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Platinum Vs White Gold – What’s the difference?

Originally posted on 22/08/2013 by Michael

Many of our clients have asked us to differentiate between white gold and platinum. Both these metals are often confused because to the regular buyer both of them look alike. Platinum and white gold are both shiny white, and both of them can be set with gemstones and diamonds. Which is why people want to know the difference.

To start off with white gold and platinum are two different metals, have different molecular structures, chemical compositions and so totally different characteristics. That said without having to dive too deep into science it can be explained in the simplest way by saying that Platinum is used in its pure form where as white good needs to be alloyed with many other metals to ensure it is strong and has that distinct white color.

A bit of metal science

Platinum happens to be a very dense grade metal with a specific gravity of 21.4, so a 4.0 mm ring which is made from platinum will be around one and a half times heavier than a ring of the very same measurements using 18ct white gold. Generally, the platinum used for jewelry is between 95% and 98% pure, and have a very small amount of other metals mixed in for added durability and strength. This makes it the ideal metal for people who have a certain sensitivity to metal which is why they may find commercial jewelry to be irritating to the skin. Also, given platinum’s density, it is very strong and so offers lots of strength with relatively little metal which is great for setting gemstones delicately. Despite the strength and density of platinum it is a very soft metal, so it will show scrapes and scratches easily compared to white gold. Also because platinum is rare it is more expensive than regular white gold.

White gold is an alloy of ordinary yellow gold plus a few other metals which are mixed in with it to change its color as well as add strength and malleability for jewelry making. Good white gold is often derived from a chunk of 24ct gold that is rich in yellow color gold. Then 25% of other metals are added, and the color changes to white. The same rule applies to 18ct gold, because it forms a strong alloy which is resistant to scratches and scraping. If you compare white gold to platinum very closely you’ll see that white gold is slightly greyish, this indicates that it been rhodium plated in order to create a brilliant white finish. Rhodium belongs to the family of platinum and a very thin layer is applied to the outside to get the classic white finish and make it tarnish resistant. This makes white gold great for wedding rings, plus it is slightly cheaper compared to platinum.

Conclusion

Choosing between a platinum wedding ring and one made from white gold is a personal one. Our opinion is that you should match the metal of the engagement ring to the metal of the wedding ring. However, this will depend on your budget and personal preference.

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