Platinum vs. White Gold: The right metal for your engagement ring
One of the questions we seem to frequently get asked is, “What is the difference in platinum versus white gold when it comes to selecting the right metal for my diamond engagement ring?” For our personal jewelers, the answer typically depends on a number of factors, such as:
- What is your budget range for the project / can extra be allocated for platinum?
- Are you comfortable knowing that white gold will require ‘dipping’ or ‘rhodium plating’ on a fairly consistent basis in order to retain its crisp, white appearance?
- Does your occupation put you in constant contact with chemicals, require you to wear gloves or make it so you wash your hands frequently?
Main advantages of platinum over white gold…
- Platinum (especially the highest grades of 900 and 950 like we use) is noticeably whiter because it is an intrinsically white metal, whereas white gold has been mixed with silver and other alloys in order to make it ‘appear white.’
- White gold will inevitably lose the whiteness of its appearance over time. Engagement rings will begin to fade towards yellow, especially underneath the ring or in areas of higher wear and tear. The process our jewelers use to make white gold pieces regain their white appearance is called rhodium plating (a.k.a. ‘dipping’ your rings). Although a relatively inexpensive process, it is more a matter of the time required, the frequency that you need this done and the skill level of the craftsmen who plate your jewelry.
- Platinum is a stronger and more durable metal. In terms of scratching or becoming dull over time, both platinum and white gold engagement rings require regular maintenance from time to time (polishing and cleaning).
- In general, we have found that far fewer clients have allergies to platinum than white gold. Typical allergic reactions to can include a rash, redness, swelling or infection. Most of these symptoms can be tracked back to one of the secondary alloys in white gold or a reaction to certain chemicals or products that the customer comes in contact with on their hands.
Budget permitting, we recommend platinum in engagement rings because of the wear and tear that they incur. A typical diamond ring in platinum will cost approximately $700-$1,200 more than its 14 or 18 karat counterpart. If this amount can be better spent by our customers on the center diamond or elsewhere, we are comfortable suggesting white gold – you just need to be aware of the pros and cons.
For most other types of diamond jewelry (necklaces, earrings, bracelets, etc.) white gold is generally suitable, as the wear and tear is typically less in these items.
Bottom Line: polished platinum is brighter, stronger and will always be white. Budget permitting, it is the correct metal choice for an important piece of fine jewelry like an engagement ring – no question.