Is Platinum Better than White, Rose or Yellow Gold?
The mere mention of the word “gold” evokes images of luxury, prestige or even wealth. Wearing it makes both men and women feel special, important or maintaining the feeling of entering into an honorable arrangement, such as marriage.
As beautiful as gold is, there are some drawbacks. In its purest form, gold is at its weakest strength, making it vulnerable to wear-and-tear or scratches. Some people are actually allergic to some gold. And finally, price is an issue for many people.
In this article, we are going to examine the three types of gold – white, rose and yellow – along with their pros and cons. But first, will make a comparison with one metal that is often used as a substitute for gold – platinum – and how it compares to white gold. Afterward, we will offer some insights or observations to give you an informed picture so you can make your best possible choice for the money.
What is Platinum? & Pros and Cons
Platinum is considered a white metal, and when used in jewelry, the purity is anywhere from 95% – 98%. To the untrained eye, it is identical to white gold and maintains its color with regular cleaning and care.
Now we would like to point out some pros and cons so you can make the most informed choice possible.
- Rarer than gold.
- The word “platinum” triggers a sense of prestige, making it more “valuable” than gold. For example, “platinum” credit cards are better than “gold” cards).
- Stronger and more durable than white gold.
- Fair and rosy skin tones are favorable to platinum.
- Considerably more expensive than white gold.
- Although more durable than gold, it can get scratched and dull over time.
- Requires cleaning and replacing of the rhodium coating – or “dipping” – every few years
- Cleaning can strip away some of the platinum.
Platinum vs. White Gold
In terms of appearance, platinum and 14kt white gold look alike to the untrained eye. The differences are virtually imperceptible. This is where their similarity ends, however.
Cost – The price of each per gram as a raw material is about the same. However, it requires more platinum to make a ring due to its extra density. This is why platinum rings are more expensive than white gold.
For example, a ring is fitted with a 0.9 carat will be at least $500 more in a platinum ring than a white gold ring.
Composition – Because platinum is the heaviest and densest element on the planet, it offers more strength to a piece of jewelry than gold, especially when the piece is pure platinum. Gold jewelry, on the other hand, is most often a mixture of gold and other alloys to make it more durable. Pure gold will be softer and less resistant to scratches and other incidental use.
Color/Care – To the naked eye, platinum and white gold look exactly the same. However, when platinum is compared to rose or yellow gold, the color differences are a bit more obvious, as these two types of gold will show noticeable colors than white gold.
So far in our discussion, we have compared platinum to white gold, and the question remains: “Is platinum better than white gold – or any gold for that matter?”
If you’re looking for durability without concern for the cost, then platinum may be a good choice for a ring. If you’re looking for something in the middle ground, perhaps gold mixed with other metals will give you the gold look with the added strength. Finally, if you are more of a purist as to gold jewelry, and you’re meticulous about preserving it, then a purer gold ring may be best for you.
The bottom line in this comparison is that the choice depends on a consumer’s preferences.
Three Types of Gold & Pros and Cons
White gold is a mix of pure gold and other metals, like nickel, silver, and palladium – called an alloy – and very often is coated with rhodium. As noted in its comparison to platinum, it looks much like it. In this section, we will highlight its pros and cons.
- Cheaper than platinum.
- More popular than traditional yellow gold.
- Resistant to scratches and durable, due to its mixture with stronger metals.
- Said to go better with white diamonds than yellow gold.
- Complements blushing-type skin tones.
- White gold also has a rhodium plating which needs replacing every few years – a process called “dipping” – to keep its color and Needs to be dipped every few years to retain its color and shine. Many jewelers will do this for free. For those that charge for the service, it won’t be expensive.
- White gold that is mixed solely with nickel is not hypoallergenic and is likely to cause reactions in some. However, when it’s mixed other alloy metals, instead of nickel, people with this type of sensitivity will not have to worry.
Yellow gold, the traditional and still very popular type, is also an alloy, made of pure gold along with copper and zinc.
Here is a breakdown of the purity scale of yellow gold:
- 24 Karat = 99.9% Pure
- 22 Karat = 91.7% Pure
- 18 Karat = 75% Pure
- 14 Karat = 58.3% Pure
So a higher karat number amounts to a purer content of gold. However, this also makes the gold softer and far less durable. This is why, in the case of wedding rings, the purity of 14 karats or 18 karats is chosen for these.
Here are some pros and cons of yellow gold:
- Most hypoallergenic of the three gold types.
- Most popular metal used for wedding/engagement rings, and a winner for vintage looks.
- Purest of the three gold types.
- Easiest to maintain out of the three gold types.
- Most preferred for resizing due to its malleability.
- Darker and olive skin tones look great in yellow gold products.
- Diamonds with a more inferior color grade are better matched with yellow gold.
- Needs regular cleaning and polishing, but to offset this as a con, many jewelers will do this at no charge.
- Susceptible to scratches and damage.
Like white gold, the word “purity” is a misnomer, because rose gold is an alloy, is made up of 75% gold and 25% copper. When more copper is used, the gold is given a more reddish color.
Here are the pros and cons of rose gold:
- Great for men’s and women’s rings.
- Its pinkish-red color is to many the most romantic metal color.
- Lower-priced copper in the alloy makes it the most affordable of all the gold types.
- Copper makes rose gold the most durable of the three gold types.
- Complements any skin tone.
- Not hypoallergenic, so it can cause allergic reactions in some people.
- Somewhat scarce as a choice of gold type
While platinum is durable and looks similar to white gold, is hypoallergenic, and is stronger than gold, these benefits come at a price. It draws a higher price tag as a material for jewelry, can still scratch, and needs regular cleaning and maintenance every few years or so.
As a choice for jewelry, it is not for everyone, except for those who prefer the durability, and do not mind paying the price to have it.
White gold, having a similar appearance to platinum, is a more affordable choice between the two. It is more popular than yellow gold and does a good job of resisting scratches. However, replacement of the rhodium coating that gives white gold its luster may add inconvenience to the mix. Also, if you need hypoallergenic properties, make sure that you buy white gold mixed with any alloys – except nickel.
Yellow gold is the type we have been most used to seeing. It’s the purest, the most hypoallergenic and the easiest to maintain of the three types of gold, and still is the most popular choice for engagement rings and wedding bands. Still, it is softer than the other three and more prone to sustain damage or scratches.
Rose gold is the strongest and most affordable of the three gold types, goes with any skin tone and is considered a romantic color for either men’s or women’s rings. However, it is not as available as the other two and is not hypoallergenic.
When choosing the material for your ring, you need to weigh these factors, all in accordance with your personal preferences.
Whether a certain choice is better, whether platinum or any of the three types of gold, this distinction remains in the eye, the wallet, or the ring finger of the beholder. You may have to ask yourself any of the following questions:
Am I looking for a prestigious look?
Do I want something durable?
Do I want to go with a traditional look?
If after deliberating these factors you still feel that you need some help in choosing the right material, please feel free to reach out to our experts, who can help you choose the best value for your budget.