Platinum Versus White Gold
In custom jewelry, one of the top questions we're asked is which is better, white gold or platinum? With the skyrocketing price of gold, there's never been a better time to upgrade to platinum.
Find out everything you need to know to make an informed decision between white gold and platinum.
What is white gold?
White gold is silvery white when dipped in rhodium plating, which is a substance from the platinum family of metal. Without the plating, white gold is a champagne color because of the presence of pure gold in the alloy.
White gold is an alloy (mixture) of nickel, zinc, and pure gold. 14k white gold is about 58% pure gold and 18k white gold is about 75% pure gold.
Strength and Durability
Gold is the traditional choice for jewelry and will stand the test of time, but will thin after decades of wear and tear.
When a piece is brand new, it will look identical to platinum, but the white gold will start to develop a champagne undertone with wear and will need to be re-dipped in rhodium every year or two.
White gold is more affordable than platinum. However, the price of gold has risen during the Covid-19 pandemic and is hovering just under platinum, so it’s worth the investment when considering the cost of maintenance and wear and tear over your lifetime.
Since there is nickel alloyed in white gold, some people develop an allergy and cannot wear white gold. Consider this factor when buying an engagement ring or white gold diamond earrings.
What is platinum?
Platinum is a naturally bright white silvery metal that will not fade or change over time in your platinum engagement ring setting.
Platinum used in fine jewelry is 90-95% pure platinum, alloyed with either iridium or cobalt for stability.
Strength and Durability
Platinum is much stronger than white gold. It will last three times as long as gold in a platinum and diamond ring because it never loses its mass, so it will not thin out over time. Because of its more malleable state, you aren’t able to shear off a prong like you can with white gold. When a platinum ring is scratched, the metal is moved and can be polished back into place, whereas a scratch on gold actually removes gold.
This metal never needs to be re-dipped. Although a patina may develop over time, jewelers can always polish platinum to its original state, no rhodium needed. You are also less likely to lose a gemstone with a platinum setting.
Platinum is more expensive than white gold, but it is also about 30x rarer. For example, all the gold in the world would fill about three Olympic-sized swimming pools, whereas all the platinum in the world would only cover your ankles in an Olympic swimming pool. At 95% purity, it is much more dense than gold, therefore platinum is at a higher price point. With all these positive characteristics, jewelers agree platinum is well worth the investment.
Platinum is hypoallergenic, so if you’re worried about having sensitive skin or developing an allergy, platinum is the best choice.
Common Questions About White Gold vs Platinum
Is 14k or 18k white gold better?
24k gold is pure gold. 14k white gold is about 58% pure gold, or 14 parts pure gold and 10 parts zinc and nickel. 18k white gold is about 75% pure gold, with 18 parts pure gold and 6 parts zinc and nickel. Since 18k has a higher gold content, it is easier to repair because of its malleability and will hold your gems more securely. However, 18k white gold is more expensive than 14k because of the higher gold content. Although both options work well for fine jewelry, we recommend 18k white gold.
If I have sensitive skin, should I choose platinum or white gold?
Platinum is hypoallergenic, so it’s the best choice if you have sensitive skin. White gold alloy usually contains nickel, which some people are allergic or sensitive to.
Can platinum and white gold rings be resized?
Yes, all platinum and white gold rings can be resized.
Does white gold tarnish?
White gold does not tarnish to a bluish brown as silver does; they are completely different metals. However, the rhodium plating on a white gold and diamond ring can fade over time, causing the metal to change to a champagne color.
Does white gold turn yellow?
Yes, when the rhodium plating fades from daily wear. Depending on the wearer, this could happen every 6 months to a year. It’s easily fixed by having your jeweler re-dip your ring in rhodium! Some factors causing it to yellow are constant hand washing and solutions containing alcohol, such as hand sanitizer.
Can white gold be unplated?
Absolutely! If you like the champagne color of unplated white gold, you can choose to have your white gold engagement ring unplated, and then you won’t have to worry about the color changing and maintenance.
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