The Difference Between White Gold and Platinum - Engagement 101
 
 
 
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The Difference Between White Gold and Platinum

 

Platinum and white gold are two very different metals. The biggest differences between platinum and white gold are that platinum is a naturally white metal and is more dense and durable.

The difference in cost is primarily due to platinum’s rarity and higher level of purity in platinum jewelry. When comparing costs, keep in mind the maintenance required over a lifetime for white gold, such as rhodium plating to keep it white, reshanking and retipping the prongs.

Platinum may be a higher investment initially, but its enduring nature makes it the best value in the long run. Below is a table to help better understand the differences between the two metals. Keep these facts in mind the next time you’re at a jewelry store.

PLATINUM

WHITE GOLD

One of the most durable of precious metals. When scratched, metal is merely displaced and very little is lost. When scratched, slivers of metal are lost resulting in faster metal loss.
A real white metal Yellow gold mixed with whitening alloys, such as nickel. Will yellow without repeated rhodium plating.
Strength and durability creates the safest setting for diamonds. Metal moves with force rather than breaks. Gold is more brittle so increased chance of prongs breaking after repeated force.
Loses very little metal to everyday wear; little maintenance required. Loses metal at faster rate; may need to be reshanked or retipped with everyday wear.
Hypoallergenic, regardless of alloy Nickel alloy may cause allergic reactions
Platinum jewelry is 90-90% pure platinum Most gold jewelry is 59.5%(14K) or 75%(18K) gold
Platinum is 30 times more rare than gold About 2,700 tons of gold is produced and made into jewelry each year vs. 88 tons of platinum.
Platinum is 60% heavier than 14K gold and 40% heavier than 18K gold. You can feel a distinct difference between platinum and white gold.

Comments (3)

 

  1. 14-karat gold is really 58.33% gold & remainder is alloys. 24-karat = 100%. Whatever the gold karatage may be, divide it by 24 and that’s your percentage of actual gold in the piece of jewelry.

  2. Jill says:

    I just want to say that I had a set of 14 Karat while gold wedding rings. There was a diamond solitaire and a plain wedding band. I got them in 1963 and had them for thirty years. They never yellowed , I never had to have them rhodium plated , and the prongs were still fine after wearing for thirty years. White gold may not be as hard as platinum , but it is harder than yellow gold.

  3. Hi Jill. 18kt white gold actually IS harder than both platinum and sometimes yellow gold. In fact, that’s the point, it’s harder and more brittle than platinum, which is softer and more durable–meaning the metal can get pushed around but not lost, rather than scratched away like gold…Keep in mind, the higher karat the gold, the softer it is.

    White gold is never white, it’s sort of a gray-brownish color, without rhodium plating, that will eventually wear off.

    Note to editor, platinum jewelry is generally 90-95% pure.

    Keep enjoying beautiful jewelry guys–I know I will continue enjoying to make it!

    -all the best-
    Etienne Perret

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