Table of Contents
Platinum and silver look nearly identical to the naked eye, but one is an expensive, rare metal while the other is a highly affordable, more commonplace metal. Deciding on silver vs. platinum requires a little research, but we went ahead and did the work for you.
Below, our experts at The Oxford Gold Group discuss how these metals differ regarding price, durability, and maintenance. Whether you’re looking for fine jewelry pieces or precious metals to invest in, we’ll help you make the right choice.
Comparing Platinum and Silver
Silver and platinum jewelry have significant differences that might affect your decision when buying a new ring, necklace, or bracelet. Let us compare the two metals’ value, durability, appearance, maintenance, and investment usage to help you determine which one to buy.
Precious metals like platinum and silver have high value due to their limited supply and variety of uses in specific sectors, like the automotive or electronics industries. They’re little affected by inflation or economic downturns.
Silver is highly accessible, making it a more affordable metal to buy, whether it’s jewelry, coins, or bars. Platinum is one of the rarest metals on Earth, and only a few countries produce the world’s supply. Its widespread use in car manufacturing and restricted supply make it one of the most expensive metals.
When comparing the durability of platinum versus silver, platinum wins in a landslide. It has a very high melting point and is hard to damage. Platinum’s strength makes it preferable for fine jewelry with gemstone settings since the gems stay very secure. Silver can lose shape over time, which means that gems might fall out eventually.
Silver is an easily-scratched soft metal and is prone to tarnishing. Jewelry often combines silver and other metals to make it stronger. The most common alloy is sterling silver, which is 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% another metal, such as copper or lead.
Fine silver is 99.9% pure silver but doesn’t hold up as well as sterling silver for an engagement ring or other jewelry piece you would want to last generations. However, coins made of fine silver are common for collecting and investing.
While gold’s yellow undertone makes it a piece of cake to spot, platinum and silver seem identical to an untrained observer because the metals have matching gray undertones.
However, platinum is easily discernible from silver’s dull, gray appearance by its white hue and exceptional shine. Even the most well-polished silver alloys can’t compare to the luster of platinum. Additionally, platinum is durable and more likely to retain its good looks than the softer metal.
Silver jewelry needs regular cleaning and maintenance to preserve its appearance because the metal is prone to tarnishing. Silver reacts with traces of sulfur in the atmosphere, creating a dull film of silver sulfide on the jewelry piece. You can prevent wear and tear on silver jewelry by storing the items safely while doing activities like cleaning, exercising, or working.
Platinum jewelry requires much less maintenance. With proper care, platinum keeps its shape and shine for a long time. You might need to polish platinum jewelry occasionally to prevent it from becoming dull, but you only need to bring it to a professional jeweler for cleaning once a year.
Silver is a common precious metal investment because of its affordability compared to other precious metals. It’s cheaper than gold and platinum, but its price is similarly volatile. Silver and platinum both have demand in various industries, but platinum’s price is especially industry-driven.
Platinum is one of the primary metals in catalytic converters, which makes it in high demand in the automotive industry. As car manufacturers steer toward reducing their emissions, the need for platinum and other metals in the platinum family will likely rise.
Should You Choose Silver or Platinum?
Ultimately, your choice of platinum vs. silver comes down to your goal, budget, and preferences. If you’re looking to buy jewelry, platinum is more durable and requires less care than silver. It only needs an occasional polish, while silver needs more TLC to keep up its appearance.
Since platinum is strong, you wouldn’t have to worry as much about taking your jewelry off to avoid damage. It’s the best choice if you want a piece you’ll wear every day, such as a wedding or engagement ring. However, platinum is one of the most expensive metals on the market.
If you prefer the look of large jewelry, you’ll find many more silver pieces that fit your style than platinum jewelry. The metal is inexpensive, so large silver jewelry is widespread and affordable. Silver could be your best option if you switch out pieces often and want an extensive jewelry collection of quantity over quality.
Both precious metals are naturally hypoallergenic, so you shouldn’t worry about skin irritation from metal allergies. However, silver alloys sometimes contain nickel, which could cause skin irritation for people with sensitive skin.
Perhaps you’re looking to buy one of these metals as an investment. In that case, you should consider your budget and strategy. Platinum has a higher price, sometimes surpassing gold, while silver is much lower.
Although you’ll see bigger numbers with platinum, investing in silver allows you to buy a large quantity of units, increasing your chances of making a significant profit if the price goes up drastically.
Tips for Buying Silver and Platinum
You should keep a few things in mind when purchasing platinum vs. silver, including:
- The wearer’s taste and lifestyle
- Sensitive skin and allergies
- Your purpose for buying
When purchasing jewelry, choosing between platinum vs. silver depends on the wearer’s preferences and style. We recommend buying the metal with the characteristics that suit your lifestyle and personality. If you like to be cost-effective, silver jewelry is best. However, platinum rings and other jewelry are better if you need durable, long-lasting pieces.
For people with sensitive skin, platinum might be the best choice between platinum vs. silver jewelry. Platinum is hypoallergenic, but silver jewelry is similar to gold jewelry in that it can sometimes contain other metals that might irritate your skin.
If you want to try investing in platinum and silver, you have many options for adding them to your portfolio, including stocks, ETFs, and physical bars or coins.
Buying silver and platinum bars might be better for investing because their price isn’t affected by mint or design rarity like coins. However, if you prefer to have a beautiful collection of precious metals, many attractive designs of silver and platinum coins are available for purchase.
How to Spot Fake Silver and Platinum
Fine jewelry and collectibles can cost thousands of dollars, so knowing how to spot the genuine article is crucial to saving yourself the headache of getting scammed.
Check the Hallmarks
Not many people can tell how pure a piece of metal is just by looking at it, but there is a way to check. When shopping for your next silver or platinum ring, look for the hallmark, an engraving somewhere on the metal that notes the metal alloys and their purity.
For example, sterling silver is 92.5% pure, so its hallmark reads, “Sterling Silver 925.” Platinum jewelry might have “Platinum,” “PLAT,” or “PT” with the numbers “950” or “999.” A genuine piece of platinum jewelry might have an engraving that says, “PT999.”
Use a Magnet
Another way to test the authenticity of these metals is to use a magnet. Most precious metals aren’t magnetic, especially if they have a high purity level. Some jewelry pieces contain metal alloys with other metals mixed in to strengthen them, such as cobalt and platinum or copper and silver alloys.
If your jewelry reacts to a magnet, it could contain these alloys, so it’s best to have a professional jeweler assess its authenticity if you’re concerned.
Like platinum vs. silver, platinum and white gold can also be tough to distinguish, but it’s essential to know how to tell them apart if you want to avoid paying more than you should for a piece of jewelry or a coin.
Platinum has a high melting point and is very hard to dent, but gold is much softer. If you think your platinum coin or jewelry is fake, try using a little force to make a mark on its surface. If it’s easy to damage, it’s likely not platinum.
Always buy your jewelry and other precious metal items from trusted dealers. Sellers should have plenty of customer reviews that indicate how trustworthy they are. Researching your sources is vital, especially for online stores.
Invest in Your Future With Oxford Gold Group
Owning physical metals allows you to protect your assets even during a stock market crash or inflation. At Oxford Gold Group, we strive to help people learn how precious metal investing works so they can start building a solid retirement to support their family’s future.