White gold and platinum are two gorgeous choices available for the metal in jewelry. They have a similar silvery color that gives any piece of jewelry a dazzling brilliance.
However, which should you choose for your piece? There are benefits and disadvantages to both– so let us look at white gold vs. platinum.
White Gold: The Basics
White gold is not a naturally occurring element. In fact, it is an alloy or mixture of three elements: gold, nickel, and zinc.
The United States Geological Survey states that a stamp of 18k is often spotted on white gold, and means that 75% of the material is gold. The remaining combination is usually zinc and nickel, but it can contain other metals such as copper.
When looking at the durability of white gold a lesser karat may be your best bet. Because 14k has less yellow gold (58.4%) it has less of a tendency to show wear and tear. Gold is the most malleable metal, which means it can easily get bent out of shape.
White gold also contains a rhodium coating to give it a brilliant white glow. When combined, the materials making up white gold produce a yellowish material. The downside to the rhodium coating is that it can wear off, especially in pieces that are in constant contact with skin. The skin contains oils that naturally wear away the rhodium.
White gold was first invented in the early 1900s and first available for commercial usage in 1912. It became popular in the Roaring 20s and had a surge of popularity during World War II. It remains a very popular and less expensive choice for jewelry.
Platinum: The Basics
Alternatively, platinum is a naturally occurring mineral that is one of the least reactive on the periodic table of elements. It has important uses outside of jewelry manufacturing. According to the Minerals Education Coalition, platinum is used in everything from electrodes to thermometers, and even in chemotherapy applications.
Platinum is also less malleable than gold, meaning that it is stronger and will not distort its shape quite as easily. This can be advantageous for rings or bracelets that will be worn often. It is less likely to be destroyed or need repair when experiencing the wear-and-tear that our hands tend to take.
Historically, platinum was found to be integrated into the gold used by Egyptians, but it is not clear whether they recognized the material and purposely added it. The Spanish discovered the material in the mid-1550s and thought it was an impurity and was treated as waste. It was not until the 1700s that the metal was studied and found to be useful for its anti-corrosive properties.
White Gold vs. Platinum: The Best Choice?
Some considerations need to be made when deciding between white gold and platinum. Platinum is the more expensive option, with the prices being around 50% higher than the equivalent in white gold.
However, platinum requires less maintenance, especially for pieces that will see daily use. In some people, rhodium plating in white gold can need to be replaced every 6 months to a year, which might negate the extra expense of platinum. The cost of rhodium re-plating is usually in the range of $60-$100.
Platinum also has the added benefit of being a purer choice- with 90%-95% pure platinum being used. For many people with allergies, specifically nickel sensitivity, this is an important consideration.
Those with sensitivity will find that platinum is the only real hypoallergenic option. An allergic reaction usually manifests itself with dermatitis at varying levels, which includes an itchy rash.
Platinum is also the heavier of the two metals and while that may not seem significant, it can cause pieces to feel weightier. In items worn every day, it can become a comfort factor.
White gold is actually less prone to scratching and needs less overall care. It makes a great option for jewelry and if properly maintained, it will prove to be a durable, lasting choice.
When you are making your considerations also be aware that both platinum and white gold are valuable, quality metals. Speaking to your jeweler will help you make the right choice for your specific needs. Both metals make beautiful jewelry and will provide a lifetime of beauty.
I’m the main author for shinyfacts.com. I started this site after we did tons of research before our wedding and noticed that there is information about rings, jewelry, and so on that is really hard to find on the internet.