platinum or silver, always look for the hallmark engraved on the metal. This marking will tell you the purity of the metal used to make the piece of jewelry you are buying, so you can pay only for what is advertised.

For platinum jewelry, look for the words, “PLAT, PT, or Platinum, followed by numbers “999” or “950”. These numbers describe the purity of the metal, with “999” being the purest. For instance, an authentic platinum jewelry piece may have a stamp or engraving reading “PT999”.

If you are buying silver, look for a stamp or label reading “Sterling Silver”. Since sterling silver contains 92.5% of pure silver, a legit piece of jewelry would likely be labeled “Sterling Silver 925”.

Avoid Metal Alloys That Contain Nickel

This is especially true if you are buying silver jewelry. While sterling silver will mostly contain copper as an alloy, some low-quality silver alloys may include nickel, making the resulting jewelry unsuitable for people with sensitive skin.

Check the label to see what metals are used in your silver jewelry. If you are in doubt, ask your jeweler or consider platinum options; platinum does not cause skin allergies.

Visit Different Jewelers and Compare Prices

Don’t just buy the first piece of jewelry you see. Take some time and shop around. You may be able to get a similar piece at a lower price at a different store.

Online stores, for instance, are always most likely to sell their jewelry at a lower cost than physical shops, so make sure to start with these.

Find an Experienced Jeweler

A professional jeweler will always be ready to help, no matter how many queries you pose. To find the right jeweler, check for things like the Jewelers of America membership, the guarantee period offered on items, and any other signs of a reputable service.

See What the Fine Print Says

Keep receipts and any other paperwork that comes with your jewelry. If your jewelry piece is custom-made, check to see if it is returnable.

If you are buying the item for someone else, it is particularly wise to read the jeweler’s returns and exchange policy. That way, if the person does not like the item, you can always return it.

Would you like to learn more about how platinum differs from silver? Comment below with the aspects you would like us to talk about.

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