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If Your Ring Looks Dull, It Might Be Platinum Patina -- Here's What That Is and What to Do About It

White gold or platinum? It's one of the most common decisions in engagement ring shopping. If you prefer a silver band — and many do, believing it optimizes a diamond's sparkle — which do you choose? Some select white gold for its lower cost, knowing that the band will need to be "dipped" every so often to maintain its look. Others opt for platinum for its durability: its natural whiteness makes it resistant to yellowing. But it's important to know that the latter option has its own concern: platinum patina.

What is platinum patina?

Platinum patina is the change in finish and texture that develops on platinum as a result of regular wear. It's often described as a satiny or slightly frosted finish, although it can vary in color and appearance. Overall, it's a slight loss of luster.

Does platinum tarnish or scratch? Is that what patina is?

Platinum can show scratches, although the metal is resistant to permanent dings. Although platinum is stronger than 14-karat gold, it's actually somewhat softer. (We know that sounds confusing. Let us explain.) Along with the slightly frosted finish, scratches are considered part of platinum patina. But when gold is scratched, the gold finish is lost; when platinum is scratched, the platinum simply moves from one area on the ring to another. The metal can be moved back into place with polishing.

platinum patina comparison of rings with and without

Is platinum patina bad?

Depends who you ask! Some people love a vintage look and even ask if patina can be applied to a new ring. Others don't like the worn, antique appearance and prefer to maintain a freshly polished look. In Japan, platinum patina is actually treasured, as it's believed to symbolize one's journey along the path of life — wisdom, experience, perseverance and all that jazz.

How will platinum patina affect your ring?

Although platinum patina is common, there's no guarantee it will develop on your platinum ring. It depends on how often your ring is worn, the rigor you subject it to, and your personal taste! (One person's patina is another's warm glow.) Patina does tend to develop unevenly — the bottom of a ring will develop patina much faster than shoulders of the ring.

How do you get rid of platinum patina?

If it bothers you, there are easy ways to remove platinum patina. You can get your ring professionally polished; buff it yourself with a soft cloth to restore the shine; or carefully clean the ring with warm soapy water and a soft-bristled brush. You'll need to do this periodically, because patina does come back. Or you might not want to! Again, it's up to your personal aesthetic — after polishing up your platinum band, you might find you prefer the look of patina.

platinum patina polishing away

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