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Platinum vs. White Gold: What’s the big difference anyway?

As a designer, I work with clients all of the time who ask me these questions. White precious metals really allow diamonds to sparkle and have been the traditional choice for many who are in the market for an engagement ring. However, there seems to be a lot of confusion as to why platinum is so much more expensive that white gold, even when they are trading on the commodities market at a similar price per gram.

So what’s the big difference anyway?

Why Platinum?

Platinum is a very durable metal. Naturally it has a bright white color and the density of the metal makes it very durable over the long term. Pure platinum alloys contain 95% of platinum in the metal. Over time, platinum will keep its luster and is really easy to clean. The reason why it is much more expensive is due to the fact that it is a much denser metal and weighs about 60% more than gold. Since there is more platinum in the alloy used to create a piece of jewelry coupled with the fact that platinum is twice as dense as gold, means that platinum rings can cost almost 3 times as much as a white gold ring.

Benefits:

  1. Durability
  2. More pristine, pure metal
  3. Maintains luster and is easy to clean

Disadvantages:

  1. Heavy
  2. Significantly more expensive

Why White Gold?

White gold is not a naturally occurring metal. Gold is naturally yellow in color and in it’s original form, is quite soft. In order to achieve a bright white color, gold is mixed with other white metals to make it white and to create more strength and durability. Typically 14K gold is much whiter than 18K white gold since there is more gold and less alloy. In order to maintain a bright white finish, white gold is generally plated in rhodium to give it a bright white finish. Unfortunately, over time, the rhodium plating wears off and with wear will need to be re-plated over time. Because gold has a lower density than platinum, it is often white less expensive and more affordable.

Benefits:

  1. More affordable than platinum
  2. Alloy blends create strength in the metal
  3. Lightweight

Disadvantages

  1. Rhodium plating rubs off
  2. Alloys can cause allergic reactions in some people

I hope this helps clear up any confusion. I would love to hear from you! Tell me your preconceived perceptions about platinum vs. white gold. Shoot me a note in the comments below.

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Platinum vs. White Gold: What’s the big difference anyway? http://bit.ly/ONm8UU via @tracymatthewsny

A quick precious metal breakdown: Platinum vs. White Gold. http://bit.ly/ONm8UU via @tracymatthewsny

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