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7 differences between white gold and platinum

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Clients often ask us, "what's the difference between white gold and platinum?"

These two metals are superficially quite similar, but there are a few key differences, which we've summarised below.

1. Colour

Platinum is a naturally white metal with a faint grey hint to it. Gold is a yellow metal, but when alloyed with silver and palladium, it can be made to look white. The exact colour of 18ct white gold varies depending on the relative proportions of these two alloys. We use a 'high palladium' 18ct white gold, which is very white in colour and almost indistinguishable from platinum when highly polished. More traditionally, white gold has had a slight yellow hue, so jewellers often plate white gold jewellery with rhodium to make it look whiter.

2. Purity

We use only platinum 950, the highest standard for fine jewellery. This means the platinum is 95% pure, with just 5% alloy. Some other jewellers use platinum 900 and platinum 850, which are 90% and 85% pure, respectively. 18ct white gold, on the other hand, is 75% pure, with the silver and palladium alloys making up the other 25%.

3. Strength

Platinum has a higher tensile strength than gold, which gives it an advantage when creating delicate structures in jewellery. Claw settings, for example, can be made more delicate in platinum than in gold.

4. Wear and Tear

Both metals will require occasional maintenance, but in neither case is it anything to worry about. All jewellery can become scuffed with wear and tear over time. As platinum loses its shine, the hint of grey becomes more apparent, but this is nothing that a quick polish won't fix. With white gold jewellery, if it's been rhodium plated, that plate will wear away eventually, revealing the colour of the white gold beneath. If this happens, it is easy to get a new rhodium plate applied.

5. Scarcity

Platinum is much, much rarer than 18ct white gold. All of the platinum in the entire world would easily fit in the average home!

6. Density

Platinum is one and a half times as dense as 18ct white gold, so a ring made of platinum will feel heavier than the same ring made in 18ct white gold.

7. Price

Platinum is more expensive than 18ct white gold. The impact on the price of a ring will depend on how much metal is needed by a particular design, but broadly speaking, a platinum ring is likely to cost several hundred pounds more than a corresponding ring in 18ct white gold.

If you have any questions about any of the points above, we'd be delighted to help, so please feel free to contact us.

David Rhode
Together with Tim Ingle, David created Ingle & Rhode to offer a better alternative to the traditional luxury brands. Since 2007, we’ve provided our customers with genuinely ethical engagement rings, wedding rings and fine jewellery – free from conflict diamonds, dirty gold and child labour. With more than 16 years experience in the jewellery industry, David has deep expertise in diamonds, gemstones and jewellery design and manufacturing.