One is known for its durability and weight, the other for affordability and a delicate glow – but there’s a lot more to these two precious metals than meets the eye.
Choosing between precious metals is not an everyday task. Most people will be vaguely familiar with White Gold and Platinum; White Gold is known for its warm undertones and affordability, while Platinum is revered for its toughness, weight and bright white colouring. But do these reputations stand true? When it comes to selecting the materials for a piece of fine jewellery, especially one you intend to wear for a very long time, it’s important to separate fact from fiction.
The difference between Platinum and White Gold
The key differences between Platinum and White Gold relate to Colour, Price, and Durability. But these differences are not clear cut – it is not a simple case of one being brighter, more affordable, or tougher than the other. Today, we explore the differences between Platinum and White Gold so you can decide which is best for you.
What is so special about Platinum?
Platinum is a naturally occurring chemical element, about 30 times rarer than gold. In fact, it’s the rarest of all the popular precious metals. Platinum is formed when water erodes minerals from ultramafic igneous rocks, and deposits them in sand and gravel beds. It is commonly mined as ore from deep underground mines, the largest of these mines located in Russia and South Africa. Platinum is also found in space, with vast quantities discovered in meteorites since 1939.
Is White Gold real gold?
White Gold is an alloy made from pure gold, and was originally developed as an alternative to Platinum for those consumers seeking a brilliant white metal without the price tag. White metals must be added to gold to temper its natural yellow glow. These secondary white metals are often silver, copper, zinc, or high-quality Palladium. Not all White Gold is made equal – it all depends on the quality of this secondary metal. Some jewellers use a combination of gold and nickel to create White Gold. This is how White Gold got an undeserved reputation for being of poorer quality than Platinum – nickel is well-remembered as the metal that occasionally turns your skin green, or in some cases, triggering an allergic reaction.
Introducing Palladium White Gold
Palladium and Platinum have a few things in common; they are both in the platinum family of metals, they are both hypoallergenic, naturally brilliant white in colour, and have the same level of purity. Palladium is relatively new to the market, and is quickly becoming a sought after metal for its durability and variety of uses. These qualities make Palladium White Gold a highly coveted metal for engagement rings and wedding bands.
We use only the highest quality materials at Diamondport, so you’ll find that all of our White Gold rings are crafted from 18ct Gold and pure Palladium.
Rhodium plating is used to create a brilliant white, reflective sheen and provides a further scratch resistant barrier on White Gold pieces. In the past, pieces needed to be re-plated regularly to keep a white appearance, and create a barrier that protected the skin for people who may be sensitive to nickel. Palladium White Gold is already brilliant white in colour, and equally scratch resistant as Platinum. Rhodium Plating on Palladium White Gold increases the depth of white colour and shine, and provides further protection from scratches and wear.
Platinum Vs. White Gold on Colour, Price, and Durability
Does Platinum look whiter than White Gold?
When it comes to bright silvery-white colour, Platinum is in the lead, but not by much. Platinum is known for its white and brilliant shine, but over time, even highly polished Platinum will develop a satiny finish. This is called a “patina”, and some Platinum lovers look forward to this change in appearance.
When side by side, the difference in colour between Palladium White Gold and Platinum is almost impossible to determine. Palladium White Gold is known for its bright silvery-white colour and shine. Unlike White Gold made with nickel, Palladium White Gold maintains its silvery-white colour even once the rhodium plating has worn away. That being said, it is recommended you bring your pieces in for regular servicing to keep them looking their best. Diamondport offers premium servicing, resizing, remodelling and complimentary cleaning services, so your precious pieces can sparkle like new again.
Is Platinum more durable than White Gold?
Platinum and White Gold are both very strong. This is why they are sought-after metals for creating wedding bands, engagement rings and other long-term wear pieces. The key difference in these metals is how they respond to impact, pressure and scratches. Their ‘durability’ will differ depending on your lifestyle, preferred appearance, and the design of your ring. Platinum’s strength also depends on how the jewellery is made. At Diamondport, we prefer to hand make Platinum jewellery as the forging process makes it stronger. Cast Platinum rings are softer and therefore less durable.
Is Platinum harder than White Gold?
In short, no. Platinum is commonly thought to be the more durable of the two materials, but this is most likely the result of misconstruing weight with toughness. Platinum is a very dense metal, which gives it a satisfying weight. Platinum is about 88% heavier than 9ct gold, 59% heavier than 14ct gold, and 34% heavier than 18ct gold.
Platinum tends to lose its brightness and any delicate edges relatively quickly as the metal is more malleable – the metal is not wearing away, rather it is moving around the surface of the ring, like clay.
What does Malleability mean?
A metal that is highly malleable simply means it can be fashioned into a variety of shapes. Gold and Platinum are considered malleable, but as Platinum is softer and denser, it doesn’t hold fine-edged shapes as well as gold, or White Gold, does. Platinum also takes more force to shape.
Is White Gold soft?
White Gold, and gold in general, has a reputation for being a softer metal, but in reality, it’s incredibly strong. Fine ring detailing will hold its shape and edges better than Platinum. White Gold is, however, more prone to wear and scratches. White Gold will eventually become thinner, though this will certainly take an ample amount of time – think 20, 30 years depending on how it is maintained. This is another benefit of adding Palladium to the alloy, as this durable metal makes the piece considerably stronger, and Rhodium Plating, which further protect the White Gold from wear.
Why is 18ct White Gold cheaper than Platinum?
Platinum tends to be more costly than non-Palladium White Gold by about 40-50%. This is because Platinum is rarer, has a higher density, and is used in its pure form – more Platinum is required to make a Platinum ring than Gold is required to make a White Gold ring.
Platinum and Palladium White Gold Jewellery Care
The Rhodium Plating on Palladium White Gold protects the precious metal, and pieces should be re-plated every few years to maintain shine and ensure maximum protection. Platinum pieces do not regain their shine once they have earned their patina, and require more polishing and cleaning than Palladium White Gold to maintain a smooth appearance. These services should be kept in mind when considering overall price.
When considering your options, take note of the other jewellery that may come into continual contact – engagement rings, for example, traditionally sit next to a wedding band. These two pieces should be made of the same material, otherwise a Platinum ring will wear away a Palladium White Gold piece.
So, which is better for you?
While Platinum has been king of the white metals for a long time, Palladium White Gold is proving to be a worthy rival, with nearly 50% of the engagement rings created by Diamondport crafted in Palladium White Gold. Platinum is a rich, white metal with a heaviness some find very desirable. However, if your ring design is detailed, or you know you will be saddened to see your ring lose its shine for a unique patina, Palladium White Gold is a stunning, affordable alternative. Design elements such as hand engraving, mill grain or squared edges, will be held by Palladium White Gold much better than Platinum, and while White Gold will require re-plating, this service will also recreate its shine and colour – ensuring it will glitter and sparkle just like the day you first put it on your finger, for years to come.
Visit our Brisbane studio and view our selection of Platinum and Palladium White Gold rings for yourself. Our professional consultants can help you decide on the precious metals, diamonds, gemstones, and design to create your perfect piece.