The main difference between Platinum and white Gold is price. Unless you have a severe allergic reaction to either metal-the choice is mostly preferential. Both metals have strengths and weaknesses; however there are a few variables to be considered when making your decision.
What Is Platinum?
Platinum is in the family of metals called the noble metals. Historically, platinum has traded at about twice the amount of gold. That is not the case anymore because of gold’s steady rise in price, but because there is a higher percentage of Platinum used (95% versus 75% for 18k gold) in making jewelry, the same design can cost twice as much in Platinum than it does in Gold.
Platinum (Pt ) is a very rare malleable precious metal that is desirable for its use in jewelry, industry, and as an economic instrument. Its earliest ornamental use dates back to pre-Columbian times however platinum was not used ornamentally in Europe until the late 1700’s. Early platinum work was very difficult to accomplish due to its extreme melting point at of 3215 degrees Fahrenheit.
What Is White Gold?
In order to understand white gold we must first understand gold. Gold, (Au) is a precious pliable metal that is the main metal used in fine jewelry. Gold has been used ornamentally since the beginning of recorded history. Ancient art, statues, coins, and jewelry can be traced back to nearly 6000 years.
“Fine Gold” or 24 karat gold is mixed with other metals to create the 10KT, 14KT, 18KT and 22k gold used in jewelry, although you will only find 22k in yellow gold. To make yellow gold jewelry, pure gold is mixed with alloys such as copper and brass, whereas to create white gold, pure gold is alloyed with silver, nickel, and zinc, which lends it the white color and adds durability needed for jewelry making. After melting the metals together the newly formed white gold maintains a slight yellow cast. To offset the yellow tint, white gold jewelry is plated with a precious white metal called rhodium, which is also a noble metal like platinum.
What Is the Difference?
For jewelry makers, Platinum has a higher content of precious metal, typically 95% pure. For this reason platinum will retain its physically pure white color indefinitely. Its high level of purity also makes it heavier and significantly more valuable than its equivalent White Gold.
Contrary to popular belief, platinum is more malleable than white gold, but is more durable. It can endure many years of wear without showing the signs of fatigue that white gold jewelry exhibits. It is also significantly more expensive for three primary reasons:
- Platinum in jewelry weighs approximately 70% more than similar volume of 14kt white gold.
- Platinum is 95% fine versus 14kt white gold purity at 58.5%.
- Platinum melts at 3,215 Fahrenheit compared to gold at 1,948 F making it very difficult to work with.
- Platinum maintains its white color indefinitely whereas white gold will need periodic rhodium plating.
- Platinum is more resistant to metal fatigue and erosion and will endure a longer life.
White Gold Advantages
- White gold jewelry cost significantly less than platinum.
- White gold is easier to polish back to a high shine after wear is shown.