What Precious Metal Shows the Least Amount of Wear

Any precious metal is going to show scratches, regardless of whether it is palladium, platinum or gold. None of these metals is scratch resistant. The outliers for finish retention are sterling (serious scratching or denting) and stainless steel (minimal scratching or denting). The precious metals, including all the golds, platinum and palladium are going to scratch in a very similar fashion. In order, from our experience with thousands of rings, 18k yellow scratches the most and 14k nickel white (which we prefer not to use) scratches the least, with palladium and platinum in between.

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What Does Normal Wear on Precious Metals Look Like?

A super soft buffing wheel at high speeds creates the high luster on a newly polished ring. This initial mirror surface will quickly show scuffing. Even a fingernail and paper can scratch or mar the mirror finish. Normal wear on a high polish surface will include superficial scuff marks that can be made by hard leather, wood and plastic (such as purses, briefcases, dishes, steering wheels), and small dents made by steel objects (such as door knobs, pots & pans, car doors). Gouges can be caused by barbels, lifting rocks or other heavy objects, carrying heavy bags with metal in the handles, rock climbing, opening heavy doors like a walk-in safe, and general moving of heavy objects.

The Wear Resistance of Platinum

Platinum has great wear resistance. We've made thousands of platinum rings and have been very satisfied with how the surface of our rings wears over time compared with other metals. We use the finest palladium alloy available on the market and the premier caster of palladium to ensure the best purity and hardness possible. We also tumble the rings in steel shot for a day to work to harden the surface. It will show wear in a similar fashion to gold. 

Wear Resistance Vs. Hardness

Wear resistance refers to how much or little a particular metal wears down over time, i.e., loses weight. Hardness refers to the resistance to denting. Platinum has the greatest wear resistance, followed closely by palladium. 10k and 14k golds will have the greatest hardness.

How To Avoid Scratches on Your Ring

Any broad, high-polish surface will show scratches. The only way to avoid scratches on your wedding band is to 1) choose a stainless steel wedding ring and 2) have a textured finish. Otherwise, all precious metals and shallow/superficial finishes (matte finish, brushed finish) will eventually take on a similar patina of wear.

Other Jewelry Care Resources

Sizing, Repairs & Refinishing
Jewelry Care Instructions
Cleaning Your Jewelry
Redesign Your Old Jewelry
Skin Irritation
Mokume Care

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