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White Gold vs. Platinum: Which Is the Best Metal For Your Ring?

Think your quest for the perfect engagement ring ends at the diamond or gemstone? Not so fast! When crafting the ring, you need to contemplate the band on which the stone is set. Ideally, the band for an engagement ring is made of either gold or platinum. These two metals have incredible durability, value and an appealing look. But the debate gets heated when you start talking color — they look similar, so in the white gold vs. platinum rivalry, who should win?

White Gold Quality & Purity

The first step in choosing the perfect metal for your engagement ring is to know the difference between them. White gold is a popular metal for engagement rings which has more of a silver tone within the white hue. It's made by combining gold alloy with a variety of white metals such as silver, nickel and palladium. The mixture's amount of alloy vs. gold creates the karat, or purity of the gold. Twenty-four-karat gold is considered pure, but it's also soft and easily damaged, which makes it impractical for everyday wear. This is why gold is alloyed — to make it more durable.

Eighteen-karat white gold is a classic metal with a high purity level within the gold realm; it consists of 75% gold and only 25% alloys, which gives it a high value. However, because 18-karat white gold is still quite soft and malleable, 14-karat white gold is considered a better option. Pieces made of 14-karat white gold tend to last longer, because they consist of 58.3% gold and 41.7% pure alloys. Although the quality of the gold may be lessened by alloys, it's much stronger, more durable and more scratch-resistant. And it's less expensive.

Durability can also be improved by a process called rhodium plating, which also improves the hue of white within the metal.

Platinum Quality & Purity

Platinum is a naturally white metal, which means that you don't need to combine it with other substances to get that cool tone. Almost all platinum is about 95% platinum and 5% other pure alloys, which explains the higher cost.

Its soft white hue is visually pleasing, but platinum is also renowned for its strength and durability – so much so, that platinum was taken off the market during wartime for military use. It's safe to say that platinum is a great option for individuals who want a sturdy engagement ring option.

Since platinum is the most durable metal in addition to being the densest, it shouldn't be a surprise that this metal is also the most expensive. Being about 20% denser than white gold, platinum is about two-and-a-half to five times more expensive than white gold. Because it's less malleable, platinum is a more difficult material to work, so the cost of labor that goes into molding that piece increases. Although scratches in rings or jewelry are inevitable, when platinum is scratched, the metal is not lost as it is in white gold. Rather, the color shifts within the ring itself, creating what is known as a patina finish.

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Benefits of White Gold & Platinum

Another benefit of platinum is the fact that it is a naturally white metal, exempting the need to incorporate nickel into the mixture, which can be an allergen to certain individuals. Nickel is one of the alloys required to create white gold's finish, which can be a problem for wearers whose skin is sensitive to nickel. But if white gold is coated with a top layer of rhodium plating, it reduces and sometimes even completely eliminates the contact that exists between the nickel and one’s skin. (This plating can wear off over the years, giving the metal a yellowish tint and requiring the ring to be replated by a jeweler, which can add cost.)

In comparison to platinum, white gold is typically more prone to damage because of its use of alloys. However, white gold is also a much lighter metal than platinum, which can better suit people who don't desire heavy metals in their rings. White gold is also of a much lower cost than platinum, making it a more affordable option.

White Gold vs Platinum Price

Just like there are the four C's of diamonds, there are a variety of factors to consider when it comes to choosing your engagement ring metal. Cost is one of main Cs of metals. There are two things to consider when looking at price: Cost of buying and cost of care. If you're looking at sticker price, white gold is the more budget-friendly option. We generally recommend purchasing white gold so you can maximize other aspects of your engagement ring, such as the diamond.

White Gold vs Platinum Durability

Durability and cost should be considered together. Platinum is more durable and requires less repolishing. But that doesn't mean you only need to re-polish your white gold engagement ring every so often to keep it shining. White gold is finished with a rhodium plating to give it a pure white shine and improve durability. But it does wear off over time. That means you'll need to replace it.

Depending on how often and how hard it's worn, the rhodium plating could last anywhere from one to three years. Rhodium plating costs about four times as much as platinum, but "dipping" your ring, or having it replated, is relatively inexpensive. Expect to pay anywhere from $60 to $120 to have your ring dipped, depending on the complexity of the setting and style. If you need to get that done each year, the cost adds up. Here at With Clarity, we try to save our customers that cost. That's why we offer a lifetime warrantly that covers ring replating and polishing. That ensures your With Clarity ring will be beautiful for a lifetime.

Is Platinum Better Than Gold?

Both metals offer obvious benefits. Platinum is more hypoallergenic, more durable (requiringless repolishing), is naturally white (so no plating is required ), and heavier (so the value is greater). White gold is slightly shinier, costs less, has great durability to protect stones and is the most popular metal choice.

White gold might be the better choice for you if you're on a budget and want to maximize the other aspects of your engagement ring, opting for a more intricate setting or a better diamond. If, however, you have a preference toward platinum, there is certainly no reason to shy away. Metal is a commodity that increases in value slowly over time. 14-karat white gold is less valuable than platinum because of lower purity. Even though the raw value of pure gold and platinum are almost equal, that's why the cost is quite different in jewelry. So platinum isn't necessarily better than gold — it's all about your priorities.

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A sleek cathedral solitaire engagement ring is great with a metal made of white gold, however, if you seek a durable ring, then platinum would be the answer.

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