One of the questions we get asked all the time when doing a presentation about engagement rings is, "can we get that in platinum?" When asked what about platinum appeals to them, most cannot answer. "I've heard it's better", they will say. Some know they need platinum because they have had reactions to white gold in the past but can't explain the reasoning behind it. In this blog, we will cover the differences between white gold and platinum and which is the better choice for jewelry.
What They're Made Of
The most basic thing to know about both materials is what they consist of. While both are white metals on the surface, platinum is the one that is truly white. White gold is actually just gold (yellow) that is alloyed (mixed) with other white materials to make it the color you see on the surface. Those materials are typically nickel or palladium. These are both truly white metals and both also serve as a way to make the gold more durable. Typically, you see gold in varying purities starting at 10K up to 24K. Even yellow gold in 10K, 14K, and 18K are alloyed with other materials to make them more durable. While 24K gold is valuable, it does not make the ideal mounting for an engagement ring. Platinum is not mixed with other metals to alter its color or durability making it 90-95% pure. Platinum is also a very heavy material due to its density.
This or That?
Now that we know what each material is, which is the better option? Both have their merits and serve their own purpose. It really comes down to what is important to you. The cost of the material could be a large factor in your choice. While the price per ounce of gold is more than platinum, the density mentioned above makes a platinum mounting of the same size cost much more than if it were in white gold. By choosing white gold, you could easily free up some room in your budget for other aspects of your chosen piece such as diamond size or quality.
Another important thing to know is that since white gold can sometimes be alloyed with nickel, some people cannot wear white gold. Nickel is a common allergen and when worn directly against the skin can cause irritation. Keep this in mind when shopping for your future fiance! Platinum is allergen free and can be worn by even those with the most sensitive skin.
Being that white gold has a base color of yellow, after some time you may notice some yellowing of your ring. This usually occurs at the bottom of the ring where your ring is in direct contact with objects throughout your daily wear. Yellowing of the ring can take place in the span of months or years. Many different factors can be considered when determining the cause. Body chemistry, medications, perfumes, chemicals, and environment can all contribute to how fast your ring will change colors. This can be remedied with a rhodium plating done by a local jeweler. Rhodium plating can run anywhere from $50-$100 and be necessary typically every one to three years. This may also affect your decision. Does the cost of the white gold maintenance outweigh the up front cost of platinum?
Durability is more than likely the most important reason why someone might be asking which is better. Again, the answer is not so straight forward. Platinum is technically a soft metal. When struck, the metal will actually move out of the way of the object it is colliding with. It can "scratch" easily but polishing will move the metal back into place. Prongs can get hung up and bend away from the diamond but then be bent back. White gold, however, when struck will not move. This can mean two things: either it will hold up and no more than a scratch will be visible or it will break. This would mean instead of the prong being bent it could snap off completely. When polishing a white gold ring, you are polishing away bits of gold dust so eventually after years of wear and polishing, the ring would thin and need replaced.
Some important things to keep in mind; white gold is more common in jewelry. It is typically the default option when shopping. White gold also has the potential to have a nice "shine" whereas platinum can sometimes look dull even after being polished. These are small things but they might help you decide which you would like. Rhodium plating is also free once a year with purchase here at Scott & Co. so the cost to maintain the white gold would not be on the customer.
What Will It Be?
In summary, platinum is more expensive, heavier, and requires less maintenance. White gold leaves room in the budget for a larger diamond, shinier, and more common. Either could be considered durable in their own right. Platinum is a great option for those with sensitive skin and would last longer. When it comes to sizing rings, because of the cost of materials white gold would be less expensive to size. Platinum can also be hard to work on so it may limit the number of sizes it can be changed. At the end of the day, taking all things into consideration, it is the customer's choice. If you have no other reason than, "That's what I want'" that is good enough for us and we can make that happen! Come see us at Scott & Co. and pick out your dream ring!