One of the most common dilemmas that couples have when browsing engagement rings is whether they should opt for white gold or platinum. An engagement ring is something you hope to buy just once, so you want it to be durable and made to last. So, what is the difference between white gold and platinum? Many people assume that one of these metals is better than the other. The question, however, is not “Which is better?” but rather, “Which is better for you?”.
How do they look different?
The differences in appearance are best viewed in person, with the two metals compared side by side. Although, it is not always easy to distinguish one metal from the other as they look almost identical to each other. The most basic difference between the two is that platinum is naturally white while white gold is yellow gold that’s been plated with rhodium to make it appear white. Although white gold is bright and lustrous, it can potentially dull with time. The metal tends to revert to a yellowish color, and will likely need to be re-plated every so often.
Platinum, however, will not change color and doesn’t tend to dull for quite some time. Daily, long term wear can result in platinum developing a natural patina finish, though this slightly matte surface is often preferred as it helps diamonds appear more brilliant and sparkly. If you plan on wearing your engagement ring and wedding band on the same hand, we recommend choosing rings of the same metal, so as to prevent one from scratching the other.
What levels of care do they require?
If you choose a white gold engagement ring, you’ll probably want to have it re-dipped in rhodium every few years or more often, depending on how much wear and tear it sees. Although platinum is denser than white gold, both metals will scratch and show marks of wear. In some cases, platinum may dull more quickly than white gold, but both can be polished at your local jeweler free of charge, or for a very small fee.
White gold vs. platinum price
Platinum settings can sometimes cost nearly double when compared to an identical style in white gold. Though they may look similar, there are a few reasons why these two metals are priced so differently. First, platinum is mined nearly 10 times less than gold each year, meaning it is rarer in the market and costs more.
A 14k white gold ring is actually only composed of 58% pure gold mixed with additional metals such as nickel, silver, palladium and rhodium. No white gold ring can ever be labeled as “pure white gold.” A platinum ring, on the other hand, is made of 90 to 95% pure platinum, a standard set by Tiffany & Co. Therefore, a platinum ring with identical dimensions as a white gold ring will actually contain more precious metal than the white gold piece.
Platinum is also denser than white gold, so it weighs more. Again, if you have two identical rings, the platinum piece will weigh more, even with the same specifications as the white gold ring. Platinum’s density also makes it incredibly durable, which is perfect for something like an engagement ring that is worn daily.
Platinum also requires special tools and skills to work with. To create a ring from platinum is much costlier than it would be for white gold, as it would demand more labor.
Which is more popular?
It’s difficult to say which metal is more popular. On one hand, gold has been used for jewelry making since ancient times. It’s come to signify eternity, wealth, wisdom and divinity. It’s the traditional metal for wedding bands and bridal jewelry. Think of all the metaphoric uses of “gold” – gold prize, gold anniversary, golden age, golden years, and the golden rule.
Americans, however, do display a slight preference for platinum. Platinum rings symbolize wealth and prestige. We can see the association in the “platinum credit card.” Hollywood stars have popularized platinum, likely making it more coveted than it would otherwise be.
Shop White Gold & Platinum Engagement Rings in San Diego
If this comparison hasn’t addressed all of your questions about the differences between white gold and platinum, we invite you to visit our showroom today to chat with our friendly staff. Leo Hamel Fine Jewelry & Engagement Rings Store has the largest independent jewelry collection in San Diego. We carry both white gold and platinum rings to fit any preference. Stop in today and let us help you find the dream ring you’ve been searching for!