14K/18K white gold or platinum: Which is the best?
When it comes to buying an engagement ring or high-quality jewelry, which type of metal should you choose between 14K gold, 18K gold and platinum? Is one better than the other? What are the differences?
In this article, you will find answers to these questions and more! You will also learn how the different metal types may have a long-term impact on durability, appearance and maintenance required for your diamond ring.
Let’s dive right in!
First of all, I want you to watch this video comparison of a 14k white gold, 18k white gold and platinum ring in full. This will give you an idea of how the different metals look like in real life.
Contrary to popular belief, both white gold and platinum actually look identical in their finished forms and appear white to the eyes.
White gold derives its shiny, white color from rhodium, which is a lustrous metal that coats the white gold uniformly via a plating process.
In its raw form, white gold is made by alloying gold with zinc, palladium, and copper. The resultant color of unfinished white gold is dullish gray with a tint of yellow. Hence, there is a need for plating it with rhodium to give white gold a bright, brilliant look.
On the other hand, platinum’s white color is natural and doesn’t require any plating. It can achieve a smooth, shiny appearance simply by a fine polishing process.
The 14k white gold ring costs $350 compared to the platinum version which costs $695.
In nature, platinum is extremely rare and about thirty times much harder to find than gold. On top of that, the process of creating a ring from platinum can also be more labor intensive than crafting one from white gold.
The combination of these factors and the heavier weight of platinum (a ring of the same size weighs more!) make platinum more expensive than gold jewelry.
If you had been shopping around, you will realize that a platinum setting will typically cost twice as much as the price of an 18K gold ring, with all other things being identical.
Interestingly, when it comes to higher-end jewelry like engagement rings, most consumers prefer platinum over white gold even though they are more costly.
Platinum is a softer material than gold and arguably more “durable”. This may sound a little counter-intuitive but when a platinum ring is accidentally knocked or banged, the metal is displaced (deformed) on a micro level.
Due to its softer nature, platinum is more susceptible to scratches than white gold. With regular wear and tear, the metal’s luster can fade and cause the ring to appear dullish. On this note, the luster of the ring can easily be restored with a simple repolishing maintenance process.
Compared to platinum, white gold is much harder and more scratch resistant. Whenever a white gold ring is impacted by a large force, a microscopic amount of material would be chipped away. If you were to subject your diamond ring constantly to hard knocks, the prongs may thin out overtime and break off.
This difference in the wearing down of the metals would be a criterion to think about if your recipient is a rough or careless person by nature. Technically speaking, you can get the best of both worlds by combining a white gold setting with platinum prongs if you want a secure setting without the hefty price tags.
White gold ring settings with platinum heads.
From experience, I can tell you that many jewelers often use fear-marketing to upsell expensive platinum settings. But here’s the thing. If you don’t use common sense when wearing your jewelry, a platinum setting is not going to magically protect your diamond from loss or damage.
As you had seen in the video above, it is very hard to see any visual difference between platinum and rhodium-plated gold jewelry. However, once you pick up a platinum ring and a white gold ring, you will immediately feel the differences in weight.
That’s because the density of platinum is almost double that of gold. In a like-for-like ring design, a platinum ring would feel significantly heavier (about 60% more) than a white gold ring.
So, if you are someone who prefers the heavier feel of wearing a ring on your finger, you may want to consider platinum rings.
|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|
Well, it really depends. The key to choosing between white gold or platinum is to start by understanding your own requirements in a piece of jewelry.
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 spend twice the amount just to “upgrade” the ring to platinum.
Unless the recipient is nickel-sensitive (skin rashes when in contact with white gold), I feel that most people are better off putting the money saved on a bigger or better grade diamond.
With that, we have come the end of this write up. What do you think of platinum vs white gold and which would you choose? Do leave a comment below to let me know about your thoughts.