Difference Between Platinum and White Gold

Platinum and White Gold Purity Difference

  • Platinum is a pure metal. Platinum used in jewelry is 90 to 95% pure, the remaining 5 to 10% alloy used is also from the platinum family.
  • White Gold is not pure.  18k White gold is 75% pure ( 750 parts per thousand ), the remaining 25% are different alloys such as copper, zinc, nickel, etc.  14K White gold is 58.5% pure (585 parts per thousant ), the remaining 41.5% are different alloys.

 Rhodium Plating Requirements

  • Platinum does not need rhodium plating.
  • White gold needs rhodium plating.  Natural white gold has a tint of yellow to it.  This is because pure gold was mixed with white metal alloys to turn the color white, so there is still some yellow color.  All white gold jewelry is rhodium plated.  Rhodium is from the family of Platinum and ist’s a naturally white metal.  Once the white gold is Rhodium plated, becomes completely white and looks like platinum.

Rhodium plating will eventually wear off with constant wear.  An 18k or 14k white gold engagement ring, worn everyday, will eventually loose its’ rhodium plating, specially at the bottom and you’ll see patches of slight yellow tint.

 Strength; Platinum Vs. White Gold

  • Platinum is a very strong yet malleable metal.  The molecules are constantly moving.  So when you hit your ring to a surface, you’ll get a dent in that spot, only because the metal (it’s molecules) moved to the adjacent spot.
  • White gold is strong, but not as strong as platinum.  Over time, it wears and gets thinner.  Prongs, specially on solitaires get thinner in time and will need re-tipping to add metal.

 Scratch

  • When Platinum gets a scratch, metal is not lost, it’s displaced.
  • When White gold gets a scratch, metal is lost.

 Availability

  • Platinum is more rare.
  •  Platinum is more than double the cost of 14k white gold and a little less than double the cost of 18k white gold.

 Durability Platinum Vs. White Gold

  • In time, when Platinum looses its polish, it becomes dull and has a slight tint of grey to it.
  • In time when White gold looses it’s Rhodium, it show tints of yellow.

Initially, both metals, Platinum and White gold, will look the same.  Platinum will cost more.
Over time, Platinum doesn’t need much maintenance.
Over time, White gold needs more maintenance.

Difference Between Platinum and White Gold

White gold ring on the left. Platinum ring on the right.

These are properties of each metal.  Know that no precious metal is indestructible.  If you are looking for my advice when choosing between white gold and platinum, pick the one that doesn’t stretch your budget.  If you do pick white gold, my recommendation is 18k versus 14k and go ever-so slightly heavier on the metal specially the prongs, so it will take a longer time for the metal to wear.  Wear and enjoy your ring!

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