Monday, August 15, 2016

Why Do You Wear Jewelry?

Have you ever heard someone say that jewelry serves no purpose? That it's simply a vain way to decorate oneself? I have. Some will go so far as to say that in today's strained economy, jewelry is a decadence that one can do without precisely because it has no practical use. But I would beg to differ.

As someone who has always been fascinated by history and particularly archaeology, it has been my observations that we can learn far more about people and times past by looking not only at the practical artefacts (such as pottery or furniture), but also to items like jewelry and clothing. These items help us answer not only questions like "how did they do this", but perhaps more importantly, "why did they do this".  So back here in 2016, perhaps it's worth asking why one wears jewelry, rather than to what end.

 Let's look into this deeper:

Jewelry can be a capsule: As noted earlier, jewelry much like clothing has often served as a way to readily identify someone in the frame of their time and society. With visual cues and symbols, these items can be indicative not only of a time period, but also of mores and belief systems that help us readily recognise one another. Let's use this one as a simple example: From someone wearing a cross at their neck, you would assume they they believed in some denomination of Christianity, no?

A fine example of suffragette jewelry, displaying the ever-present green, white and violet colors of the movement. Photo courtesy of 
Here's another: In a time when women sought the right to vote, suffragettes in the late 19th and 20th century UK would wear brooches with gemstones in the colors purple (dignity), white (purity) and green (hope), which allowed the quiet display of one's political views. Some even say that the colors would spell the acronym GWV, meaning "Give Women Votes". The implication of this color symbolism was not clandestine, and so those displaying such colors were often arrested on suspicions of sympathy towards the equality of women.

A cloak brooch of later years, made in gold and various gemstones. Indicating that it has bridged the gap between being strictly practical and a jewel.
Jewelry can be practical: While most items I will mention here are from times past, it is worth mentioning that some did serve practical purposes. In a time of heavier clothing and definitely prior to the coming of the zipper, brooches were commonly used as a way to fasten things together. From cloaks to skirts to bags, these accents would start out as bits of steel and iron and would slowly evolve into the beautiful and intricate pieces we see even today. 

The chatelaine was the equivalent to a women's purse today: carrying anything and everything needed for everyday life. Photo courtesy of 
Similarly, the chatelaine would come into fashion as a solution to a lack of pockets. It is essentially a decorative belt which has a series of chains suspended to it, allowing housekeepers of the 19th century to carry everything from scissors and keys, to household seals and even thimbles. In the case of the wealthy and regal of the 16th century, this belt would have a chain that would carry their watch, a true sign of wealth and status. 

Hardly inconspicious, this Cartier timepiece present in this year's SIHH  High Jewelry Watch Collection represents everything people mean by blurring lines between watch and jewel. Photo courtesy of 

But even today, the timepiece is considered by some as jewelry, due to the incredible craftsmanship and delivery of gemstones and precious metals on the outside of already complex movements within. Curiously, a timepiece is fundamentally a practical tool, as it tells the time. 

Jewelry can be symbolic: This is the factor that I find most important in what I do. Outside of everything else that we've discussed so far, people wear jewelry most importantly because there is usually a symbolic meaning to it; something that resonates with them personally. Most people in the industry will make reference to bridal when discussing the symbolism behind jewelry and it's easy to see why: engagement rings and wedding bands have become the ubiquitous symbol of marriage, new beginnings as a couple and everlasting companionship. But just for fun, let me give you another example I experienced recently:
Refurbishing Jewelry: bringing life back to jewelry one piece at a time. Photo courtesy of 
A lady came to me the other day with questions regarding the jewelry she had recently inherited from her mother's estate. Out of respect for her mother, she wanted to wear these rings; but she could not comfortably wear these pieces that unfortunately did not reflect her personality and style. She was rightly conflicted, hoping desperately to keep them in the family, for even her daughter to pass on in time. So I immediately proposed something pretty cool. By refurbishing the ring, we could make use of the stones that are in the original, to create something that is more in keeping with her personal style. Furthermore, I suggested that her daughter join us in the process, that way it would be something that they could envision and create together.  

I don't know about you guys, but the idea gave me a thrill and for the lady, a happy tear. Not only are we taking something belonging to the family and passing it on; we're creating a lasting and cherished memory of loved ones working on items symbolising loved ones. 

So I guess what I'm saying is that we all have reasons for wearing jewelry. What's yours?

Sunday, June 19, 2016

3 Colored Stones You Should Consider for Your Engagement Ring Today

Confession time:
My heart doesn't get fluttery or skip a beat when I see a diamond.

I know what you're going to say: "But Gen, you're a gemologist; you talk about diamonds all the time, what's this crazy talk!". As a gemologist, I can certainly distinguish between a good and bad quality diamond; I love working with them for clients who adore them; I even geek out every once in  while either on this blog or with friends because I'm fascinated by all the science behind the beauty.  But should the day come that I am offered a special ring from a special someone,  I can't say that my heart yearns for a diamond...
A still of Marilyn in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953). Photo courtesy of
For a long time I felt like a bit of a freak.  What kind of girl doesn't like diamonds?  Aren't they a girl's best friend according to Marilyn and De Beers?  I felt rather relieved a few years back,  when a growing interest in colored stones for engagement rings came onto the scene. Finally I wasn't alone!
But then I began to see lists emerge of cool alternatives to diamonds and I realized that the people writing these articles just didn't get it. While I'm a fervent advocate of wearing only what you love, I do see the folly in using certain gemstones for this kind of ring. An engagement ring is in most cases, a piece of jewelry that will be worn lovingly everyday, and through pretty much every daily activity (and yes, pretty much everyone has confided that they do everything from working out, to gardening, to washing dishes whilst wearing their jewelry).

A typical example of a pearl engagement ring. Photo courtesy of

For instance, while people are recommending opals and pearls as interesting alternatives, all they're doing is setting their clients up for many trips to the repair shop. This is partly due to the nature of these gemstones; they're both soft, porous materials that are susceptible to crazing and damage when exposed to heat, soaps etc. But also, the methods used to set these gemstones (which take into consideration their particular properties) are not the most robust, making them poor choices for everyday wear.
A typical example of what can happen to inlays of opal. Photo courtesy of

So in response to these not-so-thoughtful lists, here is an unashamedly practical list of gemstones that will actually stand the test of time, and more importantly, of life :-)

Rubies and sapphires are long-standing pillars in the world of colored gemstones and it's easy to see why: They have an exceptional spectrum of color, which is bolstered by their very high lustre; this gives them not only the variety in color, but also the depth that is not usually seen in glassier-looking materials (i.e vitreous tourmaline). They're also durable; Corundum sits at 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness, meaning that it is highly scratch-resistant (to a lesser degree than diamond). Additionally, it has no cleavage planes; this means that unlike diamond, which is prone to cleavage if accidentally knocked, ruby and sapphire will not. And while people in the industry are freaking out about the ever-increasing prices in the classic ruby reds and sapphire blues, sapphires of different colors are still very reasonably priced.  For instance, fine green sapphire can be purchased at approx 600$/ct (Gem Guide May/June 2016 edition).
Ruby engagement ring designs. Photo courtesy of 
Beautiful sapphire engagement from Pinterest account Ken & Dana design
A lovely green sapphire and diamond engagement ring. Photo courtesy of

Spinel has long stood in the shadows of the above-mentioned gemstones. It comes from similar deposits as corundum and for a long time had been mistaken for the latter. With many specimens coming in the same hues as sapphire and ruby, it's easy to understand how the mistake could be made prior to gemology. But what I find cool about spinel, is that they sometimes have hues that are slightly deviant from the colors you would typically see in corundum. For those looking for unique tones of color, you'll find it in spinel.  They also do not have cleavage planes, and are at level 8 on the Mohs scale (which is still quite scratch-resistant). And for those who enjoy inclusions inside stones, spinels are typically home to trains of octohedral minerals; These inclusions look like mini-versions of what spinels looks like in rough form.  Cool huh?

Beautiful Mahenge spinel and diamond ring. Photo courtesy of  


Teal or greyish-blue spinel engagement ring. Photo courtesy of Pinterest account Pinelli Belle
Trains of octohedron crystals inside a pink spinel. Photo courtesy of

Chrysoberyl is not usually a stone that makes these lists and I can't really understand why; it has so much to offer! As an oxide (like the other two families listed), Chrysoberyl is incredibly durable; in terms of scratch resistance, it sits in between corundum and spinel at 8.5, which also contributes to the high lustre it can display. While yellow Chrysoberyl is not the typical canary-yellow hue that people see in diamond, it is more golden (which to me, has always translated as a warmer tone). Chrysoberyl is also the family in which you'll find Alexandrite. As discussed in another entry, Alexandrite is a color-change gemstone. For those looking for the stone with an unexpected feature, this one is it. If color and durability wasn't enough, Chrysoberyl is also known for it's cat's eye variety. Its ability to reflect the inclusions inside to look like a cat's eye is something that will truly make any ring stand out.
Exquisite yellow Chrysoberyl. Photo courtesy of
Alexandrite and diamond ring Pinterest account Omi Gems

A very fine example of Cat's Eye Chrysoberyl. Photo courtesy of

I've always said it: The jewelry one wears ought to be reflection of one's personality. It is not only a question of style or of loving an item. It becomes us, so to speak. Shouldn't your engagement ring feel the same way?

If you have a cool engagement ring (diamond, colored stone, or no stone at all), send us a pic! We'd love for you to share your story with us!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Mainely Tourmaline

We were recently on a hiking trip in Maine, where we got to take in the lovely scenery that can be found in the Acadia National Park. Our trail lead us to the top of Gorham Mountain, at which point we were standing on the last bit of cliff before the Atlantic Ocean engulfed all of the space beyond. Talk about a breathtaking experience!
Once back down from our perch, we got more familiar with the landscape down below and we went on the hunt for some gemstones. While Maine is primarily known for its delicious blueberries, epic lobster and the horror master Stephen King (all of which are, by the way, totally boss), it also happens to be a very gemstone-bearing state. Due to the metamorphic rocks that have formed in the region, Maine is home to numerous types of gems including Apatite, Amethyst and Beryl. However, the state gemstone remains Tourmaline and local jewelers were happy to tell us why.

Interesting finds in the Dunton mines. Photo courtesy of
According to our newly-found friends, Tourmaline is the first gemstone to have been commercially mined in the US. The story goes that in 1820, two young students and avid explorers  were out on a mineral prospecting trip near Mt. Mica when they noticed a glint of green shining from under the upturned roots of a tree. To their surprise, they had found a beautifully formed green crystal that was loose in the dirt. The following day, there was a massive snow storm which prevented the two from further exploring their findings. In the spring they returned to find crystals in all kinds of colors. When they found enough specimens, they sent them to a mineralogical expert at Yale who would later identify them as Tourmaline.
Mine owner Mr. Merrill in 1911 in one of the larger gem-bearing chambers. Photo courtesy of
Since then, people have been fascinated by the mineralogical prospects in Maine. In time, the mining would make way to the Mica and Feldspar industries. However while searching for these minerals, the residual ore would contain gem quality Tourmaline, and more recently Apatite and Amethyst.
It's easy to see why there would be a revival of Tourmaline in Maine. I like to call Tourmaline a chameleon stone because it comes in any possible color (tone, hue and saturation) you could think of.  To say that it comes in all of the colors of the rainbow would simply not do it justice.
''Eureka Blue'' teal tourmaline from Maine. Photo courtesy of
Parti-colored tourmaline. Photo courtesy of
Not only that, Tourmaline can also be bi-colored, meaning that it will display numerous colors in a single crystal (hence the name parti-color). The most common example of this is watermelon tourmaline. As the name suggests, the crystal grows with pink in the core structure and green on its outer layer. It looks pretty gnarly when it's sliced but even more so when its properly faceted.
Watermelon Tourmaline slice. Photo courtesy of
Faceted watermelon Tourmaline. Photo courtesy of 
Outside of color, Tourmaline is a gem enthusiast's guilty pleasure because its fairly reasonable price allows for the collection of many interesting and colorful specimens.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Luxury Manifesto

About a week ago, an industry magazine published yet another doomsday-style article regarding the meager prospects to be found in the Millennial consumer pool for diamond jewelry. They had produced market research to substantiate this; painting Millennials as broke, undiscerning hipsters fried by technology, more concerned by their electronics and ''experiencing life'' than in the luxury that is jewelry.

While I have heard some people from this generation (and the one before for that matter) take this stance and discourse on the matter, I hardly find that this interpretation of valuable market data constructive by my fellow industry authors. Let's look at it this way:
"Millennials graduated into tough economic times. Compared to our parent’s generation, we have more debt, less job prospects, and are less likely to own a home than the previous two generations”.
Market research was not needed for that nugget of wisdom. We have all felt how our wage-earning does not match the expanding cost of living. That said, it would not be the first generation to feel this kind of austerity. If we consider for a moment the generation that grew up in and worked through the Great Depression, these were people who knew disastrously dire circumstances which involved no job prospects, and home-owning was no where in sight for most; that's not even counting the looming threat of WW2. However, as the world emerged  out of this time, people did not lose the desire to own luxurious things. In fact the prosperity that would come post-WW2 gave birth to the jewelry trend that we know as Retro.
Big, bold and beautiful: Typically Retro jewelry. Photo courtesy of
If the industry could survive these austere times, it is because like everything else, it has learnt to evolve. Like our previous counterparts, we will have to evolve to accommodate our changing market. If your consumer market is undiscerning, perhaps it's worth developing programs and campaigns designed to show people the value of owning jewelry; that costume jewelry is just that, for costumes.
Costume jewelry. Photo courtesy of
If your consumer market finds diamonds too formal, perhaps it's time to consider opening up to colored stones, and not just the ''big three''. Perhaps rather than focusing on jewelry as the gift you receive in the context of an anniversary for instance (remember, the relationship spectrum has greatly changed over the years), you can develop campaigns that are about making someone feel special just because, or even doing something nice for yourself.

Just because.... Photo courtesy of
If you say that the consumer market is increasingly craving authentic experiences, why not offer it? I've personally seen a growing interest in custom design jewelry (mostly refurbishing old jewelry). Why is that? Because rather than picking out something ready made, they can have a direct hand in creating something totally unique while making use of something that is already close to them (usually an heirloom). For good measure, you can even offer to create a 3-D design of the item you will create thanks to CAD-CAM technology, making good on this generation's obsession with electronics.
CAD-CAM technology at work . Photo courtesy of
I hardly think that the Millennial consumer pool is ringing the death toll on our industry. Rather than looking at our current market with nostalgic sighs, asking why it couldn't be more like the one that came before; more proactively we should be telling ourselves that we'll just have to get more creative.
Are you in?

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Taking the Holes Out of Porosity

I came across a fairly recently cast ring the other day for evaluation (insurance purposes). As I was assessing its quality, I noticed some visible pits on the shoulders and on the prongs of the ring that I thought warranted some discussion with the client before going on with the appraisal. I already knew what this was, but there was something he could confirm for me. When I got a hold of him, I asked if the jeweler had done the work quickly. "Oh yes, he answered. Turned it around in less than a week for me!''. Bingo. This client had a classic case of porosity on his ring, very likely due to the casting which was done too quickly.

In more extensive cases such as this one, porosity can compromise the structure and the setting of the item, and would require recasting. Photo courtesy of  

What is porosity exactly? If you've ever made a cake, you'll know there are ingredients used to make bubbles in the batter that allow it to rise. While this is done intentionally in cake, it is not in jewelry. In recent years, casting precious metals into molds and waxes has become the most popular form of manufacturing jewelry. Roughly 95% of gold jewelry is produced this way and I can understand why: it's cost effective, less labor intensive, and successfully replicates designs (which is perfect for ring refurbishment).  
An example of surface-reaching pits. Possibly just superficial porosity. Photo courtesy of
The downside to this method is that the high temperatures used to obtain molten metal also allows the metal to absorb gases (usually hydrogen). If the work is too hastily cast and forces are not applied to drive these bubbles out, the bubbles get trapped in the cooled material. Mild pits in jewelry are in the best of cases a blemish  that can be repaired fairly easily. In extensive cases which involve full bubbles, cracks and folds, or where these pits or bubbles have gathered in crucial structural parts of ring, this can be a sign of a structure that is inherently weak and may break in time.

Filling porosity pits in a ring. Photo courtesy of

A proactive solution to porosity is also to avoid using wax molds such as this one which have defects which can in turn produce cavities in the finished product. Photo courtesy of
So what can be done about porosity in jewelry? Well this is all really dependent on how extensive the porosity is. If there are only superficial blemishes like pits, some jewelers will elect to fills the pits by soldering gold into them and then to rebuff the overall piece. If it's uncertain how extensive it is, the prudent jeweler will propose to recast the jewelry altogether. My personal experience has been that the reputable jewelers that detect these defects in their jewelry will opt for the recasting, as it means peace of mind for both the jeweler and the client. As for my client from earlier, I proposed that the client see his jeweler to make these changes before appraising his ring. His jeweler took care of it free of charge.
Have you ever experienced this kind of issue with your jewelry?

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Waves of Aqua

Photo courtesy of
Ever been caught up in a great big wave? Water seems all by itself very innocuous, harmless even. At times it feels tranquil and peaceful; but in an instant, it can become stormy and powerfully devastating. It seems fitting that people before us selected aquamarine as the stone to represent all of these feelings; using it as an amulet for health and happiness in times of peace, but also as protection against the perils of stormy seas. It even has the cool color to match...
A trillion-cut aquamarine. Photo courtesy of

What is aquamarine? It's a gemstone from the beryl family, meaning that it is a brother to stones such as heliodor and the more famous emerald. Unlike emerald however, aquamarine in its best quality is a fairly inclusion-free stone, which makes it a lot less difficult to cut. When it does bear inclusions, a tell-tale sign of a natural aquamarine is the tube-like inclusions resembling ''rainfall". It is the more commonly known birthstone of March and is best known for its enchanting blue-green color.  While some people covet the pure light blue color which is generally induced through heating, the greenish-blue hue is a beautiful sight to behold.

A rough crystal of aquamarine in its typical growth structure and etching along the faces. Photo courtesy of
It comes out of nature looking quite intriguing, really. Though they come in all sizes, aquamarine is most beautiful in rough form when they grow to be large hexagonal prisms. It is then that we can see the fascinating etch marks that run up and down the faces of the crystal. Not one is ever similar to the other, which makes each crystal a discovery of sorts.

                              The Dom Pedro Aquamarine at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.                                       Photo courtesy of
There are some exceptional specimens which grace the halls of great museums, however this hardly means that aquamarine is an unattainable gemstone. In fact, it's a stone which is quite tolerant to everyday wear; which makes it a great choice for jewelry. While of course it's always recommended to treat your gems carefully, aquamarine has a fairly high hardness level which lends itself to both casual and evening wear. It is not recommended to clean them in an ultrasonic machine if heavily included; however a simple cleaning with mild soap and a toothbrush is enough to restore its beautiful luster.

Photo courtesy of

Aquamarine ring. Photo courtesy of
Dangle earrings featuring aquamarine and diamond. Photo courtesy of
Rough aquamarine in jewelry. Photo courtesy of

I've always loved to watch waves rush up to the shore and then pull back away. It's entrancing, almost like it's calling out for you to join the tide. Finding such a feeling in a stone is so singular, don't you think?

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Are You Seeing Stars? We Are!

Asterisms recently made the news when a giant star sapphire was discovered in Sri Lanka; the owners claim that it is indeed the largest sapphire displaying an asterism ever found. They intend to sell the "Star of Adam" at auction with the stone currently valued at 100 million dollars.  But what is an asterism exactly and how does it occur?  Where and how often does it happen?
The ''Star of Adam'', weighing in at 1404.09cts is said to be the world's largest sapphire. Photo courtesy of
An asterism, as the name suggests,  is a reflection effect that is seen in some gemstones that takes the shape of a star. It's the result of light reflecting off of the many intersecting inclusions inside the stone. While most gemstones are regularly sought after for their clarity or lack of inclusions, in asterism-bearing gems, it is these very inclusions which give them value. But not just any inclusions can induce this phenomenon; certain conditions are required to produce this:

Diagram illustrating the parallel and long inclusions crossing in different directions to create the asterism effect. Photo courtesy of
1) The inclusions are generally:
- Long
- Thin
- Numerous
- Parallel to one another

These can be made up of anything from tube-like cavities, to rutile crystals (as is the case in sapphire). If this were not enough, there needs to be at least two oriented sets of inclusions that intersect in order to produce the star shape; so it takes quite the included material to achieve this. When light hits these inclusions, the reflection effect will occur at a right angle, creating the star-shape that you see both in the diagram above, and the picture below.

An asterism-bearing corundum, with arrows showing the likely location of the inclusions causing the effect. Photo courtesy of a reader, Marine Explorer.

2) The cut of a stone is also important. Ideally, the stone should be cut into a cabochon, or a polished rounded surface. This is because the effect is best seen rolling off of this rounded surface. Further, the cabochon lends its flat base to better display this effect.
A star-ruby displaying the hexagonal growth structure typically seen in ruby. Photo courtesy of
Star-diopside with its typical 4-branched star. Photo courtesy of
The rarely seen asterism in moonstone. Photo courtesy of
Star-Almandine, showing the angled 4 branches typically seen in garnet. Photo courtesy of
Rose quartz manifesting asterism. Photo courtesy of

So in what stones do asterisms occur? As mentioned earlier, it's the included materials that will display this effect; meaning that this can be seen in quite a few stones: you'll see this generally in rubies, sapphires, spinel, rose quartz (which can even display diasterism-12 branched star), garnet,  diopside and in rare cases,  moonstone. Stars can also have varied appearances based on the number of branches they possess; This can allow us to distinguish them. For instance, diopside has a 4-branch star whose branches are generally 90 degrees from one another, whereas garnet will display 4 branches at a slight angle. 

Examples of disclosed synthetic star-sapphires. Photo courtesy of
While synthetic materials in these gemstones have the ability to manifest this phenomenon as well, thankfully they are fairly easy to detect. Naturally occurring asterisms in gemstones will often have a hazy, almost blurred appearance, which is quite normal for anything produced in Nature. By comparison, the asterisms seen in synthetic materials are often too sharp and distinctively fine. It's very much one of those "too good to be true'' scenarios.

In case you were wondering, not all asterism-bearing materials have million dollar price tags (thank goodness!). In the case of star-sapphire for example, prices average anywhere between 1200-1600$ US per carat, when dealing in the finer quality materials. Let us know if you'd like to have one in your arsenal!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Beauty is in The Eye of the Beholder

While this can be said about people, we can also say this about gems. Though usually deemed less desirable because of its I color, I1 clarity grade, this particular diamond is a keeper of a surprising Valentine's day message. I'm sure on this day, both couples and single people alike will warm their hearts to this lovely sight. Happy Heart Day!!

A heart-shaped pyrope garnet inclusion in a 2ct diamond (I color, I1 clarity). Photo courtesy of

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Precious Metal Conundrum: Platinum vs. White Gold

I was recently helping a client with the creation of his engagement ring when he plainly asked me which precious metal was the "best" metal. His question was not uncommon: people are of course seeking enduring symbols of their commitment, especially when they can be so expensive. He had settled for a white metal, but could not really distinguish between platinum and white gold. While I could not give favor to one metal over another, there are certainly pros and cons for each to consider:

1)Price: Practically speaking, metals, like gemstones are sold by weight. So while both platinum and gold are considered rare mined materials and thus their value reflects this status, you will find that platinum is also much more expensive than gold because it is a denser material. Ask to be handed a band of each metal and you will feel the difference instantly. Today gold was selling at 1682.24$/oz. whereas platinum sells for 1302.47$/oz.

An example of allergic reactions to base metals. Photo courtesy of

2) Allergies: Research shows that about 10% of the population has some form of allergic reaction to the base metals (such as nickel or copper); these alloys are mixed into gold which allow it to keep its shape. People will  often try to counterbalance this by selecting a higher grade of gold content like 18kt gold. Alternatively, platinum finds itself to be 950/1000 parts, meaning that it is relatively pure. Thus it has been marketed as the industry's most hypoallergenic material.

Slight differences between white gold that has not been plated, that has been rhodium-plated, and where the plating has worn off in time. Photo Courtesy of

3) Color: As mentioned earlier, 18kt white gold is alloyed with other base metals in order to maintain shape, but alloys are also used in order to alter the color of the metal. In nature, gold is only yellow/golden. Because of its degree of metal purity, in time 18kt white gold will take on slightly yellow tinges. By comparison, platinum is again, relatively pure; and because it is found in nature as a white metal, the metal will stay as white as the day it was bought.

4) Wear: I didn't use the word durability here because it can be rather misleading. There are a couple of things to consider here:

An example of a gold ring that has worn thin with time and regular wear of the left; on the right, the same ring refurbished to have an evenly thicker shank. This is common maintenance for gold rings. Photo courtesy of

- Platinum is a very unmalleable material and is notoriously difficult to work with. This also contributes to the elevated cost of making platinum jewelry (jewelers often cringe at the idea of sizing platinum rings). For this very same reason though, it is sought after because it does not tend to thin out or loose its shape as other, more malleable  metals do. Gold for instance, can indeed thin out with everyday wear over the long periods of time.
A close up of the "patina" finish on platinum; this is the typical wear that can be seen in platinum when worn regularly because it does not keep its finish as well as gold. Photo courtesy of

-That being said, platinum is a soft material and is very easily scratched, meaning that it will quickly loose that high polish finish it had when it was first purchased. Gold on the other hand, will resist scratching a lot more and will maintain its finish a lot longer.

Ultimately, I told my client that there was no magic material that could withstand the pressures of everyday life. After all, no matter on Earth can do that forever, not even diamond (despite what people say about it being ''indestructible '', but that's another story). So I asked him to consider which of these factors had been most important to him and to run with that. He has, and I'm happy to report that operation surprise engagement is well under way :-)

Stay tuned!