Platinum and white gold are the two most popular metals among people looking to buy jewelry in white color. But which of these options is better? Let’s take a look at the difference between white gold and platinum rings.
Platinum is a precious metal that is relatively malleable and heavy. It is one of the most expensive metals used in jewelry, and rings made of it cost significantly more than ones made of gold.
Platinum is also resistant to corrosion and does not tarnish.
White Gold: How It Is Made
White gold is much cheaper than platinum. It is made from yellow gold mixed with other metals to make the resulting alloy harder and give it a white color.
Most white gold is covered with rhodium plating, which makes the color of the otherwise yellowish material pure white.
Platinum vs. White Gold: Allergies
The platinum used in jewelry is a very pure material – it usually contains less than 10% other metals.
For that reason, platinum is considered hypoallergenic, which means that it is highly unlikely to cause an allergic reaction in the wearer.
Even if a platinum piece contains nickel, which some people are allergic to, the content is usually low enough not to cause problems.
White gold can sometimes contain nickel, but the rhodium plating keeps it from coming into contact with the skin. It is only when the rhodium wears off that the underlying alloy can cause a reaction in someone allergic to nickel.
Buying recommendation: If you are concerned about allergies, then you can either pick a platinum ring or go with a white gold ring that is nickel free.
Hardness and Strength: Is Platinum or White Gold Better?
While the hardness of white gold depends on its karat, and the higher it is, the softer the alloy, the rhodium plating on white gold jewelry makes it relatively hard.
Platinum pieces, on the other hand, are often softer than white gold ones.
However, partly because of this property, ring parts made of platinum are not easy to break, whereas white gold ones tend to be more brittle due to their relative rigidity.
The bottom line:
Platinum is softer but stronger. If you go with platinum, your ring’s structure will be more robust, and its parts, such as prongs, will not be easy to break.
Choose white gold if you want to save some money, especially if you think that your ring will not be exposed to much stress.
Durability: White Gold and Platinum Compared
Platinum is very durable, and it does not wear away as fast as gold does.
This, however, does not mean that platinum does not scratch. On the contrary: Because of its softness, platinum will develop scratches over time, and its surface will become less shiny.
If you don’t mind this matt finish, you can leave it as it is; otherwise, you can always have your platinum ring polished.
White gold, on the other hand, will not lose the luster of its rhodium plating in the same way.
However, the plating will wear off after several years, and the yellowish alloy below will show. When that happens, you can have your white gold ring replated with rhodium.
How to choose:
Pick platinum for rings that you will wear often and want to last longer. While platinum will scratch, those scratches do not result in lost metal but rather in displacement of the material.
If price is an important consideration, then pick white gold for a ring that you will not wear very often. This way, you will pay less upfront than for a platinum ring, but you won’t need to pay often to have the ring replated with rhodium when it wears off.