Finding the perfect wedding band puts a lot of pressure on the prospective groom and bride– especially when it comes down to personal preference and price.
Two common band materials are titanium and platinum. Although platinum and titanium may look similar, there are a few differences that are important to understand and know.
The difference between platinum and titanium wedding bands is seen in four major areas: durability, color, value and cost, and weight. Although platinum has been more commonly used in wedding bands, the appeal of titanium bands is rising in popularity.
So, let’s look at what these four differences are and how they can impact the choice you make.
Besides looking at the four differences between these metals, we’ll also explore some of the drawbacks that choosing these metals can have.
Comparing Platinum and Titanium
|Affordability (Cost Range)||$800-$2000||$200-$1200|
|Commonality||78th in world||9th in world|
|Density||21.45 g/cm3||4.5 g/cm3|
Value and Cost
The value of these metals is significant.
Platinum is extremely rare. It is ranked as the 78th most common metal on Earth. This means that having a ring made from pure platinum is going to carry significant value.
Having a platinum ring that can be handed down as a family heirloom illustrates just how precious this metal is.
Because of its rarity, this means that a platinum ring is going to be a lot more expensive than other rings.
In speaking with an associate at Shane Co about the average cost of a platinum ring, she estimated that a 1mm platinum band would start at about $700.
As the intricacies increase, so does the price.
Titanium is a very common metal on Earth, it is the 9th most common metal. Its abundance is one of the reasons that titanium bands are seeing a rise in popularity.
Because of this commonality, these bands are substantially less expensive than platinum bands.
An average starting price for a 1mm titanium band is about $200.
These prices remain consistent with the thicker bands as well. Price increases as precious stones are set into the bands.
The titanium bands that are in the $1200 range typically have stones set in them, thus driving up the price.
Perhaps the biggest difference between these two metals is the density.
Platinum is five times heavier than titanium. This can make a substantial difference in how the ring feels to the wearer.
In looking at the numerical breakdown of these metals, we find that platinum has a density of 21.45 g/cm3 whereas 4.5 g/cm3 is the density of titanium.
Having these numbers shows that there is a considerable difference in the properties of these metals.
But what does it actually mean in terms of wedding bands?
In speaking to an associate at a jewelry store, the biggest difference is in the weight.
Platinum will be heavier, whereas titanium is much lighter.
In terms of casting and soldering, the density of the metal has little effect on the actual process.
Having a ring that can endure the rigors of the workforce to the mishaps that occur in home life is something that everyone is concerned about.
You don’t want to have a ring they have to replace in a week after your 10-month-old decides to use it as a teething ring.
You also don’t want a ring that will be in danger when doing a job that has a lot of manual labor.
When comparing platinum and titanium in terms of durability, they are both excellent options to meet the demands of most situations.
It is first important to understand how durability is measured for metals.
Hardness (durability) is measured using the Mohs Scale of Hardness. This scale was created by Friedrich Mohs.
He developed this by experimenting with different substances and discovering what materials that metal could scratch, and what materials can scratch that metal.
This scale is used for more than simply evaluating the hardness of metals; it is also used to measure the hardness of minerals and precious stones.
The Mohs scale is actually more well known for evaluating the hardness of a precious stone than it is for evaluating the strength of different metals.
The scale is base on a numeric scale ranging from 1-10, 1 being the softest metal and 10 being the hardest metal.
Both platinum and titanium place fairly high on this scale.
Platinum has been given a hardness that ranges from 4-4.5. This means that it is more resistant to getting scratches or being corroded.
However, in terms of malleability (the ability of the metal to be shaped without sustaining damage), that means platinum is a more difficult metal to shape.
Intricate designs seen on rings made of gold (which is extremely malleable) are less likely to be achieved when working with platinum.
Because of the material’s durability, platinum wedding bands require much less maintenance.
Additionally, if they are scratched or develop patinas (a film that clouds the metal’s luster), it is easier for repairs to be made.
They can be resized, but it is very costly and difficult to have it done.
Titanium is ranked at 6 on the Moh’s Scale of Hardness. This means that finding something that will scratch this will be much more difficult unless of course, you have some pure tungsten (ranked 7.5) lying around.
Bands made from titanium can still get scratches, but not as easily as bands made from gold.
If you were looking for fun and intricate designs with titanium, you can say goodbye to that dream.
Titanium can be formed into a simple band, but not much beyond that.
Because it is so difficult to work with, resizing is extremely difficult so you might be adding a diet to your list as well as a ring.
Jewelers can increase the band by half of one ring size.
Due to the high melting point that titanium has, sizing down a titanium band is not possible.
Buying a new titanium band is less expensive than getting a new platinum band, which makes the cost less difficult to bear.
Platinum rings can corrode over time when exposed to the wrong substances, like aqua regia and a combination of HCl (stomach acid) and oxidizing agents.
So, if your toddler happens to swallow your ring, there is trouble for both unfortunate parties.
You’re unlikely to encounter aqua regia because it is salt water that has high concentrations of nitric acid and HCl.
However, for everyday use, it is unlikely that a platinum ring will be corroded.
Platinum is resistant to single acids, saltwater, and sulfurous gasses.
Titanium rings are much more resistant to corrosion than even platinum. It will be dissolved in aqua regia, but that’s not saying much.
Most materials will break down in it because it is such a corrosive substance.
Having a boiling pot of hydrochloric acid will break down the chemical makeup of titanium but there aren’t many instances where this is likely to put you at risk.
If you’re a chemistry professor doing freak experiments, then maybe it’s better to avoid this metal.
The colors between these two metals may seem the same. However, they do differ slightly in the coloring.
Platinum has a color that is similar to white gold. It has a softer sheen and is usually described as a lighter gray.
Titanium, on the other hand, is a darker color that appears much more metallic.
In deciding between which to choose, knowing whether or not you can have different metals together is also a factor.
In this case, both metals have the potential to be mixed with others.
Platinum bands have a lot more versatility in what can be done to them due to their malleability.
The major color that will be present is soft gray.
As it ages, a platinum ring will lose its shininess. This is because of patinas; which is a process that happens to all platinum rings over time.
The metal is susceptible to the oils secreted from your skin.
This is combined with the wear and tear over the decades of wearing the ring.
Things such as the color and texture will be altered, but it is something that takes a very long time to happen.
You’ll be able to enjoy the shininess of your ring for years to come.
Although this process can make the metal look unappealing, some like this change because it helps to accentuate the stones that are set in it.
As stated above, a patina is a film that covers the ring, dulling the luster that it had.
Because of its strength, a platinum ring is also more likely to have small dents rather than scratches.
If well taken care of, a platinum ring can last for generations.
Titanium will not have any change in its color. Patinas are not something that will affect how the ring looks after decades of wear.
This can create a more pleasing aesthetic because it allows that beautiful shine to be there permanently.
Titanium is one of the best metals to have if you don’t want anything to change about it, which is true for ring size as well.
Titanium is more difficult to work with because of its strength and durability.
It is possible to have accents of gold or white gold added, but the options are much more limited.
Even if you decide to have an accent metal added to your titanium band, it does not change the potential for resizing.
Jewelers will have more options available in-store to look at because of the need to have rings in all sizes.
The lifespan of a titanium ring can also last for generations. It is a very durable metal and has a high cracking point, which means that even if it’s dropped repeatedly, it will be fine.
Unlike platinum bands, titanium metal should retain its natural shine as it ages.
There is no coating over this metal and so there are no outside factors influencing its color.
Engravings are also really important in making a ring special for a loved one.
Because platinum is a softer metal to work with, it is easy to engrave cute sayings on the ring.
You may think that because titanium is so strong, you wouldn’t be able to have engravings done.
However, it is also possible to engrave on titanium ring.
The process is a lot more laborious, but it is feasible.
Engravings that have a more delicate or fancy typeset would not work well for a titanium ring; these engravings would be much better on the platinum band.
Drawbacks to Platinum and Titanium
For titanium, its durability can be one of its worst qualities. When work accidents occur, it can make it extremely difficult to get the ring off.
To get the ring off, sometimes it is necessary to get bolt cutters to counteract the strength of the metal.
Although this won’t break your finger, this will put you in an excruciating amount of pain.
Lesson: Don’t wear your titanium ring to work if you are in a place where work safety is a big concern.
Perhaps it would be a much better option to wear one of the cheap, silicone rings.
It is also important to take your ring off before any swelling starts because once the swelling starts, there is no other way to get the ring off.
Luckily, replacing your ring relatively won’t make a huge dent in your pocket; they are relatively cheap when it comes to the world of rings.
Of course, having your finger in pain will be an unpleasant reminder to be more careful next time.
It is important to note that working accidents of this nature are rarer, so it is not a common occurrence.
Platinum is a much safer option when it comes to work accidents. It only takes a small amount of pressure to cut through the metal and free the injured extremity.
However, it does mean that you are going to have to find a new ring; and if you want platinum, you’re going to have to pay a lot more than you wanted to.