It can be difficult to tell the difference between precious metals, especially when you’re choosing what to go with for a piece of jewelry. Platinum and white gold can be a challenge to tell apart at first glance, but each has its unique advantages and disadvantages.
We’ve outlined what you need to know about the differences in the platinum vs. white gold debate. Keep reading so that you can feel confident when choosing something like an engagement ring—one that fits your budget and will commemorate your love for your partner.
Platinum has a higher price and is rarer than gold, whereas gold is technically a purer substance. Due to the hefty price difference and similar uses, it can be hard to pick. To help you decide, we’ve made a thorough examination of the two different metals!
What Is Platinum?
Platinum is a rare precious used to make jewelry. It’s silver-grey in color and highly shiny. The show-stopping sparkle makes it look dazzling paired with diamonds or other precious gemstones. This means platinum rings are a gorgeous choice on any finger.
It’s a dense metal, about 20% denser than white gold. This makes it a strong metal that is unlikely to bend out of shape over time. However, it is prone to scratches and needs to be polished every few years. Also, its purity isn’t measured in karats like gold. Most platinum jewelry is strengthened with 5% of other metals like palladium or rhodium to make strong alloys.
Due to its color, high luster, and rarity, platinum is expensive. It’s two-and-a-half times to five times more expensive than white gold, which has some similar attributes.
When picking between platinum and white gold, you’ll need to know the strengths and weaknesses of each:
- Even rarer than gold
- Weighs more and is more durable
- Considered a symbol of prestige (just like in credit cards or membership cards)
- Has strong prongs which will hold your gemstones in place
- Though it looks similar to white gold, platinum is much more expensive
- Gets scratched and dulls overtime
- Needs cleaning and polishing every few years, which can strip away some of the platinum
What Is White Gold?
White gold is a popular metal used to make jewelry. Pure yellow gold is mixed with other metals white metals like nickel or palladium, to adjust the color. It’s measured in karats like yellow gold. 18-karat white gold is a classic metal with high purity.
White gold becomes more durable the more it is mixed with other metals. So, 14-karat white gold rings are more durable than the classic 18-karat. The 14-karat white gold alloy is 58% gold, and the rest of the ring is other white metals. This is important to consider because not only do alloys have lower prices, but the luster and color can differ slightly depending on the composition.
Of course, before you can choose between the two, you'll want to know the benefits and drawbacks of white gold:
- White gold is more popular than platinum
- It’s more affordable
- Due to the nature of alloys, white gold is durable and scratch-resistant
- White gold looks beautiful paired with fair or rosy skin tones
- White gold needs dipping (to replace the rhodium plating) every few years to maintain its luster and color (if it’s rhodium plated)
- It is usually mixed with nickel, which can cause allergic reactions
Platinum vs. White Gold
There is so much to explore when looking at the differences between platinum and white gold. Let’s take a closer look at how the two are similar and how they differ.
Platinum vs. White Gold: Purity & Quality/Composition
Looking deeper into the quality and composition of platinum engagement rings vs. white gold engagement rings can provide more information when making your big decision.
To understand how magnificent platinum is, it’s important to take a close look at its patina finish. Platinum patina is a divisive topic. Patina is a type of oxidation, and over time the platinum can change its hue slightly and become somewhat less lustrous.
If you prefer your platinum ring shiny and like new, it can easily be polished and revived. Platinum jewelry is usually 95% platinum and 5% other white metals. Since the platinum itself is so valuable, having some of it polished off could somewhat impact the total value of the ring.
The composition of white gold tends to be less pure than platinum. Looking deeper into what we explained earlier, white gold is measured in karats.
Karats signify the purity of the gold and, therefore, its value. A ring with a high karat may be purer, but it may be weaker and more susceptible to damage.
There is no 24-karat white gold. This is impossible due to how white gold is made. If you’re searching for purity, then yellow gold or platinum are better options.
This is made of 75% gold and 25% other metals. It has a high value but is weaker due to the high gold percentage.
The strongest option, this type of white gold is the cheapest due to its high percentage of other metals 14-Karat white gold is only about 58% gold.
Further, white gold can be rhodium plated. This thin layer of rhodium means it can reach ultra-shiny white colors that aren’t otherwise possible for gold.
Platinum vs. White Gold: Benefits
There are different benefits to white gold and platinum. You may choose white gold over platinum due to lower price, high durability, wanting rhodium plating, or knowing your partner loves gold and will look beautiful.
You may find yourself favoring platinum, on the other hand, due to its purity, prestige, being hypoallergenic, and thinking a patina finish is beautiful.
It’s also important to factor in the other price factors when choosing which metal is right for you. Consider how a rhodium-plated ring dazzles with a bright diamond or how a patina finish would complement opal or another precious stone. The price of your gemstone will also be an important factor when choosing the metal.
Platinum vs. White Gold: Color
Freshly polished white gold and platinum can look nearly identical to the untrained eye. You probably won’t see much difference in hue at first glance. Both are bright and gorgeous metallic white or silvery grey.
White gold has a slightly whiter undertone which may look beautiful if your loved one has fair skin, but overall, the hues of both metals are brilliant and look great.
Platinum vs. White Gold: Finish
The finish is where you can really see the difference between white gold and platinum. White gold will maintain a gleaming finish over time. It doesn’t need to be polished as often to keep a shine, and the rhodium plating we’ve touched base on before is gorgeous. White gold is sure to catch everyone’s attention and stay like new for years to come.
It’s important to understand that platinum will develop a patina over time. This is a natural reaction the metal has to oxygen, and your ring will need to be maintained if you dislike it. However, the changing finish of your ring is known to be a romantic symbol of love over the years.
Platinum vs. White Gold: Lifetime and Permanence
White gold, especially 14-karat white gold, is a durable metal that will endure over the years. It’s unlikely to scratch, which is a key factor for everyday life. Sorting through a purse or brushing your ring on a countertop is unlikely to cause any visible damage.
White gold prongs, which set gemstones in place, are often dipped in rhodium to be strengthened. Lower karat prongs are much more durable, and you are less likely to need repairs or lose your stone.
Where platinum is considered, the prestige of the rare metal comes with certain required maintenance. It needs polishing and oiling by professionals every few years. Also, because of how pure platinum rings are, they are more likely to scratch when brushed against hard surfaces, like when washing dishes or cleaning.
Due to the density of the metal, however, platinum prongs are extremely strong and reliable. Your beautiful diamond will be super secure, and you shouldn’t have to worry about losing it.
Platinum vs. White Gold: Skin Sensitivity
Platinum is hypoallergenic. This is where the purity of platinum really is worth the splurge for some people. It won’t cause skin reactions and itchiness.
White gold, however, is often made with nickel, which Is an inexpensive metal known to cause allergic reactions in some people. Make sure you find out whether your partner has any allergies to nickel before purchasing a white gold ring. If they have generally sensitive skin, you may want to buy an 18-karat ring to reduce the chance of unpleasant reactions.
Platinum vs. White Gold: Sustainability
Overall, mining is not good for the environment. Gold mining produces large amounts of harmful waste, which can impact the soil, air, and water. It has been attributed to damaging the Amazon rainforest.
Gold mining in Canada is smaller and more regulated than other countries and is more ethical due to the treatment of workers. If this is something that you and your partner care about, consider Canadian gold for your ring. However, these high standards of sustainable mining can somewhat increase the price of your ring.
Unfortunately, platinum mining is similarly not great for the environment. Due to its rarity, the mining and refinement processes of using platinum create a large amount of waste.
However, platinum, like gold, can be recycled, which may be something to consider when looking for your next piece of jewelry.
Platinum vs. White Gold: Value
Platinum is traditionally seen as highly valuable and prestigious to have. It has a high price tag and is a durable metal. This means it will retain its value over the years and will still be worth a high cost in the future. It’ll remain an impressive piece for years to come.
Due to its purity, platinum needs skilled, masterful jewelers and metalsmiths in order to bring out the best of this precious metal. It takes time and effort to create, from when it is mined to when it is fitted for a diamond. Platinum also requires maintenance over the years which may cost you.
All of these factors taken into consideration make platinum two-and-a-half to five times more valuable than white gold.
White gold is typically less valuable. It’s often made with inexpensive materials such as nickel, is commonly mined, and can be made by any number of jewelers. While it is gorgeous, there is less prestige than comes with platinum.
However, higher karat white gold has a higher value than lower karat, so if you want a valuable white gold ring, consider purchasing one fashioned with 18-karat gold.
Platinum vs. White Gold: Wear and Care
If you would like to prevent a patina on your platinum ring, it will require regular care and upkeep. For instance, remove platinum rings when you are using chemicals such as cleaning products or doing activities that may cause it to get scratches. The best way to keep a platinum ring is to not wear it very often and polish it when it starts to look cloudy. Taking it to a professional to be buffed and brought back to life will also revive your ring.
White gold wedding rings are easier to maintain. Gold is a softer metal than platinum and can get dented over time if you are not careful. However, due to the scratch resistance nature of the strong alloy, you will not have to worry about small dings in everyday life. Dents can also be repaired by a professional jeweler if you desire.
Platinum vs. White Gold: The Bottom Line
Before you make your final decision, it’s important to go over the pros of each metal one final time. This way, you can choose which is truly best for your loved one. Each factor is important to consider when choosing the perfect engagement or wedding ring that will be cherished for a lifetime.
Choose Platinum If:
- You or your partner has allergic reactions to nickel
- You want a ring that will retain value
- A little maintenance does not bother you
- The prestige of a platinum ring is important to you
- You want a ring that isn’t easily dented or banged up
Choose Gold If:
- You would like a lower price ring
- You love the ultra-dazzling look of rhodium plating
- You want a scratch-resistant ring
- You want to be able to wear your ring during most everyday activities