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So, does platinum change color? The answer is yes and no.
We understand how confusing this answer can be. However, if you are familiar with platinum’s patina, you know what we are talking about.
If you Google “Patina on Platinum,” you will get dozens of results. Some will say that platinum lasts forever and does not scratch, others will say platinum is the most durable white metal, and a few will say that platinum does not tarnish.
So, what to believe and what not to… that is the dilemma.
Here’s the final answer that will eliminate any doubts you have about buying jewelry made with this white metal:
Platinum does not tarnish, but it does change color. You are probably wondering what the difference right is? The former refers to a change in the metal’s quality, and the latter refers to its appearance. You won’t see any wear and tear signs on your platinum jewelry when well taken care of. However, if you wear it 24/7, even when doing household chores, you will spot the subtle changes after a while.
These changes are referred to as patina.
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What Is Patina?
Platinum’s lasting nature is apparent in its luminous, stunning appearance and how it reacts to everyday wear. As a precious metal, platinum too is prone to scratches. However, the way it changes when it is scratched differs from gold.
For example, when gold is scratched, it starts to wear down, and the prongs holding the diamonds have to be re-tipped. As time passes, the gold thins, which is why it requires extra maintenance. You can get your gold jewelry re-plated, but this is quite costly.
Coming to platinum, when it gets scratched, the white metal simply moves from one place to another on the ring. Meaning: None of the white metal is lost. Consider a bar of clay. When you run your hands over it, clay moves from one place to another, and your hand comes off clean.
Each scratch on platinum condenses its atoms. Strangely, this makes the surface stronger. When the scratches increase, the ring develops a satiny sheen. This sheen shows a dark color in the light instead of the bright shine platinum is known for. This is called patina.
Some people like the look of patina as they say it gives a ring an antique look. However, if you like your jewelry shiny, you can get it polished professionally.
Caring for Your Platinum Ring
Yes, we did say platinum does not tarnish, but that doesn’t mean you can wear it while doing household chores, such as cleaning with chemicals, washing dishes, etc. The better you will maintain platinum, the longer it will last… perhaps a lifetime.
Here’s what you need to do:
- When working with harsh chemicals, like abrasives or bleach, remove your platinum jewelry as it will damage the gemstones and cause scratches.
- Avoid heavy labor and gardening while wearing platinum
- Get your platinum jewelry inspected by professionals at least twice a year if you accidentally bumped into something while wearing it. Regular inspections will ensure that the gemstones stay secure inside the prongs
- Cover your platinum jewelry with a muslin cloth and place it in a separate box to avoid scratching
- If you are thinking about getting your platinum ring resized, make sure the jeweler makes the changes using platinum. Sometimes, to save money, jewelers use white gold instead, which can leave dark markings where the ring has been soldered
Cleaning Platinum Jewelry
- You can buy jewelry cleaners specially made for platinum and gold from jewelers. You can also make a DIY solution of warm water and mild soap and clean the jewelry with a microfiber cloth
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to scrub the metal gently
- Rinse the jewelry with warm water
- Use a lint-free cloth to dry the jewelry
- Do not brush or soak delicate gemstones embedded in the jewelry, such as tanzanite, opal, topaz, and emerald. Check with your local jewelry for any care tips on gemstones
Platinum and Patina
After a while, the bright shine of platinum takes on a patina. As mentioned earlier, this does not mean that your platinum jewelry has been tarnished. It will appear a little darker than when you originally purchased it. This usually happens when light interacts with the scratches in the metal. You are more likely to see the dark edges when light shines on the scratches.
Often, this is referred to as natural aging and is considered one of the finest attributes of platinum. It adds a layer of beauty to it. Of course, you can get your brilliant finish back with a little re-polishing.
If your platinum jewelry has too many scratches, you can get it professionally buffed to bring out the original luster. Typically, platinum jewelry that has been re-polished will maintain its luster for 6 to 12 months, no matter your wearing habits. Ensure to find the right jeweler because most of them don’t have the right tools to perform this job.
White gold is often plated in rhodium to hide its yellow color. This metal, belonging to the platinum family, gives the jewelry a bright shine. It is often used on platinum as well. It produces a reflective, mirror-like sheen, so many people prefer it. However, remember that rhodium plating on platinum usually wears off quite fast. You might be going back to the jeweler after every six months.
When it comes to platinum, here are the facts: It’s hypoallergenic, 60% denser compared to gold, 30 times rarer compared to gold, availably in 95% purity, exceptionally malleable makes designing easy, has outstanding tensile strength, doesn’t oxidize and is a naturally-occurring white metal.
To recap: Platinum does not tarnish, but it does change color. It develops a patina that’s greenish-brown in color, resulting from light touching the scratches on the jewelry. With a little care and a few precautions, you can easily maintain your platinum ring’s shine.