Is White Gold Really Just Platinum?

Gold is naturally soft when compared to platinum, but the alloy really does add a lot of strength, so your white gold rings are not going to get scratched off quite as easily as platinum rings.

White gold is not really just platinum. White gold is an alloy containing gold and another metal (usually nickel but sometimes platinum or palladium). Moreover, white gold tends to be coated with rhodium. Some white gold contains platinum as the main metal alongside gold, and this alloy tends to be denser than other types.

Platinum is denser than gold, and legally, jewelry labeled platinum has to be at least 95% pure platinum, so your platinum ring will weigh, and thus, cost, more than your gold one of the same size. Almost all platinum is approximately 95 percent platinum with 5% other purified alloys, explaining the higher cost.

Since precious metals are paid in ounces or grams, platinum’s significantly higher weight compared to white gold is likely to cause it to cost more each time (unless the prices of gold and platinum diverge dramatically in the coming years). The exact same ring will also be significantly more expensive in platinum, since precious metals are priced in terms of weight. Platinum is the densest precious metal that you can buy, so you would need to take all these factors into account.

An Overview of Platinum and Rhodium

Since platinum is the strongest metal, as well as being the densest, it should come as no surprise that the metal is also the most expensive. When making the piece, you need more platinum due to its density than you do for white gold, which is a mixture of a lot more solid metals, which brings down white gold prices and makes it a bit more accessible than Platinum.

White Gold is also a much lighter metal compared to Platinum, which may better appeal to individuals that do not want heavy metals in their rings. Platinum is more purer than gold (95% purity, compared with 75% purity for 18k gold and 58.3% purity for 14k gold), so each platinum piece has a higher amount of platinum.

Rhodium plating is what makes a piece of white gold appear as though it is made from platinum, if the metals are both in pristine condition. New white gold rings are typically coated in the tough, protective coating rhodium, which is a silver-white metal similar to platinum.

Rhodium is a silver-white metal similar to platinum. This process bonds a layer of bright white metal to the yellow golds surface, making it look white and polished, just like platinum. The white colour is achieved through a careful selection of the metals in the alloy, which whitens out the deep yellow color of the pure gold.

Palladium and Nickel Are Also Present in White Gold

If the other metal is palladium in Britain, or in the United States, a mix of palladium and nickel, the resulting alloy is bleached white. Nickel-based alloys are most likely to be coloured yellow, while Palladium-based alloys are most likely to be dark gray when compared with platinum, as shown below. Yes, you can see the difference when comparing white natural, unplated gold to gold that is palladium, platinum, or has been plated with rhodium.

Platinum is also used for making jewelry, and it looks just like white gold, but comparing it side by side to white gold, you will see platinum has more of a greyish tone. To give Platinum its white color and to make it harder, it was made by mixing yellow gold with other metals. Platinum does not get yellow, as yellow gold does; but, it does start losing its glossy surface finish and building up a natural patina (more on that in a bit).

When platinum is scratched, platinum is moved from place to place in your ring, and this develops what is called a patina finish. Unlike gold, no metal is lost when platinum is scratched, just sideways jostled; a beaten-up platinum ring can be easily polished by jewelers to restore it to its former splendor. As platinum is a soft metal, it really does mean that it is very scratchable, however, that is not necessarily bad.

Platinum Is a Hypoallergenic Metal

One notable benefit of platinum is it is hypoallergenic, while white gold can trigger allergic reactions in some individuals because of the nickel alloy that is in it. While it is probably true that platinum is harder than gold in its pure form, 18kt white gold is mixed with other metals, more often palladium, silver, and copper, in order to make it harder.

Whilst white gold and platinum might seem similar, these two metals are entirely different precious metals, which is mostly reflected through pricing, as each rings purity and density differs. What I love about this mixed metal wedding band from leading modern German jewelry brand, Niessing, is the way that the white gold/platinum mixture shows off the different color tone very well.

For that reason, Platinum prongs are commonly used on rings made from white gold and other less-durable metals, in order to enhance the safety of the central stone. What white golds and platinum’s toughness and malleability means in real life is that a platinum ring will easily be scraped and dented, but it will more safely secure the diamonds and other gems because platinum is less likely to flex because of its malleability. The owner of the platinum ring will need to decide whether or not they can handle a heavier metal such as platinum versus a lighter metal such as white gold.

Some Houses Can Clearly Identify the Metal Composition of a Ring

For businesses that purchase and recycle precious metals, like jewelry stores, jewelry refining houses, and pawn shops, not being able to tell the difference between white gold, platinum, and palladium, or to spot even slight variations in gold versus platinum composition, could prove an expensive mistake.

Buying white gold may generally cost less, but you will need to replate it at least 10 years later in order to maintain the color; Platinum, by contrast, is more expensive and requires less maintenance. Because Platinum is very precious, having a portion of it polished away can affect the total cost of your ring in a way. Both these warmer shades of white may suit many skin tones better than platinum’s glaring, cool-white, and therefore, it is always worth trying all these out before making a final decision about metal.

Gene Botkin

Hello, I'm Gene. My family belonged to the aristocracy of Old Russia, and I created this site to re-establish a familial connection with them. My aims are to generate interest in aristocratic virtues, such as beauty, honor, and loyalty, and to spread Russian culture.

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