What’s the Difference Between White Gold and Platinum?
For decades, white metals have reigned supreme in bridal jewelry. While yellow and rose golds have experienced a recent resurgence, there’s something classic about a white engagement ring. However, if you opt for a white metal look you will find yourself with one key decision: Should you use white gold or platinum?
Platinum jewelry first rose to popularity during the 19th century. Although the first use of platinum in jewelry dates back to the Ancient Egyptians, platinum’s high melting point generally restricted the use of the metal.
In the mid-1800s, new technologies emerged that finally allowed jewelers to create platinum rings.
Platinum provided an alternative to yellow gold, the most popular jewelry metal at the time. Due to its malleability, yellow gold could not be carved into the elaborate designs that were in fashion. Platinum provided an ideal alternative. The metal’s strength meant jewelers could easily etch intricate designs into platinum rings.
However, platinum was far rarer than gold. Miners extract around 3,300 metric tons of gold a year. While only 190 tons of platinum are mined around the world each year. This rarity, paired with the unique difficulties associated with mining platinum, has increased the price for platinum. As a result, until the invention of white gold, only the wealthiest could afford to wear white jewelry.
Going for Gold
Unlike platinum, white gold only became commercially available in the 20th century. Gold jewelry has existed for millennia; however, the metal was synonymous with yellow. In 1912, jewelers discovered that gold could be plated in an alloy, called palladium, to create a substitution for platinum. This alloy delivered a platinum look at an accessible price point. Consequently, white gold quickly gained popularity among shoppers who could not afford platinum jewelry.
So, What’s the Difference?
Historically, the price has been the biggest difference between the two metals. For centuries, platinum has cost significantly more than gold; however, since 2014, the spot price for an ounce of platinum has seen a downward trajectory. In contrast, the value of gold has increased. Today, it nears the highest value in over 6 years. As a result, the price difference between white gold and platinum has substantially diminished. Generally, the rule is that platinum ring settings will cost double the price of a white gold ring, a far difference from the dramatic difference price that existed nearly a century ago.
However, there are some important structural differences between the metals.
Comfort can also be a key factor to consider when choosing between a white gold or a platinum ring. Platinum is a dense metal. This density plays a key role in the metal’s undeniable strength. However, it also means that a platinum ring will feel much heavier on your finger than a white gold ring. Some people prefer the feeling of a lighter ring while others favor the heft of a platinum ring. Whether you prefer a heavier or a lighter ring is ultimately your choice. However, it’s a good idea to try on both a platinum ring and a white gold ring to see which option you prefer.
Moreover, platinum offers additional advantages for anyone who struggles with metal allergies. An estimated 10-15% of the population struggles with metal sensitivity. Most individuals with metal allergies are sensitive to nickel. Gold and silver both contain trace amounts of nickel in their alloys. Platinum jewelry offers an alternative to those metals, that is safe for those with metal allergies.
In addition to platinum’s superior strength, the metal also provides lasting durability. Unlike white gold, platinum will never require replating. In contrast, white gold must be replated every 2-3 years to maintain its white luster. Likewise, although platinum never requires replating, its luster can dull.
Whether you favor white gold or platinum, Buchroeders has you covered.
We offer free replating for any white gold ring and free refinishing for any of our rings to keep them shining.