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October 16, 2017 4 min read
When choosing the perfect engagement ring, after selecting the perfect diamond shape, choosing the right precious metal is your next important decision. The first choice is obviously the color of the metal. If you’re thinking about a yellow gold or rose gold engagement ring, this article won’t be for you.
Because platinum is naturally white in color, this article will be a comprehensive walkthrough if you’re choosing between a white gold engagement ring and a platinum engagement ring.
Let’s get started!
Continuing the conversation of color, let’s talk about the color differences between white gold and platinum.
First of all, platinum is a naturally white metal and gold is naturally yellow.
So if you’re looking for a “pure” white metal that requires no ongoing maintenance to keep its bright white appearance, platinum may be the metal for you.
White gold, on the other hand, is actually an alloy. Gold’s natural color is yellow, so it is alloyed with other metals like nickel, manganese, silver, and palladium to achieve the white color and add to gold’s durability (24k gold is actually quite soft and malleable. Even 14k and 18k yellow gold has other alloy metals in it to add strength and durability.)
One of things many people don’t realize about buying a white gold ring, is that many of these rings are plated with a bright white metal called rhodium. Rhodium is a member of the platinum family and gives white gold a bright white finish. Without this coating, white gold will show the yellowish tinge of gold’s natural color over time.
This coating needs to be reapplied regularly as part of your normal engagement ring maintenance. A platinum ring, on the other, hand is naturally white and requires no additional maintenance to maintain its color.
Platinum is naturally more durable. It’s naturally harder, more dense, and heavier compared to gold. Durability is one of the added benefits of platinum, but you should be aware that a ring made of platinum will be noticeably heavier than a ring made of gold. Some people prefer this and some people prefer the lighter-weight feel of gold. This is a matter of personal preference.
As mentioned above, gold is a soft, malleable metal in its pure form and must be alloyed with other metals to add durability. “10/14/18/24 karat” is a measure of the amount of gold in the metal. The higher the number, the more pure gold and less alloy metal is in the ring. Higher karat gold is more expensive but it’s also softer and less durable.
This is why the most popular white gold engagement ring is 14k white gold. 14k white gold (with regular rhodium plating) gives you the beautiful white metal appearance, plus the durability needed for everyday wear.
Depending on your personal taste, platinum is not totally without ongoing maintenance. The surface of platinum will take on a “patina” appearance with wear over time.
Some people perceive this finish as being “scratched” and “dull,” and will regularly take their ring to a jeweler to be buffed and polished to its full high-polish shine.
But some people also love the patina look of platinum that’s been well-worn. For many that love platinum, the “antique” look of platinum patina is part of the joy of owning a platinum ring.
This is totally a matter of personal preference. But if you’re going to purchase a platinum ring, you should know that the ring is going to take on a patina finish over time that you will either have to embrace, or maintain by taking your ring to your jeweler for a regular polish.
Bottom line: Platinum rings cost more than gold rings. Here’s why:
First of all, platinum rings are generally 95% pure platinum. 14k gold, on the other hand, is 58.3%. So you’re actually paying for more precious metal with a platinum ring.
And second, platinum is more dense than gold so it takes more platinum (by weight) to create ring.
More weight and a higher percentage per ring equates to a higher average cost for platinum engagement rings vs white gold engagement rings.
Platinum is regarded by many as the ultimate white metal for jewelry because of its purity and durability. It does come with a higher price tag and the you need to be aware of the patina appearance that comes with platinum over time.
White gold offers the shining white metal appearance, durability (because of its alloy metals), and a lower price tag. But keep in mind that in most cases, you’ll need to have your ring regularly refinished with rhodium plating for it to maintain its bright white appearance.
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