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Platinum vs. Silver & Spotting the Difference Between the Two

Posted on March 18th, 2020 by Joe G

If you’re a jewelry aficionado, you understand the importance of the material behind the piece that you’re wearing. On a very basic level, it’s easy to determine the difference between silver and yellow gold jewelry simply by looking at it, but as you start to consider more specific materials, you’ll quickly realize just how many options there are. As a jewelry buyer in Chicago, we are here to help you navigate the different types of silver jewelry and what differences there are between the two.
While the two silver-colored metals are the same at first glance, there are many differences between the two when it comes to wearability, proper care, price, and more. Keep this information in mind when both buying and selling platinum and silver jewelry.

A Rich History

Did you know that both platinum and silver have been used since the ancient times, even dating back to 3000 BC? Both types of jewelry are not 100% pure and are mixed with other metals to help enhance both strength and workability.


In its pure stage, silver is soft and pliable, so it is mixed with metals such as zinc, copper or nickel to help add durability. Sterling silver refers to silver that contains 92.5% silver and is the type that is most commonly used. Silver is great for costume jewelry that goes in and out of style as it is one of the most affordable jewelry metals. Keep in mind that silver tarnishes easily and it has a duller, grey appearance compared to platinum. Over time, depending on how the silver jewelry is made, silver is known to lose its shape on thinner items, all silvers begin to tarnish and except the thicker made rings they can sometimes wear thin. However, with the proper care routine, silver can last for decades. If you do regularly clean silver jewelry correctly make sure not to ruin any stones that may be set into the metal that can be affected by particular cleaners.


South Africa produces most of the platinum in the world and it’s typically combined with iridium ( sometimes marked 90% platinum 10% iridium), palladium, cobalt, copper, and ruthenium. Purity levels for platinum are between 85 and 95 percent, and metals that have a purity of less than 80 percent aren’t considered to be platinum. Platinum has an extremely high melting point and is one of the strongest metals that is used in jewelry. It’s one of the most expensive precious metals that our jewelry buyer in Chicago sees on a regular basis. The only material more expensive is rhodium.

Which Material is Best?

There are pros and cons to both silver and platinum. Silver’s main appeal is its affordability while durability is the main benefit of platinum. For many years Platinum jewelry was much more expensive due to demand and the extra difficulty of casting and working with it. Your choice between the two will ultimately revolve around your budget and how often the piece will be worn. The purpose of the purchase will go a long way in determining which material suits you the best.

Visit Chicago Gold Gallery Today

If you’re interested in learning more about silver versus platinum or if you have an item that you want to sell to our jewelry buyer in Chicago, please get in touch with us today!

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