Platinum is by far the most precious of any metal. The natural white color of platinum makes it highly desirable in that it is extremely bright, rare, expensive, and of course, attractive. Today’s platinum diamond engagement rings are designed for the ultimate light reflection and refraction from the diamond, making them incredibly shiny works of art.
Buying a Quality Platinum Diamond Engagement Ring
The purchasing process for a platinum ring is very different from that of a gold ring. Entirely pure platinum rings are quite rare, and often the purest form is a 95% pure ring. In a 95% pure ring, platinum should be alloyed only with cobalt or ruthenium as they are the only metals durable enough to provide enough strength in that level of purity.
Most commonly you’ll find 80-20 platinum rings that are mixed with iridium, but due to the softness of platinum, and relative softness of iridium compared to cobalt or ruthenium, these rings are prone to significant damage due to daily wear and tear. Remember, the alloy used in the ring will have to be able to secure a very expensive diamond in place, so going cheap may cost you considerably in the long run.
The good news is that regulations require jewelers to disclose quite a bit of information about their products to the buyer, and platinum engagement rings are no exception. Platinum rings are required by law to have a hallmark noting the purity and alloy used to make the engagement ring. Since platinum is evaluated on a 1000 point scale, a 95% platinum ring made with platinum and cobalt will be marked with something like “950 Plat/50 Cob,” signifying that the ring is made up of 95% platinum and 5% cobalt.
If a jeweler cannot provide this information, and there is no hallmark on the ring, don’t even think about buying it, especially not at retail price. There are very few ways (without damaging the ring) to know if at the core of the platinum ring is made up very inexpensive and/or low quality metals and a reputable jeweler should carry rings with a hallmark that at a minimum notes the amount of platinum in each particular ring.
Besides the fact that it is one of the strongest precious metals (in an alloy), platinum is also an excellent shiny metal. Arguably no other precious metal has quite the same shine that helps diamonds stand out even in low lighting.
When shopping for a platinum diamond engagement ring, however, it would be best to start shopping for the diamond first. This is where the tough decisions are first made. Diamonds earn their value from a number of features, from the quality of the cut, the clarity of the stone, color, and the carat size.
Fancy cuts, like heart shaped diamonds or brand name or obscure cuts command more money. However, if you can settle for common cuts like a radiant cut (which has just about as much light refraction as brand name cuts) or round cuts (which are common and less difficult to create) then you can afford to spend more on clarity, color, and carat size.
Color is a very important factor, especially for stones placed in platinum. Since platinum is nearly white in appearance, any yellowing of the diamond can easily stand out against a platinum white background. As a result, it might be advantageous to skimp on carat size to increase the color quality. Clarity should be considered as much as color, since a poorly formed diamond with a number of inclusions will be quite noticeable on a bright platinum ring. However, unless you desire a very expensive diamond, aim for a clarity rating of no more than vs1, or vs2, since inclusions that earn this grade are very rarely visible to the naked eye and are considerably less expensive than both vvs grades.
Carat size is perhaps the least important of all the factors, since the choice of a thinner platinum band will help make a smaller diamond stand out. Also, a number of settings are starting to feature slimmed bands around the base of the centerpiece diamond, which allows small stones to pop even on thicker bands.