What Are The Differences Between 14K White Gold, 18K White Gold and Platinum in Jewelry Settings?

difference between white gold and platinum

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!

Color – What Are the Visual Differences?

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.

Cost – Which is More Expensive?

what is 14k white gold 4 prong ring
platinum 4 prong ring comparison

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.

When it comes to diamond jewelry and engagement rings, White Flash and James Allen offer a wide range of beautiful designs for you to choose from. Make sure you check them out!

Durability – Which One Withstands Wear and Tear Better?

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.

4 prong white gold ring with platinum prong head
6 prong 18k white gold setting with platinum prongs

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.

Weight – Which is Heavier?

platinum vs gold engagement rings

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.

Summary – Differences Between White Gold And Platinum

 
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
 

So, Which Type of Metal Should You Choose?

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.

If you are looking for high quality diamond jewelry that is built to last, check out White Flash and James Allen for their stunning selections of ring designs and diamonds.

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12 Comments

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

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

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

    I don’t sell jewelry or diamonds. For both types of ring metals, I find them to be equally “durable”. So, in a way, the difference lies largely in price. You might want to consider a 14K gold ring if you are on a budget.

    Unlike platinum, both 14k and 18k metals are finished with a coating of rhodium. 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. Avatar
    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? also, what are the differences in purity between white gold and platinum?

  4. Avatar
    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.

    The platinum used for making engagement rings and wedding bands typically has a higher purity % than 14K or 18K gold. The material used for making jewelry is typically above 950 Sterling. This is equivalent to 950 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.

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

    Very good article that explains the unique properties of these metal types, good job! I personally prefer 14k yellow gold metal :)

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

    Hi!
    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. Avatar
    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. Avatar
    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. Avatar
    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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