Platinum vs White Gold

When you're shopping for an engagement ring, wedding band, or anniversary gift you want the perfect one.

It's why people argue about platinum vs white gold rings all the time. Which metal do you think is the best choice?

Platinum and white gold both have their pros and cons, so you'll need to decide which metal makes more sense to you.

Platinum vs White Gold Rings

Platinum and white gold rings each have their pros and cons. Platinum rings are great when it comes to durability, purity, color, and longevity. White gold rings are a lot cheaper, weigh less than platinum rings, and are easier to resize.

The best way to compare platinum and white gold is to look at all the categories you'll be interested in. Once we've looked at each one we'll choose a winner.

  • Durability
  • Price
  • Purity
  • Color
  • Weight
  • Longevity
  • Resizing

Durability

White gold doesn't scratch as easily as platinum because it's harder than platinum, but gold is just mixed with hard alloys and coated in rhodium plating.

In regards to durability, the only positive thing you can say about white gold is that it's not going to get as many superficial scratches.

Platinum is more durable than gold in many different ways:

  • Doesn't lose particles
  • It's less malleable
  • It's less corrosive

Platinum doesn't lose particles

When you scratch platinum the metal is just displaced, so it doesn't lose any particles. They're just shifted around giving you a patina finish.

When you scratch white gold the metal sticks to whatever it's being scratched on, so every time you scratch your gold ring you're losing gold particles.

Once you get a platinum ring repolished those displaced particles will fall back into position, which won't be the case with a white gold ring.

Platinum is less malleable

Platinum is a great choice when you want to hold diamonds and other gemstones in your ring. The metal is less malleable so it's a lot more difficult to bend.

If you have platinum prongs holding your diamond in position it's not going to fall out. It's harder to resize platinum rings but at least it won't end up damaged.

White gold isn't very malleable because it's mixed with other alloys, but it's still easier to damage your ring when resizing it and it is more likely to snap or break.

Platinum is less corrosive

White gold rings will wear away more easily because they're more corrosive. Make sure you replace the rhodium plating regularly.

Not only do white gold bands tend to get thinner over time, but you also need to be aware of exposing your ring to certain chemicals.

Gold isn't the actual problem. It's the alloys it's mixed with to give white gold its color. Chlorine will leach out nickel, zinc, and silver.

If white gold is allowed to come into contact with chlorine, bleach, and other chemicals it will leave the metal porous and brittle.

Platinum is different and you'll be able to swim in the ocean or pool without worrying your ring will wear away or become discolored.

There isn't a platinum vs white gold durability debate because the former is such a big winner.

Winner = platinum rings

Price

When you look at the price per gram of platinum vs gold there isn't much difference, which will surprise anyone who has visited jewelry stores.

Platinum is more expensive because of 3 main things:

  • Rarer
  • Denser
  • Purer

So if you have a platinum and white gold ring with the same specifications except for the metal, it's going to be a lot more expensive if you choose platinum.

Different jewelry stores will have different prices. In some, white gold will be 50% cheaper. A white gold band might cost $300 less in others.

The price of white gold vs platinum is the biggest positive, so if you're not interested in saving money I have a feeling you'll prefer platinum.

With white gold vs gold, they're more or less the same price in case you want a reference point. White is sometimes slightly more expensive than yellow.

Winner = white gold rings

Purity

Some people think white gold is mined from the earth. In reality, it's comprised of various metals to create the white color.

A 14K white gold ring might look something like this:

  • 58% gold
  • 23% copper
  • 10% nickel
  • 9% zinc

Here is an example of how pure gold is:

  • 9K gold = 37.5% gold
  • 14K gold = 58% gold
  • 18K gold = 75% gold

Platinum is the exact opposite because it needs to be 95% pure to carry the platinum stamp. Your ring should have 950Pl, 950, plat, or platinum on the band.

A 95% pure platinum ring is great for engagement rings and wedding bands because it's luxurious, but it's also so pure it's hypoallergenic.

If you have any skin troubles platinum rings are the best choice. It's why they use the metal so much in the medical industry.

Roughly 10% of the US population suffer adverse reactions to the nickel in white gold rings, so it's not a good choice if you're one of them.

Winner = platinum rings

Color

When you get a platinum ring it's white and bright. The metal is a natural white color although it does dull over the months and years.

It ends up with a patina finish over time which makes it look more beautiful. A lot of platinum ring wearers prefer a band with a matte finish.

It complements the gemstones by making them stand out even more. If you want it to look shiny and new again a jeweler will be able to polish it.

White gold looks grey and cheaper rings might even look yellow. But when you buy a white gold ring it's going to look white and bright.

It's because rhodium plating is added to white gold rings. A thin coating of rhodium is electrically plated on to give it the shiny finish you like.

Winner = platinum rings

Weight

Gold is a lot less dense than platinum, which isn't great when we look at durability. But it's much better when we look at the weight of rings.

Look at how much lighter white gold is:

  • 14K gold = 60% lighter than platinum
  • 18K gold = 35% lighter than platinum

No matter which white gold ring you buy it's going to feel lighter on your finger. I know some people enjoy wearing a ring they don't notice.

A tiny six-inch platinum cube weighs over 150+ pounds so even though rings are small it's noticeable. If you normally like lighter rings try one on before buying anything.

Winner = white gold rings

Longevity

Platinum is a low-maintenance metal so you can forget about it once you have a ring. If you don't like the patina finish you can get it polished now and again.

You have to look after white gold carefully if you want it to last. The rhodium plating on white gold rings disappears over time.

Some jewelers will tell you to get it replated every 6 months, whereas others will recommend it once every 5-10 years. It's ultimately going to depend on several things.

If you notice yellow gold or it's starting to turn your finger green it will need to be replated straight away. New rhodium plating is the only way to whiten it too.

Platinum rings might be a lot more expensive in the very beginning but can work out cheaper over the lifetime of the ring.

And even though jewelry isn't a good investment a platinum ring is going to become a family heirloom because it will last forever.

Winner = platinum rings

Resizing

A jeweler will find it more difficult to work with platinum. If you want to resize a ring without devaluing it they'll need a special laser and tools.

Here are some reasons why resizing platinum is harder:

  • It's less malleable
  • Better heat conductor
  • Higher melting point

Jewelers won't be able to shape the ring so easily because it's less malleable. All the gemstones need to be removed first because it's such a good heat conductor.

It also has a higher melting point so jewelers need a special laser that's much hotter than a normal solder. Don't forget it will be expensive to add metal when making it bigger.

Before buying a platinum ring you should always size up because it's much easier to make the ring smaller without a struggle.

If you choose sizing beads instead of traditional resizing it's also going to work out a lot cheaper.

White gold rings are a lot easier and cheaper to work with. Jewelers won't have any problem shaping white gold because it's so malleable.

If your ring is too small or large it can be soldered back together when it's cut. When the jewelers add a piece of gold it won't cost as much as platinum.

Make sure you need it resized because there are some good reasons why rings suddenly feel tight.

Winner = white gold rings

Overall winner = Platinum


Questions + Answers

Why use platinum instead of white gold?

Platinum always tends to be more popular than white gold for engagement rings and wedding bands. It's because people care less about the price of those two pieces of jewelry.

If you're not getting engaged or married you might prefer white gold over platinum, because it's less likely you'll care about your ring being truly special.

Is platinum better than white gold?

I know platinum is not better than gold in every single category, but it's better in all the ones that count if you exclude price.

14K and 18K are durable enough for everyday wear and white gold looks almost identical to platinum, so I'm not trying to say gold is too far behind.

Being hypoallergenic, better at holding gemstones, less corrosive, and low maintenance is a big deal and you'll appreciate the qualities platinum rings offer.

There are probably only two little things that are sometimes annoying about platinum rings. It's easy to scratch them and white gold is shinier.

Does platinum scratch easily?

Platinum scratches more easily than 14K gold but the difference isn't too big. It's still easy to scratch a white gold ring with rhodium plating.

At least you don't lose any platinum because it's only displaced. Plus the scratches don't look bad. Most will tell you they prefer a patina finish.

Is platinum shinier than white gold?

White gold is only slightly shinier than platinum and it's only because it has a rhodium coating. Once the rhodium starts to disappear it's not going to look as shiny.

If you look at two pieces of jewelry you probably won't be able to tell platinum and white gold apart when they're brand new.

Either metal can be restored to a shiny white color once you've asked the jeweler to polish it. Platinum will dull quicker than white gold because it doesn't have protection.

Is platinum more valuable than gold?

Platinum is more valuable than gold because it will last forever. You won't need to spend time getting your engagement ring and wedding band replated every year or so.

You'll be able to hand the ring down to your children or grandchildren so they can wear them too. That's more valuable than spending an extra few hundred dollars buying a ring.

Platinum vs White Gold Rings Conclusion

When you compare platinum vs white gold it's pretty even. Platinum has more advantages like durability, but white gold is a lot cheaper. There is a reason why platinum rings are more popular and it's because they do come out on top.

If you're trying to buy an engagement ring or wedding band just work out a budget before you go looking for a ring.