When you?re in the market for an engagement ring, a wedding band, or just a fabulous new piece to add to your collection, one of the first things you think about is color. If you know you don?t want yellow gold, the next decision is whether to go with white gold or platinum.
The two metals are the same color but they carry very different price tags. Typically, a platinum ring will cost twice as much as a comparable ring made from white gold. Knowing the differences between white gold and platinum will help you decide whether the higher cost of a platinum ring is worth it to you.
One difference between the two could be referred to as ?purity.? That is, white gold is mixed with another metal, usually silver or palladium, to create its ?whiteness.? Additionally, white gold is coated with a white metal called Rhodium to enhance its appearance. Over time, the Rhodium plating wears away and your ring will need to be recoated and/or polished. In fact, jewelers recommend you have your ring re-plated every 12 to 18 months to maintain its optimal appearance. Without regular polishing and recoating, your white gold ring will take on a yellowish tinge.
Platinum, on the other hand, is used in a 95% pure form. It?s naturally whiter than white gold and doesn?t need to be plated with another metal, which, in turn, means that there is less upkeep. Because platinum requires less maintenance, it?s possible that a platinum ring is actually more economical than gold in the long run.
Another reason platinum costs more is that it?s sturdier. Platinum is heavier and harder than gold. A platinum ring, then, will be less vulnerable to dings and less likely to lose its shape. This strength also means that jewels set in platinum rings are more secure.
The sturdiness of platinum is related to another reason some people prefer it over gold. A piece of platinum jewelry is likely to last much longer than a piece of gold jewelry. If you?re purchasing a ring that you hope will one day be a family heirloom, it might be worth the extra cost to know that the piece will last for many generations to come?and retain its beauty. Experts say that platinum has a lifespan three times as long as that of gold.
Additionally, platinum is more rare than gold. The more rare anything is, the more it?s going to cost.
Sensitive skin and/or tendency towards allergic reactions also lead some people to buy platinum rings. Many people are sensitive to nickel, and nickel is commonly used to whiten gold. The purity of platinum decreases the likelihood of an allergic reaction.
Finally, it?s not entirely accurate to say the white gold and platinum are the same color. Platinum actually has a grayish tinge to its white, a color that is very flattering to diamonds. Diamonds appear brighter when placed next to the slightly darker shade of platinum. Similarly, some people feel that platinum creates a stronger contrast with yellow gold in a two-tone ring.
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