White Gold vs Platinum … the eternal question

July 1, 2010 / Engagement Rings, Learn About Metals

Your choice of metals comes down to a personal preference, but let me give you a run down of the main features of each so that you can make an informed choice for your rings.

In jewellery, platinum is used in its almost pure form with most alloys being 95% pure platinum, making it a very durable and dense metal.  It wears down at a much slower rate than other precious metals making it an excellent choice for engagement and wedding rings.  Platinum is roughly twice the density of gold per gram, which makes a platinum ring heavier than the same ring in white gold. Polished platinum has a natural greyish/white colour and maintains this throughout its lifetime.  It has a tendency to scratch more easily than white gold, however its strength makes for a longer lasting piece of jewellery. Platinum is more expensive than white gold because it is a rarer metal that is harder to mine and refine as well as being a more difficult metal to work with.

White gold is an alloy of yellow gold and a combination of white metals, such as fine silver and palladium. White gold is alloyed to produce a strong metal that is suitable for use in jewellery, as well as to change its colour from yellow to white. The amount of pure gold in the alloy is graded as 18ct, 14ct or 9ct, all numbers which refer to the  amount of pure gold in the alloy. For example, 18ct white gold is a combination of 75% pure (yellow) gold and 25% white metals. The alloying process allows white gold to be fairly tough, hard wearing metal. It is not scratch proof, but will not scratch as easily as platinum.

The 18ct white gold alloy that we use at Larsen Jewellery is a combination of pure gold, palladium (a platinum family metal) and fine silver. The unplated colour of this alloy is greyish white. As a result of this, white gold is almost always Rhodium plated. Rhodium, a platinum family metal, is very bright white, reflective, and extremely hard. It is electroplated to the surface of white gold to produce a very thin coating of bright white metal to cover the greyish tone of the white gold. Rhodium plating will eventually wear away, but rings can be replated regularly and is cost effective in maintaining the appearance of white gold.

Platinum and white gold have their own properties that make them unique. The decision between the two will come down to what best suits your needs and wants.

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