Heavy Metal: White Gold vs Platinum

October 31, 2018

Engagement ring shopping is easy, right? Either you want a white or yellow mounting, and the rest is easy… Not so fast. While choosing a diamond is often the major part of the engagement ring purchase, don’t overlook the material of the ring itself.

You’ve narrowed it down to white metal. That’s a start. White metal has been very popular over the last 20 years. While yellow and rose gold are still very fashionable, there is no doubt that white metal still reigns supreme.

But what kind of white metal? Aren’t all white metals the same?

Simply put: no. Two of the most common white metals used for engagement rings at JB Hudson are 18kt white gold and platinum. While they both shine icy white in the display case, there are strong differences between them.

Why does a platinum ring cost more than one made with white gold? It all comes down to how much of the material is in the ring. With an 18kt white gold ring, 75% of the content of the piece will be pure gold. The other 25% of material will be alloys that help keep the ring white (manganese, nickel) and strong (palladium).

A platinum ring, for example, contains 90% pure platinum. The other alloys tend to be iridium, palladium, or rhodium. Since platinum does not need alloys to retain its white luster or give it strength, more of the metal can be used in jewelry. Since the precious metal content is higher with platinum jewelry over white gold, it demands a higher price.

So if both rings are white, why should you spring for the more expensive option? There are a couple distinct differences that give platinum an edge over white gold.

First, platinum will always retain its white color. Since platinum comes out of the Earth white, there is no need to apply a rhodium finish like white gold needs. As platinum ages, it develops a unique patina resulting from everyday wear. It does not turn the pale yellow that a white gold ring does after constant wear.

Secondly, platinum is a much more resilient metal than gold. When gold wears, the material is actually lost. With platinum, it simply moves out of the way. Over the course of a lifetime, the white gold ring will need more maintenance than a platinum one. Routine things to expect are rhodium finishing, rebuilt prongs, and replaced shanks. Platinum develops a patina that may need to be refinished, based on the owners preference.

No matter which metal you choose for your ring, they will both look stunning holding one of our diamonds in the center. At JB Hudson, we pride ourselves on helping couples become couples since 1885. At the heart of every ring purchase, or sales team is here to make sure you choose the right ring and diamond. Platinum or white gold, we’re here for you.

To make an appointment to see our bridal boutique, please contact us [here].