Trying to decide on a metal for your wedding ring? Read our guide to learn more about the pros and cons of white gold vs. platinum rings.
What is the Difference Between White Gold & Platinum?
White gold is not a naturally occurring metal and there is no such thing as “pure white gold”. In fact, white gold is created when yellow gold is combined with alloys and rhodium plating. Gold on its own is quite soft, so it needs to be mixed with other metals to make it more hardwearing in jewellery. Rings made from white gold have a white colour that looks similar to platinum.
Unlike white gold, platinum is a natural metal. As such, it is much rarer and can only be found in certain mines across Canada, Russia, South Africa, the USA, Zimbabwe and Australia. A tough and durable metal, platinum can be used in a purer form and as a result tends to be far more expensive than gold jewellery.
Platinum vs White Gold: Purity
As a rule, platinum wedding bands must contain between 85% to 95% pure platinum. If there is less than 80%, then the metal can only be described as a platinum alloy and will not be marked with the platinum stamp.
White gold is made by mixing yellow gold with metals such as zinc, palladium, silver, and nickel. The amount of pure gold in a piece of jewellery is measured using Carats (abbreviated with the letter ‘K’). Rings made from white gold are usually hallmarked with a small stamp that indicates the carats. White gold can have a gold purity of 75% or less:
- 18K White Gold has 75% purity
- 14K White Gold has 58.5% purity
- 10K White Gold has 41.7% purity
- 9K White Gold has 37.5% purity
Platinum vs White Gold: Appearance
Both known as white metals, the difference in appearance between the two can be quite subtle. Whereas platinum rings have a grey hue, rings made from white gold have more of a bright silver shine. Over time, however, you may find that the appearance of your ring changes.
After a while, the colour of white gold wedding rings may start to fade and go slightly yellow. To restore the white colour, you will need to take it to your jeweller to be re-polished and re-plated.
While the colour of platinum does not fade over time, it does tend to dull with age. After a while, the band may develop a patina. This is when the metal loses some of its luster and develops a satiny or slightly frosted finish. Some people prefer this duller finish as it gives the ring character and enhances the sparkliness of the diamond. If the patina is not to your taste, you can take your ring to your jeweller for polishing to restore some of the lost lustre.
Platinum vs White Gold: Durability
Platinum is an incredibly durable metal. As such you don’t have to worry about it tarnishing, corroding, or rusting over the years. However, platinum is softer than some types of white gold and over time, you may find that your ring develops a “patina of age” as a result of scratching. This is not an entirely bad thing; many people find this patina finish to be more desirable as it gives the jewellery the look and feel of an antique heirloom.
Similarly, wedding rings made from white gold are also very strong. Boasting long-lasting durability, white gold doesn’t tarnish, rust or develop a patina. Most white gold rings are plated with rhodium to offer extra protection against scuffs and scratches.
Platinum vs White Gold: Comfort for Everyday Wear
Platinum jewellery will feel heavier to wear than white gold. This is because platinum is very dense and heavy. In fact, platinum is roughly 60% heavier than 14K gold and 40% heavier than 18K gold. When it comes to everyday comfort, it really is a matter of personal preference. Some enjoy the substantial and luxurious feeling of platinum rings, while others prefer the more lightweight quality of white gold.
Platinum vs White Gold: Which is Best for Sensitive Skin?
If you have sensitive skin, you may find that jewellery containing certain metals may irritate your finger and cause itchiness or redness. Allergic reactions are typically caused by certain alloys, with the most common culprits being nickel, brass and copper and stainless steel. If you need a hypoallergenic ring, then your best option is to go for a high-quality metal that is less likely to have been mixed with alloys.
Platinum rings are the best choice for those with skin sensitivities. This is because they are 95% platinum and just 5% alloy. The next best option would be 18K white gold which contains 75% gold and 25% alloy. If you do plan to go for a white gold ring, just be sure to ask your jeweller about what alloys are used before you commit to a purchase.
Platinum vs White Gold: Price
If cost is a major deciding factor for you, then white gold is certainly the way to go. However, it is worth bearing in mind that you will have to pay for replating every few years in order to maintain the ring’s colour and lustre.
Platinum is the second-most expensive metal in the world after rhodium. There are several reasons for this:
1. Rarity: Platinum is incredibly rare and can only be mined in a few select places around the world. In fact, just 160 tons of platinum are mined annually, as opposed to 1,500 tons of gold.
2. Density: One of the heaviest precious metals in existence, platinum is almost twice the weight of a gold karat. The density of platinum means that far more metal is required to produce a ring and this causes it to cost more.
3. Purity: Platinum rings are purer as they typically only use 5% alloys.
We hope this guide gives you more of an insight into the difference between platinum and white gold so that you have all the information you need to choose the right wedding ring for you. If you have any more questions about wedding ring metals, please don’t hesitate to contact our expert team today.