One of the most common dilemmas consumers face when shopping for a ring or other jewelry is what it should be made of. This question is especially pertinent when choosing a material for the piece’s setting, which needs to hold your gemstones securely. When making this choice, people often debate between platinum and white gold.
Let’s see how platinum and white gold compare and what their pros and cons are when used in jewelry.
Durability: How Does Platinum Compare to White Gold?
Platinum is one of the most durable metals you can choose for jewelry.
While it does scratch, platinum does not wear out and erode over time as easily as gold.
Although platinum can bend, it is harder to break, and this quality makes it a very good choice for ring prongs.
White gold is also pretty durable, but its hardness depends on its karat – the lower it is, the less actual gold the piece contains and the harder it is.
Although higher-karat items tend to be softer because of the higher gold content, this is somewhat compensated for by the rhodium plating white gold is usually covered with.
The top rhodium layer makes white gold harder and more durable.
However, keep in mind that although a platinum prong can be easier to bend depending on the alloy’s content, a white gold prong can be more brittle and easier to break.
It is worth noting that white gold will lose its rhodium plating over time and will have to be replated.
In addition, white gold is more vulnerable to erosion caused by household chemicals such as chlorine.
Platinum, on the other hand, does not have such issues.
Color: Aren’t White Gold and Platinum Both White?
Although both white gold and platinum are white, there is some difference in their appearance, especially when time passes. Platinum tends to scratch and develop a patina that makes the metal lose its shine and take on a grayish, matte look.
If you want to restore the luster of your platinum jewelry, you will have to have it polished. However, if you like the patina, platinum will be a good fit for your taste.
White gold does not develop a patina, but its rhodium plating wears out with time, exposing the jewelry’s lower layer, which has a yellowish color.
So, if you want to keep your white gold shiny and white, you will need to take care of it by having its rhodium plating restored periodically.
Platinum, White Gold, and Allergies
Platinum is hypoallergenic, meaning that it won’t give you a rash or skin irritation.
It is true that some platinum alloys may contain nickel, to which some people are allergic, but the nickel content in those alloys is so low that it is very unlikely to cause an allergy.
White gold alloys can sometimes contain nickel in a concentration high enough to cause a rash.
However, if the jewelry is rhodium plated, the plating will keep the nickel from coming in contact with your skin.
Problems start to arise when the rhodium wears off and the nickel-containing layer is exposed. In such a case, you will need to have the piece replated as soon as possible.
Alternatively, you can simply buy white gold that is certified as nickel free.
Weight: Does It Matter Which Is Heavier?
In general, a jewelry piece made of platinum is heavier than a comparable item made of white gold.
This might not seem like a big deal, but weight can become more of a factor if you are getting a bigger ring, for example, especially if a relatively large diamond is set in it.
So, before you buy, think about how a platinum piece would feel versus a white gold one when worn for an extended period of time.
Price: Platinum vs. White Gold
Although platinum has superior durability, the high cost of this metal is one of its biggest downsides.
White gold has its pros and cons, but when it comes to making a purchase decision, think about how much more you are willing to pay for platinum’s advantages.
If you are inclined to choose white gold, though, be sure to factor in the cost of replating the piece with a new layer of rhodium every 3-5 years.