Platinum vs White Gold: Is Platinum Better Than Gold?

Fine jewelry is created from precious metals, or more commonly, mixtures of metals known as alloys. The diversity of alloys available today is large, and new ones are introduced from time to time, each with its own properties and prices.
Two of the most popular metals, platinum and white gold, are often compared. It’s a very common consideration because both precious metals are popular for fine jewelry and can both look very similar. But there are significant differences to consider in making your choice.
Vatche 187 Caroline Solitaire Engagement Ring
Vatche 187 Caroline Solitaire Engagement Ring
Although they share a silvery hue, the two are actually quite different in terms of color, durability, and price. Platinum is naturally white, more durable, and typically more expensive than white gold.
When choosing the metal for your engagement ring, there are a variety of factors to consider, just as there are four Cs of diamonds. You can use this article to determine which metal is right for your preferences, taste, and budget by learning some important information about white gold and platinum.

Platinum

With good reason, platinum is the most popular precious metal for engagement rings. Platinum engagement rings exhibit an undeniable elegance. Platinum wedding sets are favored by many couples, with the everlasting qualities of the metal serving as a cherished reminder of their eternal commitment. It is often associated with being ‘the best of the best’, and the appeal of platinum has become even greater than gold for diamond jewelry.
For a number of reasons platinum is more expensive than gold in jewelry applications, chief among them is that platinum is used in almost pure form, rather than mixed with other less expensive metals.
Moreover, it is a versatile, timeless metal that is naturally white (no need for rhodium plating) and will never fade or tarnish. As platinum is also hypoallergenic it will not irritate the skin as some gold alloys might, so it is especially good for those with sensitive skin.
Platinum Legato Sleek Line Pave Diamond Engagement Ring
Platinum Legato Sleek Line Pave Diamond Engagement Ring
The Legato Sleek line Solitaire from our own signature line is a best seller that strikes the perfect balance between a classic solitaire style and a contemporary design. A beautifully paved shank, fitted with the A CUT ABOVE® Hearts and Arrows Diamond Melee, draws the eye effortlessly upwards to the center filled with fire and brilliance.
Dense and malleable, platinum has many unique characteristics. Upon scratching platinum, very little volume is lost; most of the metal is merely displaced and can be repolished without significant metal loss. With wear, platinum develops a patina, a subtle texture caused by tiny scratches. Many people have grown fond of this look, akin to a pair of your favorite broken-in jeans.
A piece of fine jewelry, like anything with high economic and sentimental value, requires special care and cleaning. It can always be polished to regain its bright shine and can be polished repeatedly without noticeable wear. By comparison, other metals lose material over time and can eventually become thin and brittle.
When considering jewelry in platinum, ensure that you have an understanding of the width and weight of the jewelry. Rings crafted with this metal can be expensive to resize, be sure to do your due diligence when purchasing.
Platinum is composed almost entirely of platinum (95%) and 5% of other even more expensive metals such as iridium and ruthenium, which explains the higher cost of platinum jewelry. Expert craftsmen may have a preferred platinum alloy based on their experience, but no platinum alloy is necessarily "better" or "worse" than another.
The way the piece is crafted, the heat treatments, welding and soldering applied, and the overall skill of the craftsman are all as critical to the final product as the alloy itself.
Platinum is a wonderful choice of metal for jewelry that is durable enough for a lifetime of wear, and suitable to pass down to future generations as well. As with anything of high economic and sentimental value, the proper care and cleaning of fine jewelry is very important.

White Gold

White gold is also one of the most popular metal choices for wedding bands for both men and women. The white hue will always amplify the look of your diamond engagement ring, and the alloy gives it excellent hardness.
14k White Gold Verragio Renaissance 905R6 3-Stone Diamond Engagement Ring
14k White Gold Verragio 905R6 Engagement Ring
The design elements lend themselves well to this icy shine, featuring round brilliant-cut melee diamonds in order to make your diamond the true star of the show.
White gold alloy is a mixture of yellow gold and other metals that both whiten and harden the yellow gold. The reason why white gold is combined with alloys is because gold, as a metal, is extremely soft. If pure gold was used on its own in jewelry, it would bend out of shape very quickly - which is not ideal, especially for items containing diamonds or other gemstones.
White gold is not intrinsically white due to its yellow gold content, so that bright white luster you desire is generally achieved through plating with rhodium, a platinum group metal.
The rhodium is applied to the polished white gold item through a process known as electroplating. This is done in a liquid solution (sometimes referred to as “dipping”) where the gold item is immersed and an electrical current is run through electrodes causing atoms of the rhodium in solution to bind to the surface of the gold creating a very thin coating.
Depending on lifestyle and body chemistry the rhodium may eventually wear off in spots revealing the yellowish metal beneath and creating a discolored look. Rhodium can be reapplied in this case by polishing and re-dipping.
The gold carat weights most commonly seen in jewelry are 10K, 14K and 18K:
  • 10K gold contains 41.7% pure gold
  • 14K gold contains 58% pure gold
  • 18K gold contains 75% pure gold
On this scale, 24K is the maximum and it represents pure gold. However, as we’ve already covered, pure gold is too soft for most jewelry uses. Virtually all gold jewelry is therefore made with a mixture of metal alloys, expressed in terms of karat representing the purity of gold in the mix.
The use of alloys in white gold makes it less durable in comparison to platinum. White gold, however, is also a lighter metal than platinum, so it is ideal for people who do not want their jewelry to feel heavy. This might be especially true for earrings.
In addition, white gold is generally less expensive than platinum, making it an attractive alternative and an ideal choice for those who want the look of platinum with the heritage and tradition associated with gold.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that both metals provide obvious benefits. In the sections below, we have outlined both of their advantages and discussed the two factors that will primarily affect your choice, price and maintenance.
Platinum advantages:
  • Hypoallergenic
  • More durable (does not wear out)
  • Naturally white (no plating required)
  • Greater purity (so the value is greater vs white gold)
White gold advantages:
  • Better hardness (scratch resistance)
  • Costs less than platinum
  • Lighter weight
  • One of the most popular metal choice when it comes to rings
Expert tip: As you select your metal, consider any future jewelry purchases as well. An engagement ring and wedding ring, for example, should be made of the same metal so they match well.
Valoria Micropave Diamond Engagement Ring
Valoria Micropave Diamond Engagement Ring
Vatche 1504 Alegria Pave Diamond Engagement Ring
Vatche 1504 Alegria Pave Diamond Engagement Ring

Cost

If we look at the price, it is important to consider both the cost of buying and the cost of care. White gold is a more affordable option if you're looking at the sticker price. If you purchase the less expensive white gold, you can free up some of the budget to maximize other features of your ring, like the diamond.
Looking at the spot price of gold vs the spot price of platinum on the precious metals markets, one would not readily understand the prices of fine jewelry.
Platinum is relatively more expensive in jewelry applications owing to two factors. One, platinum is used in almost pure form (95%) whereas gold alloys commonly contain only about ½ to ¾ parts of the precious metal.
Secondly, and partly owing to the purity, the weight of a platinum piece contains more grams of the metal vs the same piece in a gold alloy.
This is the compounding effect that causes platinum jewelry to be more expensive.

Upkeep and Maintenance

Since engagement rings and wedding bands are pieces you'll likely wear each day, ensuring that the metal is durable is a must. Although scratches in rings or jewelry are inevitable, when platinum is scratched, the metal is not lost as it is in white gold. Rather, it creates that fascinating patina finish we mentioned earlier.
This is actually considered a beautiful thing by some cultures, a symbol of the length of time you and your love have been together. It differs from person to person, but some people embrace the platinum patina. Platinum can always be repolished to regain its bright luster.
White gold requires more maintenance and upkeep, in comparison to platinum. White gold items are usually rhodium plated to create the high luster finish most people want. Over time this plating can wear away making the piece dull in spots.
Repolishing and replating are necessary to return the piece to its full white, bright appearance. Platinum does not require plating and because the patina is a property many find desirable. Platinum items require little to no maintenance, other than simple cleaning (which should be done with all fine jewelry to keep it looking good).

Summary - Is Platinum Better Than Gold?

Is platinum or white gold better for rings? You might choose white gold to save money or if you prefer the feel of wearing a lighter-weight item.
However, if you prefer platinum, there is certainly nothing to discourage you. Its simple purity is a compelling characteristic of platinum, especially for engagement rings and wedding rings due to the symbolic nature of the occasion. The fact that platinum is super durable and will never need replating is another bonus.
In other words, platinum may or may not be better than gold - it just depends on your priorities.
A precious metal as beautiful and durable as either white gold or platinum is sure to please you. With some consideration given to lifestyle and maintenance issues, the decision is primarily based on price and feel.
If we compare white gold vs platinum solely on the basis of price, white gold is typically the more affordable choice. However, if purity, heft, and freedom from upkeep, such as rhodium plating, are important factors in the decision, platinum may be the right choice for you.
With any purchase, work with an honest jeweler or expert who can steer you in the right direction. It is a big decision, but one that is incredibly exciting!

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