Wedding rings are typically made of white gold, yellow gold, or platinum. More often than not, I get emails from people who are in a dilemma when faced with making a choice between 14K gold, 18K gold and platinum ring settings.
First of all, the key to choosing white gold or platinum is to start by understanding your own requirements in a piece of jewelry. In the following paragraphs, I will attempt to explain the unique properties of these two metal types in details.
Does 14K/18K white gold or platinum matters?
Both white gold and platinum take on a similar looking color in their final appearances – white. However, white gold derives its color from rhodium, which is a lustrous metal used for plating.
In its raw form, white gold is typically alloyed with zinc, palladium, and copper. The resultant color of the metal is dullish gray with a tint of yellow. Hence, there is a need for plating it with rhodium, a hard, white metal to give it a brilliant look.
On the other hand, platinum’s white color is natural and doesn’t require any plating. With regular wear and tear, the metal’s luster can fade and cause the ring to appear dullish. The luster can easily be improved by occasional polishing when you bring the piece back to the jeweler for routine maintenance.
Platinum used for making wedding bands has a higher purity % than 14K or 18K gold. The material used for making jewelry is typically above 900 Sterling. This is equivalent to 900 parts per thousand of pure metal. On the other hand, 14K and 18K white gold is only made up of 58.5 percent and 75 percent of pure gold respectively.
By sight, it’s hard to tell any difference between platinum and rhodium-plated gold jewelry without feeling it. However, there is a stark difference in weight between the two metals. Due to its higher density, platinum jewelry feels significantly heavier (about 60% more) than identical gold jewelry.
In nature, platinum is about thirty times much harder to find than gold. The process of creating a ring from the material can also be more labor intensive than crafting one from white gold. All these factors combined with platinum’s weight (a ring of the same size weighs more!) make it more expensive than gold jewelry.
In the market, a platinum ring is typically worth twice the price of an 18K gold ring, with all other things being identical. Surprisingly, most consumers and jewelry buyers prefer platinum to white gold jewelry even though they are more costly. Why so? This takes us to our next point where we answer this.
Platinum is relatively softer and hence, longer wearing because it is used in its pure form. When a platinum ring is exposed to knocks or accidental bangs, they deform slightly instead of getting material chipped away.
On the other hand, white gold is harder and more scratch resistant. Due to this, they are more susceptible to “weight loss” when a huge force is applied. Even a simple knock can cause a small amount of material to be chipped away. That’s the reason why small bits of the metal are sometimes added to during a restoration process to replace the weight that were chipped off.
|14K/18K White Gold||Platinum|
|Shinier appearance||Relatively duller|
|Harder material||Softer material|
|For rougher people||Hypo allergic people|
|Might turn yellowish||No color change|
|Lighter in weight||Denser & heavier|
Given a choice, I would personally take the cheaper alternative of white gold as they look almost identical in real life. It just doesn’t make sense for me to twice the amount just to “upgrade” the ring to platinum. Unless your girlfriend or wife is nickel-sensitive (rashes when in contact with white gold), you are better off investing the money saved on a bigger or better grade diamond.