Platinum and white gold are two precious metals that look so similar, you might not even be able to tell the difference. But there’s more to them both than meets the eye.
Choosing the right metal is easier when you have all the facts. Here are the basics on platinum vs white gold so you can make the right choice.
Let’s look a little closer at these gorgeous metals that have us dreaming about romantic gestures, promises of forever and are guaranteed to put a twinkle in your eye – whichever one you decide on.
What’s The Difference: Platinum vs White Gold?
White gold jewellery is generally available as 14K (58.3% pure gold) or 18K (75% pure gold). Gold is mixed with other metals to form an alloy to make it stronger and therefore more suitable for crafting jewellery. Pure gold (24K) is very soft and doesn’t offer durability.
Platinum by comparison is a very strong and heavy metal, and is the densest precious metal that you can buy. If you’re thinking of jewellery that’s going to pass along through a few generations, this is probably it. Platinum can also be used in pure form due to its hardness.
What is Platinum?
Platinum is a naturally occurring white metal and much rarer than gold. This metal is heavier and harder, making it easier to craft jewellery in a purer form than gold. This is why it’s the more expensive option considering its purity is around 95%.
What Is White Gold?
White gold doesn’t exist naturally but is made from yellow gold mixed with white metal alloys like palladium or silver. It’s given a coating with a silvery-white metal called rhodium, which gives gold its beautiful shine.
How Can You Tell The Difference Visually Between Platinum And White Gold?
The easiest way to tell the difference is to look for stampings and markings. If you find a marking with the letters PT, Pt or Plat, that item is made of platinum. If you see a karat marking like K or k, followed by a number, it is made of white gold.
How To Choose Between Platinum vs White Gold
Both metals have their benefits. Platinum is more hypoallergenic, more durable, needs less polishing and is naturally white so it doesn’t need any plating. White gold is a bit shinier than platinum and it costs less.
Colour & Shine: Platinum vs White Gold
Platinum is naturally white in colour and because it’s not mixed with any alloys, it maintains its colour. It looks silvery-white and shiny and can look incredibly similar to white gold.
The alloys in white gold give it a light grey colour and it’s in fact the rhodium plating that gives white gold its appealing colour.
Price: Platinum vs White Gold. Which Is Cheaper?
One of the main reasons white gold might be more appealing is the cost factor. Platinum is more expensive because it is 30 times rarer and mined much less than gold.
With platinum being denser than gold, the same ring would weigh more if it was made of platinum and precious metals are priced by weight.
Durability: Platinum vs White Gold
Platinum has been known to be the hardest and most durable metal for jewellery. When it comes to durability, there is a difference in the way that platinum and gold handle surface scratches. If white gold is scratched, the gold is actually scratched away.
If platinum is scratched, the platinum gets moved from one place on the ring to another. This creates something called a patina finish and makes jewellery look like an antique. Platinum’s metal can be moved back into place with polishing because the metal is not actually lost like white gold.
Platinum can hold precious stones in place for a lifetime and often platinum prongs are used in rings made of white gold.
Popularity: Platinum vs White Gold
For those with an unlimited budget, platinum tends to be a popular choice for engagement rings because it is a rarer metal and more durable but also seen as a symbol of prestige.
Overall though, white gold is still the traditional choice. When freshly polished, white gold and platinum can look almost identical, and due to its affordability, white gold is more popular.
Other Lifestyle Considerations: Platinum vs White Gold
It’s important to consider that a metal could irritate your skin or cause an allergic reaction. Hypoallergenic metals help to minimise this if you are sensitive.
Platinum is the only true hypoallergenic precious metal that you can buy as it is 95% pure. With white gold being made from a mix of metals, some of these could cause a particular sensitivity so bear this in mind.
Which Is Better, Platinum Or White Gold?
When considering your metal choice, you need to understand how the metal behaves long term. With white gold, you need to understand that over time the rhodium plating finish will wear down and the jewellery will begin to show its natural yellow colour. When this happens, you’ll have to get it rhodium plated again by a jeweller. If you are very active or wear the piece often, this process can happen fairly quickly so know there is some maintenance involved.
Over time, platinum fades in a different way. It won’t turn yellow like gold but it will begin to lose its shiny finish and build a natural patina. Just like white gold, a platinum piece can be revived by a jeweller by polishing it.
The main advantage of white gold over platinum is affordability. The downside is having it recoated in rhodium, time-dependent on wear and tear. Consider the time and money to be spent on the maintenance process if you are thinking about investing in white gold.
Platinum is more expensive than white gold and can be limiting for a set budget. Long term, it can be more cost-effective as it doesn’t need any recoating maintenance.