There are many different precious metals that can be used to create a gorgeous piece of high-end jewelry. Two popular options known for their elegance and sophistication are platinum and white gold. Each metal has its own unique benefits and properties, making them both attractive choices for jewelers, resellers, and more.
The Science Behind the Metals
White gold and platinum have unique properties and compositions. Despite how similar the two may look in finished jewelry, their chemical and physical differences highlight how distinct they really are.
Platinum is a pure elemental material that is not combined with any other metals when used in jewelry. It is also one of the rarest metals on the planet and is only found in very small amounts in the Earth’s crust. In addition to decorative and fashion uses, platinum is ideal for medical use, as it doesn’t interact with biological tissues. All of these factors make it an extremely versatile and prized material.
White gold is an alloy made by mixing pure gold with other metals, such as nickel, palladium and silver. This combination is what gives white gold its light coloring, and the color can be changed by adjusting the composition of the alloyed metals.
The metals in white gold are much more abundant in the Earth, and alloying gold with more common metals uses less of a rare resource than platinum does. The amount of pure gold in the alloy can also vary, which is why there are different purity ratings (14k, 18k, etc.).
Comparing Platinum and White Gold: Pros and Cons
White gold and platinum each have their own advantages and disadvantages. The following are a few key ways in which these two popular metals differ.
Platinum and white gold are similar in appearance, but the metals do have distinct differences in color. Platinum has a naturally white and bright color that does not fade over time. Its shiny, silver-gray hue gives jewelry a cool and elegant look.
White gold, on the other hand, has a naturally yellowish tint and requires a coating of rhodium to achieve a truly white color. This rhodium plating can wear off over time, revealing the yellowish tint underneath. To regain that bright white, it will need to be replated.
Platinum is generally harder and more resistant to wear and tear than white gold. Its naturally higher density makes it more scratch resistant and less prone to being deformed over time. High purity white gold is softer, generally leaving it more susceptible to scratches and damage. However, the other metals in white gold lend it strength, so lower purities like 10k, 14k and 18k white gold can be much more resilient.
The importance of durability depends on the situation and the wearer. If something is meant to be worn occasionally, like a pair of earrings, durability probably isn’t an issue. For something like a wedding ring, however, it might make a difference for those who work with their hands daily (putting the ring at greater risk of damage).
The density and hardness of platinum are part of what gives the metal its naturally smooth, shiny finish. Because it is quite damage resistant, platinum is able to maintain this shine well over time. White gold’s softer nature can leave the finish more susceptible to being dulled by physical damage. As the rhodium plating wears away and the gold is scratched over time, it will need to be re-polished to regain its shine.
If a low-maintenance, inherent shine is important, platinum is a good choice. If a bit of periodic maintenance polishing and possible replating isn’t an issue, white gold can give an equally beautiful finish. Like with anything else, it all depends on the purpose and preferences.
Platinum can be significantly more expensive than white gold for a number of reasons. First, the high density of the metal means that there will be more of the pure element in a platinum piece than a piece of the same size made from a different precious metal. Platinum is also a pure metal, while white gold is an alloy that requires considerably less of the precious gold.
The fact that white gold is more affordable than platinum is a great advantage for those with small budgets. By the same token, platinum generally has more value on resale. Affordability is also about value, so it’s often a balance of price point vs. individual priorities and preferences.
Platinum is one of the densest precious metals, making it heavier by volume than other common jewelry metals. This means that a platinum piece of jewelry will weigh more than a white gold piece of the same size. Platinum’s heft can give jewelry a substantial feel, but it can also be more expensive. On the other hand, white gold can provide a dainty, elegant feel at a lower price.
Pure platinum is considered a hypoallergenic material because it is not alloyed with any other metals that may cause an allergic reaction. White gold is not naturally hypoallergenic, as it can be mixed with metals like nickel, which is a common allergen. However, many jewelers now make their white gold alloys with nickel alternatives like palladium, which creates a hypoallergenic white gold.
Ultimately, whether platinum or white gold is the better choice for a person with sensitive skin will depend on the specific piece of jewelry, the metals used to create it, and the individual’s reactions to different materials.
Platinum generally requires less maintenance than white gold for long-term wear. It is harder and more durable, and it resists tarnishing and corrosion for a lasting natural shine. White gold is a softer metal that is more susceptible to scratches and dents, and the rhodium plating that gives it its white color does wear off over time. This means it may need occasional polishing and replating to maintain its look, especially if it’s exposed to harsh chemicals and abrasives. Given the affordability of white gold, however, this maintenance care may be an acceptable trade-off.
Both white gold and platinum are popular choices for jewelry, but their popularity can vary depending on trends and personal preferences. Platinum has long been associated with luxury and prestige, and is often the metal of choice for high-end pieces like diamond-studded engagement rings, tennis bracelets, and designer watches.
White gold, on the other hand, is very popular because of its versatility and more affordable price point. Its bright color also gives it a modern look that suits a variety of styles, both classic and contemporary. In the end, the choice between platinum and white gold will always depend on things like individual tastes and current fashion trends.
Discover What Your Platinum and White Gold Jewelry Is Truly Worth
If you have platinum or white gold jewelry, trinkets, or other items that are languishing in storage, you might consider selling them for their material value. Whatever your reasons for doing so, high-value precious metals are ideal for profit. Not only are they in demand for their aesthetic benefits, but they can also be quickly and easily melted down and recycled for new uses.
At Cash for Gold USA, we pay competitively for white gold and platinum based on the most current market values, ensuring that you receive a fair price for your items. With our convenient, easy-to-use mail-in service, you can receive a quote and sell your jewelry without ever leaving the comfort of home.
To discover the potential value of your platinum and white gold items, fill out our short online form and request your free appraisal kit today.