Platinum and 18 ct White Gold are the two most commonly used metals for the setting of engagement rings, wedding rings and other jewellery. These two metals have a very similar appearance, but at the same time they have unique benefits and proprieties that are very important to compare and consider when deciding upon the choice of metal for your valued piece of jewellery.
The type of metal you choose for your ring affects everything from price to durability. It can even affect the colour and sparkle of your stone, particularly if you choose a diamond.
Below is the list of the most common engagement ring metals and their properties.
The difference between Platinum and 18 carat White Gold
The main factors to consider is the difference between Platinum and 18 carat White Gold in terms of purity, appearance, weight and comfort during wear, durability, scratching during wear, and of course comparative cost of both metals.
PURITY is this first difference between Platinum and White Gold. These are essentially different metals and have different purity levels.
- Platinum is a naturally occurring white metal. It is heavier, harder and rarer than gold. Due to its natural hardness, Platinum can be used in a purer form than gold, usually at about 95% – a Platinum hallmark has a fineness of 900 to 950 parts and 5/10% of other alloys.
- 18 ct White Gold does not exist naturally as it starts out as gold which is yellow. White Gold is achieved by an alloy of yellow gold with other white metals.
- The purity of White Gold is determined by the amount of alloy that is mixed with Gold and is expressed in carats as with yellow gold.
- Hallmarked 18ct White Gold has a fineness of 750 parts and 25% of other alloys.
- So in comparison for purity of metal, Platinum has a 90/95% purity compared to 75% purity of 18K White Gold.
- This factor consequently makes Platinum much more expensive than Gold.
APPEARANCE whitish grey in colour. However, a distinguishing physical characteristic between Platinum and White Gold is the natural colour.
- Platinum is naturally white.
- However, the white colour of White Gold is created by the addition of alloys to yellow gold and the final white high lustre finish by the addition of rhodium plate, a silvery-white metal. It is the rhodium plating which gives White Gold the white look that makes it look very similar to Platinum to the naked eye.
- With Platinum, no plating is required as the metal has a unique white, grey colour which becomes greyer over time. As Platinum is truly white, it will always stay white and will not fade to yellow.
- White Gold jewellery with rhodium is very white and very hard, eventually it will naturally wear away and fade to show the yellowish tinge of the original gold.
WEIGHT. Platinum is approximately 20% denser metal than 18ct White Gold.
- For example, a ring with 4 mm width of metal and 2 mm height will be up to 30% heavier in Platinum as compared to the same ring made in 18ct White Gold in gram weight.
- This difference also has an impact upon the comfort of wear. Only individual personal choice can determine if you prefer to wear a heavier weight of ring, as some people do find that lighter rings are more comfortable for everyday wear.
DURABILITY. Platinum is stronger and more durable. Gold is an extremely soft metal, therefore if it was used in its pure form in jewellery, it would quickly and easily bend out of shape.
- Platinum offers a far more secure and robust setting for diamonds and other gemstones than 18ct White Gold.
- However, a well-made ring, whether 18ct White Gold or Platinum, should last for many years.
THE EASE OF SCRATCHING. Platinum jewellery will be more prone to getting scratched than a similar item made from 18ct White Gold would be.
- When scratched, Platinum gets a ‘patina finish’ and has the look of an antique.
THE COST. Platinum jewellery attracts a higher cost than 18ct White Gold.
- Platinum is far rarer than Gold and is more difficult to work with.
- The labour cost is approximately 20% greater than with 18ct White Gold.
- Platinum cannot be re-used and re-melted like 18ct White Gold.
- Platinum jewellery is more expensive than White Gold.
However, if you still can’t decide between Platinum and 18ct White Gold, don’t worry, these precious metals are both great options. If your budget allows choosing Platinum, if not then 18ct White Gold is still a very precious metal and is an excellent choice.