Platinum vs. White Gold: What’s the Difference?

Purchasing an engagement ring is an exciting experience that comes with plenty of decision-making moments. Not only do you have to decide where to shop, what your budget is, and if you’re going to include your fiancée-to-be in the shopping, but you also have to make design decisions about this ever-so-important ring. Do you want a traditional diamond as the center stone? What shape and carat weight is the center stone going to be? Do you want a more modern style or a vintage design? In addition to all of these choices, you need to decide about the metal that is going to make up this timeless, precious ring. 

Many people love the look of platinum engagement rings, but may wonder about the higher price tag, especially when compared to white gold engagement rings. Since these are two of the most popular metal choices for engagement rings and jewelry in general, Roman Malakov is here to break down the differences, discuss the similarities, and help you make the best decision when comparing platinum vs. white gold for your next jewelry purchase.

Platinum vs. White Gold Engagement Rings

At first glance, the difference between white gold and platinum is almost imperceptible. They both appear silver in color and have a great shine. They look amazing with a sparkling diamond or any gemstone that you select as a center stone for your engagement ring. But as far as similarities go, appearance is about all that these two metals have in common.

White gold engagement rings will appear slightly grayer, and platinum diamond engagement rings will have a more whitish tone. This is based on the composition of platinum vs. white gold: Platinum is a naturally occurring white metal, whereas white gold is an alloy (or mixture) of yellow gold and other white metals, such as nickel, silver, or palladium.

This difference in makeup in not only affects the appearance of the jewelry, but also the durability. Platinum is naturally a very dense and durable metal, so it will not get permanently damaged easily. It is a more malleable metal than white gold which makes it easier to dent and scratch than white gold. The difference is that for platinum, the metal doesn’t come off; instead, it displaces it to another location. The “scratched” look of platinum is called a “patina finish,” and it is actually viewed as an amazing display of a long marriage. However, if you prefer the cleaner look of a ring, you can easily have it polished to restore its shine. 

White gold, on the other hand, is a softer metal but is less malleable. White gold is harder to scratch and dent but once it does, the metal is lost. Most white gold rings are plated with rhodium to give them a shinier and whiter appearance. Rather than polishing them frequently, you can get them re-plated every few years to help them maintain their luster. White gold tends to be shinier at first, and while it can scratch, it generally maintains its shine longer than platinum, despite platinum being a substantially harder metal.

Difference Between White Gold and Platinum Jewelry

Price

One of the biggest differences between white gold and platinum jewelry that people are quick to notice is the price. Although they are closer in cost currently than they have been in a while, 18K white gold vs. platinum still presents a substantial price discrepancy. You’re going to see higher price tags on platinum jewelry, as white gold is less costly to find, create, and form into jewelry. Platinum is mined in far smaller quantities than gold, making it rarer. Platinum is also a much denser metal and makes-up 95% of the alloy used in jewelry. These contribute to its higher price tag. It is harder to find and much less common, and jewelers need very specialized skills and equipment to create platinum rings. It was once quite common to see platinum jewelry going for three times the price of comparable pieces in white gold, but now that the price of gold has increased, the difference in price is much smaller.

Metal Allergies

If you’re concerned about the hypoallergenic nature of your engagement ring but are set on platinum or white gold, the decision can be made easily. Platinum is a completely natural material and is totally hypoallergenic. White gold, on the other hand, is an alloy that contains yellow gold plus other white metals. One of the more common metals included in white gold alloys is nickel, which is a common allergen in many people. If you are concerned about a nickel allergy, it’s best to err on the side of caution and go with a platinum ring, unless your jeweler can guarantee that your white gold ring is completely nickel-free.

Care and Cleaning

Long-term care is definitely something to consider when purchasing an engagement ring. When comparing platinum vs. white gold, they both have some pros and cons in the long run. As mentioned above, white gold needs to be rhodium plated every few years to maintain its white color and shiny luster, and platinum needs to be polished if you want it to remain shiny. Both of these are fairly simple tasks that any experienced jeweler can do, but they are both things that you need to be aware of as you purchase platinum or white gold jewelry.

Potential Resizing 

Having the correct ring size is of utmost importance. While rings can be resized after purchasing, they can only be altered by a certain amount, and it may cost more than you expect. The resizing process for platinum diamond engagement rings is more difficult due to the metal’s durability and hardness, so the timeline and price point may be less than ideal.

Although platinum may cost more upfront and may be more difficult to work with in terms of resizing, it can actually minimize your future ring-related expenses. It is less likely to need additional work to keep up its beauty. While both white gold and platinum have durability in different ways, 14k white gold is a better option for those with active lifestyles, regardless of potential resizing needs. It is harder to crack and bend due to its makeup, which includes gold and several harder metals. 

Shop Roman Malakov for Platinum or White Gold Engagement Rings

Are you still asking yourself, “Is platinum better than white gold?” If so, you need the advice and insight from a jewelry professional. The staff at Roman Malakov would love to talk to you about deciding between platinum vs. white gold, whether it’s for your engagement ring or your next jewelry purchase, and we are happy to show you a variety of jewelry pieces of each metal option to help you further understand the differences between white gold and platinum. Get in touch with us today to view our selection of engagement rings in platinum or white gold, or come by one of our locations in NYC’s Diamond District or on 5th Avenue.