Platinum or White Gold?
Question everyone ask themselves when deciding to buy Jewellery as to which metal to choose from for their special Bespoke piece of Jewellery and often decision is very hard and confusing. All precious metals have their perks and downsides so one has to decide to what benefits are important and what are not. So we the Irish Jeweller took a time and considerable time and effort to put together this explanation to help you decide whether platinum or Gold for you.
One of the most frequently asked questions about Platinum concerns scratching. It seems the consumer equates durability with scratch resistance and is then disappointed when the Platinum jewellery scratches and shows signs of wear. Inevitably all metal scratches. From the finest steel to the finest Platinum! No metal is immune to scratching. Platinum is indeed the denser, softer metal, and it is in fact this property that causes it to retain its weight while carat gold “rubs” away over time.
Here is the easiest way to explain it:
Metal, as is all matter, is made up of molecules. If you were to strike a piece of platinum really hard, it gives; the densely packed molecules simply get shoved around. Your ring might get bent out of shape, but all the molecules are still there. The original weight is retained. Gold is alloyed with different metals to make it harder, i.e., carat gold. If you strike a piece of 14K or 18K gold, it is too hard to give under the pressure.
Therefore, you literally knock off microscopic scraps of the metal. Over time with wear and tear, enough of the molecules of gold have been knocked off so that it is no longer the original weight. In a nut shell, there is a difference between STRONGER and HARDER, platinum is stronger because it is softer.
With the huge popularity of white metal in fine jewellery today many people face the quandary of choosing between platinum and white gold for their special piece. There are a few issues to consider when making that choice. The big one is budget. Raw Platinum today is almost twice the price of raw gold and because fine platinum jewellery is over 90% of pure platinum, as opposed to 58% for 14K gold, and because platinum is denser and heavier than gold alloys there is a compounding effect on the overall cost. A Platinum jewellery item can be triple the cost of the same piece in gold. Sometimes the money saved by going for white gold instead of platinum can mean more or bigger/better diamonds.
In terms of durability platinum is an excellent choice with a tensile strength much greater than gold. Although somewhat counterintuitive, platinum is stronger than gold alloys while at the same time possessing lower hardness as explained above. It will therefore scratch a bit more easily than gold alloys and requires more frequent re polishing to restore its shine. One of the beneficial traits of platinum is that it can be repeatedly polished without wearing down. For the same reason, platinum jewellery tends to hold up better over very long periods of wear. White gold alloys, while harder, also tend to be more brittle. White gold prongs can break somewhat more easily as a result.
White gold is composed of pure gold (24 karat) mixed with other metals such as nickel creating an alloy with a whitish colour. 18K is 75% pure gold (18/24) and 14k is 58% pure gold (14/24). White gold generally requires plating with rhodium, a platinum group metal, to give it a bright white finish. Rhodium plating is a fairly simple process that is routinely done any time a white gold product is re polished or worked on. White gold items have better scratch resistance and tend to stay bright and shiny longer than platinum products. Platinum is a naturally white metal that does not require plating.
Some people are allergic to the nickel in white gold alloys which can lead to skin irritation while platinum is non-reactive to body chemistry.
Platinum has a higher melting temperature than gold and requires more expertise and specialized equipment in order to craft properly, which also factors into the higher cost of platinum jewellery.
Because of its high density platinum is quite a bit heavier than gold and feels very rich and substantial. However, it can actually be too heavy in certain cases. For example, large earrings can present problems with drooping, and rings with large tops can tend to roll on the finger.
you or your significant other has their heart set on platinum and budget is not a problem, it is a wonderful choice. White gold looks essentially the same at a substantially lower cost. It also stays shiny longer between polishing and has good durability.
If the budget is no object then Platinum is an excellent choice.
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