Platinum and white gold, what’s the difference? If you’re looking to purchase an engagement ring you might find yourself asking this question. While the two metals look the same in appearance there are some key differences that are worth noting. In this quick guide, we’ll compare platinum and white gold side by side to give you all of the info that you need to know to make the best choice for you or your future fiance.
What is Platinum?
Platinum is an incredibly rare, naturally white metal. Platinum is one of the purest precious metals that you can buy consisting of 95% pure platinum with the remaining 5% being additional alloys. Platinum emits a cool icy hue and tends to intensify the natural brilliance and sparkle of a diamond center stone.
Benefits of Platinum
Hypoallergenic : No need to worry about allergic reactions, platinum is hypoallergenic making it one of the safest metals for people with sensitive skin. This is a trait unique to platinum as many precious metals are crafted using mixed alloys such as copper, zinc or nickel. However, the risk of reaction can be dramatically reduced when wedding bands are coated with a layer of rhodium plating.
More Durable Than Other Metals: Platinum is an incredibly durable metal ranking at 20% denser than white gold and 60% denser than yellow gold. While not immune to the damages of everyday wear and tear, platinum’s durability is a big appeal for engagement ring shoppers with active lifestyles.
Develops Patina: Similar to rose gold, platinum’s surface texture is known to change over time resulting in a frosted look referred to as patina. While highly valued in the fine jewelry world, it’s up to you if you like the look of the patina which can be quickly removed with a thorough polishing session if preferred.
No Plating Required: Strong by nature, unlike white gold, platinum requires no rhodium plating.
What is Gold?
When used in jewelry gold comes in a variety of forms including white gold, yellow gold and rose gold. The main difference between platinum and gold rings is color, platinum is naturally white and gold is naturally yellow. However, when comparing the two, people usually opt for white gold as it is similar in appearance to platinum while boasting a much lower price tag. To keep its silvery hue, white gold is finished using rhodium plating, when the rhodium plating fades the ring will reveal a yellowish tinge until it is re-polished and re-plated.
Benefits of White Gold
Popularity: White gold is one of the most common precious metals used for engagement ring settings and is widely sold by jewelers. In addition, white gold’s availability makes it more affordable than platinum.
Resistant to Tarnishing: A white gold wedding ring will not tarnish, rust or corrode with everyday wear.
Easy to Work With: Because gold is softer than platinum, white gold is much more malleable making it easy to resize and repair your ring if necessary. Plus, white gold can be easily crafted into fine intricate designs for a unique white gold engagement ring.
White Gold vs Platinum
To the naked eye, platinum and white gold have a lot in common. Here’s how things stack up when we compare the two side by side.
Platinum: Platinum is a naturally occurring metal that is 95% pure when used in jewelry.
Gold: White gold is a mixed alloy containing around 75% pure gold and 25% nickel zinc.
Platinum: Platinum is one of the most durable materials that can be used in an engagement ring setting. However, as with any jewelry worn on a daily basis, scratches and knicks are inevitable. When platinum is scratched, the metal shifts within the ring itself creating a patina finish.
Gold: 18 karat white gold isn’t the best choice for an engagement ring setting as it is known to be soft and malleable. Instead, most rings feature 14 karat white gold which is stronger and more durable than its 18 karat counterpart. Durability can be further improved when white gold is finished in rhodium plating to give the metal a shimmering white shine and additional protection from damage.
Platinum: Platinum does require a little extra TLC to keep it looking its best. Expect to clean your platinum jewelry on the regular with either a gentle cleaner made specifically for platinum or with a simple solution using dish soap and warm water. In addition, be sure to remove your jewelry when partaking in certain activities and while cleaning with harsh chemicals.
Gold: Similarly, white gold requires the occasional polishing session to keep it shining bright and can be cleaned using an at-home solution or a product manufactured specifically for white gold. Keep your white gold jewelry far away from chlorine-based detergents as they can easily cause damage to the piece. When not in use store your gold jewelry in a cloth-lined box to prevent any knicks or damage.
Platinum: Despite being nearly identical in appearance, platinum is more valuable than gold. Platinum’s high price point can be attributed to its rarity and density as precious metals are often priced by their weight. In addition, platinum is highly coveted as it is considered a status symbol in the fine jewelry industry resulting in an increase in overall value.
Gold: According to The Diamond Pro, a white gold ring will cost roughly 40-50% less than a platinum engagement ring. This price discrepancy is largely due to the fact that platinum is denser so more material is required to craft a ring making white gold the more budget-friendly option for shoppers.
Engagement Ring Settings
Some engagement ring settings pair fabulously with white gold and platinum’s clean white hues. Try these styles in either a platinum setting or a white gold setting to enhance your diamond or gemstone’s natural luster.
Solitaire settings feature a single diamond fixed upon a metal band that can be set with pave diamonds or be completely sleek with no additional stones.
Halo settings feature a center diamond that is surrounded by a circle of smaller diamonds referred to as accent stones. This style can result in the illusion of a larger center stone and pairs wonderfully with either platinum or white gold.
Also referred to as “antique”, vintage rings often feature Edwardian filigree, Art Deco symmetry and colorful gemstones. The pale tones of platinum and white gold emphasize bright stones like turquoise, amethyst, opal and blue enamel often used in vintage designs.
Featuring a center stone and two side stones, the three stone engagement ring design is said to represent a couple’s past, present and future.
Which Is Better - Platinum or White Gold?
At the end of the day, which is better comes down to personal preference, lifestyle and budget. Someone with an active lifestyle might prefer platinum for its durability. However, with a little extra mindfulness, white gold can easily stand up to regular wear. Perhaps price is at top of mind. In that case, white gold might be the way to go. Whatever you decide, don’t be afraid to shop around and ask questions, buying a diamond ring is a big investment so take your time.