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Platinum and titanium are two popular silver-hued metals used in jewelry and are especially popular for wedding bands. Although they look very similar in appearance, one is an expensive precious metal while the other is affordable and found abundantly.
Deciding between these two metals can be difficult, as they look similar but are vastly different from each other in every other way. We have highlighted the pros and cons of platinum vs titanium to help you make this choice.
What are Platinum and Titanium?
Platinum has a long history of usage, dating back to about 3000 BC. It is one of 4 precious metals and due to its rarity, is quite exclusive. It does not corrode, tarnish or fade and is highly durable. When used in jewelry, platinum is mixed with other metals, commonly copper, palladium, cobalt or iridium, to create a harder, more workable alloy.
100% pure platinum is hardly ever used in jewelry, but in general, the platinum purity in alloys are very high. Any alloy with less than 80% purity is not considered platinum, while most contain purity levels between 85% to 95%.
Titanium, on the other hand, is a relatively newer metal. Discovered in 1791 and named after the Titans of Greek mythology, titanium is the 9th most commonly found metal in the earth’s crust while platinum is the 78th most common (which explains why platinum is so expensive).
Titanium sits at number 22 on the periodic table and is known for its resistance to corrosion and its high strength-to-density ratio. Titanium used in jewelry is usually an alloy of 90% titanium, and 10% vanadium and aluminium. However, these percentages can vary. It was only in the 20th century that titanium began to be used in jewelry, and only in the last 20 years that it rose to popularity as a metal for wedding bands.
Platinum vs. Titanium Appearance and Durability
Both metals look very similar in appearance that the average person would find it very difficult to tell them apart.
Titanium is naturally a gray-silver metal but it can be anodized in other popular colors. Titanium can also be polished to gain a ‘satin’ finish, which adds a textural look to the metal. Due to its high resistance to corrosion, titanium does not easily tarnish and retains its luster, although it can oxidize under high temperatures.
In terms of durability, titanium is much harder than platinum, and does not scratch, damage or lose shape easily. This is also why resizing a titanium ring is generally not possible.
Platinum also does not tarnish or corrode, but it is softer than titanium and can acquire scratches which can affect its smooth appearance. Platinum also tends to develop a matte texture and grayish appearance known as a patina which can be easily removed with a professional polish.
Another benefit is that as platinum does not wear thin with usage, it holds gemstones securely, reducing the risk of them falling out. Although platinum is very hard, it can still be crafted into beautiful jewelry designs. Titanium, on the other hand, is too hard to be shaped into certain designs, such as rings with prongs.
In these cases, a mounting made of another metal can be added to the titanium band to hold the gemstone. Titanium rings cannot be tapered and are often found as parallel bands.
Platinum vs. Titanium Hypoallergenic Properties
Both platinum and titanium are the only two metals used in jewelry that are highly hypoallergenic and do not cause skin irritations to people who have metal sensitivities. Titanium is often used for surgical implants and body jewelry due to its 100% bio-compatibility. For those with metal allergies, titanium offers an affordable option.
Platinum vs. Titanium Value
The price difference between these two metals is considerable. Platinum jewelry is the most expensive of the precious metals due to its rarity, high levels of purity and the expertise and tools required to craft it into jewelry. Platinum is highly valuable and desired and buying platinum is considered an investment. Platinum jewelry can be seen as heirloom pieces, that can be passed down one day to the next generation. Like gold and silver, it is timeless and prestigious.
While titanium does not have this status, it is easy on the wallet and looks just as good. The quality, design and craftsmanship are what determines the price of titanium jewelry, with titanium rings ranging in price from $10 to $1000.
To put this in perspective, compare this platinum ring with this titanium ring. While both look very similar, the price difference is over $800!
Platinum vs. Titanium Weight
Titanium is extremely lightweight, which can be surprising considering how hard the metal is. Slip on a titanium ring and you may not even realize that you’re wearing one! Platinum, on the other hand, is much heavier and has a solid more precious feel to it. While some consumers prefer this, others like the lightweight feeling of titanium.
Platinum vs. Titanium Designs
Platinum is commonly used for both men’s and women’s designs, especially for rings. You can also find platinum in a range of other jewelry, such as bracelets, necklaces and earrings.
However, titanium is much more limited in range and finding a titanium ring for women can be difficult, as most retailers carry titanium rings for men.
Which Should I Choose?
Apart from their similarity in appearance, these two metals are so different from each other that comparing them is quite futile. They offer very different things and which metal you choose largely depends on your reasons for buying as well as your personal preferences. If durability and price are major concerns, titanium is your top choice.
However, if you are after a more prestigious, heirloom-quality item with more design options, platinum is perfect for you. Weigh the pros and cons of titanium and platinum before you buy to help you make your decision.
If you’re wondering where to purchase high quality platinum jewelry both Blue Nile and James Allen have got a very good collection of men’s and women’s rings at competitive prices.
You can also find men’s titanium rings at both those vendors. Click here for James Allen’s titanium rings and check out Blue Nile’s titanium ring range here.