What Are the Differences Between 14K White Gold, 18K White Gold, Platinum Metals in Jewelry Settings?

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. 

difference between white gold and platinum

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.


differences in yellow gold and platinum rings

Platinum Or White Gold

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.

Differences Between White Gold And Platinum in Summary

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.

The best way to select a ring setting is to view all available options in person. JamesAllen.com excels in this aspect as you get to see and interact with 100s of ring designs using their 360° videos.

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  1. marie-
    February 21, 2015 at 1:51 am

    Is a 18 K white gold ring going to damage easier then 14 K? I am sure you have sold both kind or rings…What kind of follow up do you find with the 2 different rings?

  2. Paul Gian-
    February 22, 2015 at 4:23 am

    I don’t sell jewelry or diamonds. For both type of rings, I find that both are equally “durable”. So, in a way, you might want to consider a 14K gold ring if you are on a budget. The rhodium plating may discolor (turn yellow) overtime due to your body chemistry and a simple re-plating job can easily be performed to give the ring its white shiny luster again.

  3. ROSANN LeRose-
    November 2, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    I have a ring with 7 diamond chips in it. the inscription says
    10% IRID PLAT (not sure on the IRID)
    could you tell me what that means?

  4. Paul Gian-
    November 3, 2015 at 9:49 am

    Your ring is made up of 90% platinum and 10% iridium. Basically, this is an older chemical composition used for jewelry. In modern jewelry, platinum jewelry is 95% platinum or 950. The other 5% comes from low tarnishing metals which Iridium is often used again.

  5. April Cook-
    June 6, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    Thank you for the explanation of the differences between metal types. I’m looking to get a ring made, but I was unsure of what material to use. I like that gold is shinier and lighter in weight. I think I might go with that. The lower cost is nice too. Thank you for this information!

  6. ankh-
    July 20, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Very good article, good job! I personally prefer 14k yellow gold :)

  7. Suresh-
    February 2, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    I am shopping for a pendant that is to be set in yellow gold as a gift for my wife. One jeweler quoted me a price of $10,000 for a 1.2ct I color round diamond from GIA. Is this a good deal?

  8. Paul Gian-
    February 4, 2018 at 6:47 am

    Without details, I can’t give any useful feedback on the stone you shortlisted. For a pendant in yellow gold, I would say that an I color is perfectly fine. I would place emphasis on size and cut quality. Again, I want to emphasize that you can determine cut using tangible data and from your comment, there is none at all.

    If you are interested, read this guide to buying a piece of jewelry for 10k or less: https://beyond4cs.com/jewelry-guide/engagement-rings-under-10000/

  9. Rafael-
    May 31, 2018 at 11:21 pm

    How can be an 18 kt gold be more durable than platinum if it contains 75 % of pure gold which is very soft, while platinum is almost twice harder than gold? Given concerns about durability we should opt for 14 or even 9 kt gold which should be much harder and durable! For what concerns the price, I think platinum is a value for itself, given that it will always retain high value and is somehow more ‘ prestigious ‘ – if we are price sensitive we can always opt for silver, which is much cheaper than gold, looks as good as white gold, and invest saved money in the diamond.

  10. Paul Gian-
    June 1, 2018 at 6:48 am

    In which part of the article did I ever mentioned that gold is more DURABLE than platinum? Don’t put words in my mouth. Go re-read the write up.

    Gold and platinum are commodities and prices fluctuate with market movements. What will future prices be is anyone’s guess. If you think platinum can retain its high value, then go with platinum. If you think you are correct and know for sure how prices move, you should go speculate in the stock market.

  11. jen-
    September 9, 2018 at 4:43 am

    Hello! I have an 18k white gold ring that so far as been great. Now I have another 14k white gold that has started to get more of the gold appearance. My fiancee’s ring is 14k and is turning as well. My jeweler for the new ring recommended going with a 14k white gold as it is stronger and does not turn as fast. Is this true? Because so far I have had my one 18k for a month or so and it has been fine. I am looking for which will turn gold the slowest and hold up well. But then I went to another place and they said the opposite that 14k is not good and my fiancee will have to get his repeated often and I should stick with an 18k.

    Thank you!

  12. Paul Gian-
    September 11, 2018 at 5:51 am

    14k white gold is stronger. As for whether it turns “yellow” as fast, that’s a factor determined by the rhodium plating quality and your body chemistry. i.e. if your body excretes slightly more acidic sweat, it’s going to hasten the deterioration faster.

    Different people have different opinions about 14k and 18k. Personally, I belong to the camp of 14k white gold for practical reasons. And whether a ring turns yellow faster or slower has nothing much to do with a 14k or 18k material. I hope this makes sense to you.

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