White metals are a popular choice for bridal jewelry. Thanks to their combination of strength and durability, white gold and platinum are excellent metals for setting precious stones like diamonds. Each one has a unique set of advantages across durability, affordability, practicality, and aesthetics. Truth is, rings made from white gold and platinum can be hard to tell apart just by looking at them. If you are trying to decide between these two metals for a wedding band or engagement ring, our guide will help you pick the right metal that matches your needs.
Unlike platinum, which is a pure metal, white gold combines different alloys blended with gold. ‘Karat’ is used to indicate the proportion of pure gold contained in the mixed metal. 24k is the purest yellow gold, which generally is too soft and malleable for daily wear.
The most popular options for bridal jewelry are 18k and 14k white gold. 18k white gold is made of 75% gold and 14k indicates a mix of 53.8% gold, while the rest of the material is made up of a combination of white-appearing metals including nickel.
Platinum receives a lot of praise for its natural purity and luster. Platinum rings are usually 95%-98% platinum, and while white gold requires regular replating to maintain its shine, platinum never chips away. This resilience to wear, along with its rarity in nature, is what makes platinum an investment purchase.
White gold engagement rings and other jewelry are usually plated in rhodium (a type of platinum) which makes them appear silvery-white. Platinum is silvery-white innately and doesn’t require special coating or plating. Even when coated in rhodium, white gold will begin to reveal its natural, yellow-ish color after around 6 months, therefore requiring more maintenance than platinum over time.
White gold requires more servicing than platinum to maintain its shine. White gold rings must be dipped in rhodium plating every 6-12 months, perhaps more for those with highly active lifestyles. However, when platinum goes unpolished it may develop a patina. This gives the metal a frosted look absent of its natural brilliance. Some not only prefer but even seek out this aesthetic. However, annual polishing should be enough to keep your platinum jewelry looking as radiant as ever.
Since it contains more pure gold, which is innately soft, 18k white gold is less durable than both 14k white gold and platinum. 14k gold is more resistant to scratches than platinum, however, no metal is truly lost when you scratch platinum—this is how a patina develops. Additionally, platinum engagement rings can be polished frequently without risk of losing any layer of precious metal, and are sturdy enough to withstand home cleanings.
Platinum is a nearly pure metal, which means you don’t have to worry about having an adverse skin reaction when wearing it. The same can be said for 24k pure gold, which is more popular in traditional Eastern jewelry, but less common in the West. Nickel is often used as an alloy in white gold, which means both 14k and 18k could pose a risk for anyone susceptible to skin irritants.
Platinum is both rarer and more expensive than gold. It has a high density, which contributes to its durability and high cost. Even though the two metals cost the same per gram, a platinum ring will cost more to make than its white gold counterpart because more material is needed to complete the final product. However, maintaining the rhodium finish of white gold rings can make them a pricer option over time.
Rediscover Elegance at Morgan Jewelers
At Morgan Jewelers, our unmatched dedication to customer service and quality merchandise is part of what makes us the Rocky Mountain authority in luxury jewelry. We offer an array of wedding bands, engagement rings, and timepieces sure to compliment your look no matter the occasion. Weddings, soirées, and beach days can all be made brighter with some help from Morgan Jewelers. Visit one of our locations in Boise, ID, Missoula, MT, or Las Vegas, NV. Or, find a store near you.