The metal used to craft fine jewelry helps to determine its beauty, value, durability, and style. Platinum and white gold are two of the most popular metals, especially for engagement and wedding rings.
Gold is a durable, timeless metal that jewelers have used for centuries due to its beauty and versatility. Platinum has been considered a prestigious choice for jewelry since the 18th Century and is still associated with purity and elegance. Over the years, both metals have enjoyed immense popularity, with millions of people preferring one over the other.
Both metals are stunning, and the long debate about which is best continues today. When jewelry is new, it is difficult to tell platinum from white gold, and both options are gorgeous. However, there are key differences that can matter over time, and it’s these variances that often sway shoppers. The best way to make an informed decision is to become familiar with both metals and their features and benefits.
The Difference Between White Gold and Platinum
Quality jewelry stores in Chattanooga offer an array of dazzling platinum and white gold jewelry. Every piece’s lovely white metal appears identical to the untrained eye, but there are crucial differences.
Platinum is a rare silver-grey, very shiny metal. Its eye-catching sparkle creates a dazzling look when paired with diamonds and other gemstones. As a result, platinum rings appear spectacular on any finger.
Because it is approximately 20% denser than white gold, platinum is unlikely to bend out of shape. It can scratch and must be polished at least every year or so. Most platinum jewelry contains 5% of other metals such as palladium or rhodium that add strength.
Because of platinum’s rarity, luster, and color, it is expensive. It is more than twice as costly as white gold yet remains incredibly popular due to its many attractive qualities.
Yellow is the most popular type of gold jewelry overall, but white gold is the trendiest for engagement rings. Jewelry Informer experts say that 54% of US couples select a white gold setting.
White gold is an alloy consisting of yellow gold and white metals. It may also include copper. Alloying gold with these metals strengthens it. The whitest gold has the least amount of copper and gold. White gold jewelry is typically rhodium-plated to make it whiter.
Two different alloys are typically used to form white gold:
- Palladium white gold mixes palladium, gold, and sometimes silver. It is a hypoallergenic precious metal with a higher value than gold.
- Nickel white gold is made with gold, copper, zinc, and nickel. Although not hypoallergenic, this type of gold is more affordable than palladium white gold.
White gold is measured in karats, and 18-karat is the purest, typically consisting of 75% gold and 25% alloys. The more alloys white gold has, the stronger it becomes, but also less pure.
If a ring is made with 14-karat white gold, the metal contains more alloys, is more durable than 18-karat white gold, and is less expensive. The alloys can impact the color and luster to a degree.
Platinum and White Gold: A Comparison
Gold is a soft metal, but the composition of white gold makes it strong. White gold’s rhodium plating is harder than gold and provides jewelry with a durable, scratch-resistant surface that doesn’t quickly tarnish.
Platinum is often a first choice for jewelry made with a purer metal. Since it includes 95% platinum, it is purer than white gold.
At first glance, white gold and platinum appear identical, but comparing them side-by-side can highlight subtle differences, according to Seeds Scientific.
A careful inspection will likely show a slight variation caused by each metal’s natural properties. In its natural state, platinum appears white. Platinum does not fade, change color, or tarnish; over time, it takes on a patina and can show minor scratches.
Patina is a form of oxidation that causes platinum to change color somewhat and lose some luster. Many owners like the patina’s look, considering it elegant.
Gold’s natural color is yellow, and white gold only appears white due to the metals used to form it and its plating. Over time, even the best quality white gold will develop a slight yellowish color as its plating wears, but a jeweler can correct the issue by replating.
White gold is popular among those who want jewelry that will stand the test of time and everyday use. High-quality 14-karat white gold is exceptionally durable and rarely scratches. Because it contains more additional metals than 18-karat gold, 14-karat tends to resist scuffing, bending, and scratching.
The white gold prongs that hold gemstones in place are very durable because they are dipped in rhodium. As a result, jewelry doesn’t typically need repairs, and stones are unlikely to come loose.
Platinum is very dense, prongs are exceptionally durable and robust, and owners can be confident their diamonds are secure and won’t be lost. However, the metal tends to scratch during everyday tasks like washing dishes.
Platinum is considered prestigious and valuable. Its purity, durability, and beauty make it more expensive than white gold. Platinum jewelry maintains its value over time and will still fetch an impressive price far into the future. It is more than twice as valuable as white gold.
Because the metal is so pure, only highly skilled metalsmiths and jewelers can bring out its best qualities. Much time and effort go into the processes occurring between the time platinum is mined and fitted for a stone. Jewelry also requires routine maintenance, which can add to its cost.
White gold is made with less expensive materials, so it costs less. Gold is far more commonly mined than platinum, and many good jewelers can use it to design jewelry. Jewelry made with 18-karat white gold is more costly than 14-karat because of its higher gold content.
Although it is stunning, white gold is typically considered less prestigious than platinum.
Skin sensitivity can be a factor in deciding between white gold and platinum.
The higher cost of platinum is well worth it to those with allergies because its purity makes it hypoallergenic. Splurging on the more expensive choice means buyers never have to worry that their jewelry will cause itchiness or skin reactions.
White gold is often made using nickel, an inexpensive metal that can cause allergic reactions in some wearers. Shoppers looking for white gold jewelry may want to choose 18-karat, since it has a higher gold content, which minimizes the chance of reactions.
While both platinum and white gold are durable, each requires maintenance to retain its beauty over a lifetime.
Many people love the patina or slight cloudiness that forms on platinum over time, but those who don’t must take care to keep their jewelry bright. Jewelers recommend taking off rings when dealing with chemicals or doing activities that could scratch the metal.
The ideal way to ensure jewelry stays pristine is to avoid wearing it often and have platinum polished if it becomes cloudy. Professional polishing can restore the shine and give platinum new life.
It’s easier to care for white gold. Because it is a strong alloy, there’s no worry about slight dings from everyday activities. However, it is possible to dent gold since it is softer than platinum. If the metal is dented, a jeweler can restore it.
While jewelry trends constantly change, white metal is a constant favorite, and platinum is a favorite choice for engagement rings. Many brides prefer platinum because it is rarer than gold, extremely durable, and is associated with elegance. Platinum jewelry has a distinguished history and has long been associated with royalty.
Platinum is 35 times rarer than gold, which enhances its prestige. Every year eighty-eight tons of platinum are made into jewelry, while only 2,700 tons of gold are used. Eight weeks and ten tons of ore are needed to produce an ounce of platinum. There is one platinum mine for every ten gold mines,
Nevertheless, white gold wedding bands are the most popular. They are less expensive than platinum, ideal for those who want a stunning, memorable ring, and are not swayed by trends. White gold rings have a timeless, breathtaking beauty that appeals to many women. Rings made with 18-karat white gold are the purest and most valuable.
Some women who love gold jewelry prefer white gold because it is fashionably flexible and goes with anything. White gold also highlights diamonds’ brilliance.
Platinum vs. White Gold: Summing it Up
It’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons before choosing meaningful jewelry, especially engagement and wedding rings meant to last a lifetime. Several factors can impact the ultimate choice, and priorities will differ for each person.
Essential considerations are personal style, price, appearance, permanence, maintenance, and value.
Reasons to Choose Platinum
- You enjoy platinum’s prestige.
- A wearer has a nickel allergy.
- You don’t mind jewelry maintenance.
- You want jewelry that retains its value.
- You prefer rings that won’t be dented or banged up easily.
- You love platinum’s patina.
Reasons to Choose White Gold
- You want beautiful but affordable rings.
- You prefer a scratch-resistant ring.
- You love the stunning sparkle of rhodium plating.
- You prefer jewelry that you can wear most of the time during everyday activities.
- You prefer gold jewelry.