When it comes to jewelry, most people have a color preference. Some like something warm and classic. Others prefer the fun and whimsical look of rose gold and electron. Those who prefer the look of white metals, however, are left with a choice: white gold or platinum? Which one is right for you depends on your budget and specific needs. You see, when it comes to this fight, there’s no underdog.
Introducing the Two Contestants
White gold is what you get when you mix yellow gold with whitish metals like nickel and silver. By bringing in these stronger materials, you get gold jewelry that’s less prone to breaking and bending. Because these additives are less expensive than pure gold, their addition helps keep prices reasonable. To make the white brighter, many jewelers dip the completed piece in rhodium.
Platinum, on the other hand, is a heavy and precious metal pulled directly from the ground. In its pure form, it’s soft and highly resistant to chemical erosion. Many consider it the purest metal on earth. Its beneficial characteristics make platinum a mainstay in everything from fashion to automotive parts, electronic equipment, and dental tools.
Care and Maintenance
Due to their visual similarities, many people assume platinum and white gold age similarly. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. In this case, the resemblance between these two metals is only coating deep.
|White Gold |
The rhodium plating that gives white gold its silvery finish wears off over time. As it fades, you’ll be able to see the yellowing color of the metal beneath. Regaining that stunning finish means a trip to the jeweler and at least $60 out of pocket. How often you need to do this depends on your activity level and how regularly you wear the piece.
Some gold lovers, however, prefer the look of unplated white gold over shinier rhodium. If that’s you, then maintenance costs will be negligible.
When it comes to purity, platinum jewelry is hard to beat. It’s almost entirely free of additives. This lack of other metals prevents it from yellowing like white gold, but that doesn’t mean time leaves it untarnished.
As it ages, your platinum pendant or ring will lose its shine and acquire a matte finish. Its softness also makes it easier to scratch than white gold. Though some people prefer this look—because it lets their diamonds stand out—buffing can restore the shine.
Skin Reaction Potential
When deciding between platinum and white gold, you’ll want to consider the potential for allergic reactions. Is your skin sensitive? Have you ever gotten a rash from a fake gold earring or nickel bracelet? Then, you’ll want to opt for higher-karat white gold or platinum. Otherwise, either should work.
When it comes to metal allergies, nickel is the typical culprit. And it’s one of the most common additives in white gold jewelry. Though you may not be allergic to your ring at first, reactions become more common over time. Once you get up to 18K white gold jewelry, however, the potential for rashes dwindles to practically nothing.
Because of its 90 to 95-percent purity rating, platinum is regarded as the only truly hypoallergenic metal. For people with severe allergies to nickel, it’s often the only option. So, if you have a history of rashes or sensitive skin, we suggest sticking to platinum.
Lifespan and Durability
Most people want jewelry they buy to stick around a while. But, like with the above two categories, a longer lifespan comes at a cost.
White gold is the more durable of the two metals—at lower karats, anyway. At 14 karats, rings of this material are harder to scratch and damage than platinum ones.
More people know how to polish and repair white gold jewelry than platinum. This makes fixing these rings easier.
When platinum is scratched, the metal is moved from one place to another, not lost permanently like with white gold. This is one of platinum’s biggest advantages.
Jewelers who know how to properly buff platinum is hard to find. This means that if something goes wrong, fixing platinum jewelry can be a hassle.
Cost and Value
When it comes time to pick between white gold and platinum, budget is often the main differentiator.
Because gold is roughly 30 times more common than platinum, it’s substantially cheaper. Your standard engagement ring, for instance, will cost $300 less if it’s made from white gold. When compared to platinum jewelry, it’s also easier to work with.
When comparing rings made from white gold and platinum, the latter will always be more expensive. While its relative rarity plays a part, there’s also purity and weight to consider. As the heavier of the two metals, it’s typically valued higher. Platinum is also difficult to melt and requires heavy preparation.
White Gold or Platinum? It’s a Matter of Preference
The main advantage of white gold is its affordability. But keeping the ring shining and beautiful requires regular rhodium plating (unless you like the yellow-white look). At between $60 and $100 per visit, this maintenance can quickly erode initial savings. The inconvenience of getting it done can also pile up. But white gold’s heightened scratch-resistance makes it preferable in high-action environments.
While out of reach for those on a budget, platinum jewelry can be cost-effective in the long term. It does not require regular plating and will not fade or turn yellow with age. Furthermore, its purity makes it ideal for those with metal allergies or sensitive skin. In terms of durability, however, it’s more likely to scratch and lose its shine. White gold, however, is more resistant to scratching and is much more affordable than platinum. At higher purities, it’s also just as hypoallergenic. Its commonality also makes it easier to repair and sell.
Now that you know the difference between platinum and white gold, you’re better equipped to make a decision. If you find white gold wins the day, we invite you to browse Jahda’s catalog of American-made jewelry. With a wide selection of karats and sizes, Jahda Jewelry Company knows there’s something sure to hold your interest.