In nature, white gold is not a naturally occurring metal. To produce white gold, yellow gold must be mixed with silver coloured metals such as silver, nickel, palladium & others. 18ct gold is 75% pure gold with these other metals making up the balance. This alloyed metal is usually coated in Rhodium to give it a lustrous silver finish. It will need to be re-plated regularly to maintain its’ bright silver colour, otherwise the underlying light gold colour will shine through. This plating process is relatively inexpensive. and the rhodium helps to protect the gold.
Platinum has a natural greyish silver colour. Over time, platinum’s colour will not change, but its shiny finish will dull to a natural patina. Platinum can be up to 50% heavier than gold, therefore it’s denser than gold and very strong. Just because it’s strong though, doesn’t mean it won’t scratch. It will, without a doubt. Platinum can be polished professionally to restore its original shine and lustre, a process which is comparable in cost to re-plating white gold.
While the colours of white gold and platinum are very similar, the biggest advantage of white gold over platinum is its’ cost. Platinum is slightly more expensive than gold but because it is more dense than gold, the same ring will weigh significantly more in platinum. As precious metals are priced by weight, it’s easy to understand why a white gold setting costs significantly less than a platinum setting. The ongoing maintenance costs of both are almost identical.
Both metals have their advantages. Whether you go with white gold or platinum, being informed about the pros and cons of each will help you make the best decision.