Know your metal: White gold vs platinum

Know your metal: White gold vs platinum


At first sight, platinum and white gold may seem alike—they are both a shimmering, silvery white, and they both make for elegant jewellery. But the similarities end with that; they are in fact a world apart. Read on to know the basic differences between the two and make an informed choice the next time you go jewellery shopping.

The main differentiating factor of the two is that platinum is a naturally white metal. On the other hand, naturally occurring gold is yellow in colour. Whitening metals like palladium or nickel are alloyed with yellow gold to get white gold. Jewellery made of white gold also gets a rhodium plating to strengthen and whiten it further, and add to its shine.

Platinum is a dense metal, making the pieces of jewellery crafted in this material considerably heavier than a similar one in white gold. Over a few years, the rhodium plating on white gold jewellery wears away and it starts looking yellowish. So every two years or so, you need to get the piece re-plated, especially in the case of daily-wear jewellery. Platinum though, is one of the most durable precious metals and faces no such issues. It continues to maintain its shine for far longer. Thanks to how strong and durable platinum is, it is considered the best metal to set diamonds in.

In spite of that though, platinum is the softer material of the two. Meaning, it gets scratched more easily than white gold would. But the good part is that a scratch on platinum does not mean you lose any of the metal—the scratch merely displaces the metal and it doesn’t wear away. Whereas when gold is scratched, you do lose a small amount of it, and with wear, it does diminish in volume.

Now for the most significant of them all, the price, and that’s where white gold wins. Platinum being rarer than gold is far more expensive than white gold is—more than two times the value of gold. Also, platinum is not as easy to work with as gold is. It has a higher melting point and makes it difficult to cast, thus hiking up the labour cost.

While the cost may seem daunting, it is the very fact that it is a rare metal and long lasting that makes platinum a favourite choice for wedding rings. Its characteristics make it extra special. White gold, being a more accessible and affordable option, also has its charms. Easily crafted into exquisite designs, it has a huge price advantage over platinum. It gives you the sophistication of platinum without burning up your savings.

So what shall it be for you—platinum or white gold?


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