When shopping for an engagement ring, many women are deciding to forgo the gold band – and are then faced with a decision between platinum and white gold. Both are commonly used in engagement rings. Both are durable metals that can last for years. But each metal has its own unique properties.
The Difference in Colour between Platinum and White Gold
Platinum is naturally a white metal with a silvery shine and is used in a pure form. Typically, platinum rings are 950 plat (which means that they are 95% platinum and 5% iridium) or 900 plat (which means that they are 90% platinum and 10% iridium.) It will not tarnish or oxidize in any way, so the colour won’t change over time. The ring you buy today will look the same on your 50th anniversary.
White gold is actually a combination of gold and other metals, such as silver and palladium. (Very high quality white gold is an alloy of gold and platinum.) For 18k white gold, it will be 75% gold and 25% other metals. Your ring will be light grey in colour initially, and then rhodium plating is added to make it look more white and shiny. In fact, it will even appear shinier than platinum at first. But, although rhodium is very hard, over time it will eventually wear away, making the ring appear to have more of a yellowish tint. In order to maintain white gold at its best, it needs to be re-plated with rhodium every 6- 10 months, a service which we call our Refreshing Ring Rejuvination.
Other Important Differences between Platinum and White Gold
Platinum is a denser metal and more durable than white gold, meaning that a platinum ring will feel heavier than an 18kt white gold ring. It can also be fabricated better for complex ring designs and is the perfect precious metal to create settings for your diamonds and gemstones in. Its extra durability and wearability mean that your diamonds and gems will be held in place more securely and for longer than if you have gold settings.
Additionally, some people have sensitivity to white gold that is made with nickel. Typically, these allergic reactions can include a rash, redness, swelling or infection. For this reason, today most white gold does not include nickel, but if you do have an issue, then you should check before making the purchase.
When it comes to scratching, both white gold and platinum are durable enough for long-term wear but benefit from regular maintenance from time to time. Why? Because both metals often receive invisible micro-scratches, with one important difference to note here. When platinum scratches it will not remove metal from the ring, instead you get a displacement of metal, and it looks more like a bump than a scratch. Where if you scratch gold you are actually removing tiny pieces of the metal every time, which in turn can weaken and compromise the structure of your jewellery. In either case, burnishing the ring will smooth out the tiny imperfections to renew the lustre of the ring.
One other point we can’t forget is that platinum has a tighter cellular structure than gold does. What does this mean for you? Basically what this means is that I can achieve a mirror like finish on platinum compared to a high finish on gold. If you use platinum to set your diamonds in then this mirror like polish will reflect more light into your diamond and through a process called scintillation your diamond will pick up the extra light which in turn means that your diamond will sparkle more!
The Cost Difference between Platinum and White Gold
Platinum is a more valuable metal, and as a result, it can cost about twice to three times the price of white gold. For this reason, it is most often used for special occasion jewellery, such as engagement rings and wedding rings. It is sometimes used for dress rings, but it is rarely used for earrings, pendants, bracelets, or necklaces. White gold, on the other hand, is a much more prevalent and ubiquitous metal in all kinds of jewellery. The best and most economical use for platinum given the increased cost is to use it to make your diamond settings in, then the band of your ring can be made with white gold which is perfectly suited for bands.
So Is Platinum or White Gold Better for an Engagement Ring?
If you can afford it, platinum is recommended over white gold. Many people choose to make an investment in platinum for high-wear jewellery items that they consider important, such as engagement rings and wedding rings, because the platinum gives the diamond a nice clean look, it also adds more sparkle to the diamond, and in the end, this prestigious metal is optimal for setting a diamond, due to its durability and long-lasting colour.