At John Laughter Jewelry, we see and sell a lot of wedding rings and bands of all shapes, sizes, and materials - and one of the most common questions we get from customers is on the difference between platinum and white gold. Both metals are white or light silver in color, shine brilliantly, and are commonly used on wedding bands as an alternative to yellow gold. So how are they different, and which one is better for a wedding ring? To find out, let's compare the two metals.
The first thing to understand is that white gold, just like all gold used for jewelry, isn't pure gold - it's an alloy. Pure gold is much too soft to use for jewelry, so it's combined with other metals like palladium and silver or nickel, copper, and zinc. The karat rating delineates the proportions of the metals in the alloy. 14k gold is 58% gold and 42% other metals, 18k gold is 75% gold and 25% other metals, and 24k gold is pure gold - but this is almost never used in jewelry. The other metals provide the strength and rigidity necessary for the gold to stand up to the rigors of daily wear, and in the case of white gold, they also provide the white color that is its namesake.
Platinum, on the other hand, is almost entirely pure. Most jewelry platinums are 90% platinum and only 10% other metals. This is because platinum is much stronger than gold and doesn't need the same reinforcement, and platinum naturally has a shining white color.
In general, white gold is much stronger and more rigid, while platinum is more malleable. This means that over time, platinum will develop hundreds of tiny dents and pits from coming into contact with things like door handles, and these pits will dull the sheen of the ring quickly - within a month or two. White gold will maintain its polish, but tiny amounts of the ring come off as it contacts door handles, so it's necessary to re-dip the ring periodically. White gold is also more susceptible to breakage.
So which is right for a ring? It depends on personal preference. For those with an active lifestyle, white gold provides strength and shine, but for those who want to use many small diamonds or inscription in their design, the worn look platinum develops can complement these features quite nicely.
If you're interested in purchasing or creating a wedding band or other ring with white gold or platinum, we'd be happy to help - just call us at 828-456-4772. We help our customers both locally and nationally find the perfect style, metal type and fit. We can't wait to hear from you, and we hope to see you back at this blog for more tips and information on all things jewelry.