When you start looking for a diamond engagement ring, you may be surprised to learn that yellow gold is not ideal when teamed with diamonds – unless the diamonds are fancy, brightly coloured ones that look good against the gleam of yellow or rose gold. This is because diamonds are cut to reflect light, and if mounted against yellow gold, they will reflect yellow, instead of that evocative rainbow fire that marks a diamond’s quality. You will very quickly decide that you need to make a choice between white gold and platinum, but which should you choose and why?
White gold is something of a misnomer, but calling it ‘gold mixed with some other pale metal’ is not likely to garner it too many purchasers, even though that would be more accurate! White gold is gold mixed with, usually, one of three silver-hued metals, nickel, silver, or palladium. Because of the high content of gold, the metal is not actually ‘white’ (by which a silvery hue is actually meant). Rather, it is like a very pale-yellow gold. Like its more colourful counterpart, white gold is categorised in carats of purity, and the price is very much the same as yellow gold, itself an alloy, usually. This is because pure gold is very soft, and any jewellery made from it would be misshapen after one day of use. When rings are offered for sale as white gold and betraying no hint of yellowness, this is almost always because the ring has been plated with rhodium, a beautiful silvery element that looks very attractive. However, this plating will come off in time, perhaps giving your engagement ring time to shine moonlit silver until the wedding ceremony, after which time it will revert to the colour of pale gold! White gold tends to be a hardy metal, given durability by the addition of the other metals, so it is a good choice as an engagement ring which will be worn all the time.
Platinum that is used in jewellery is also an alloy, albeit with a much higher purity. Most platinum only has about five percent of other metals mixed in with it, and this is why platinum costs a little more than white gold, which may have ten percent or more of other metals mixed with it. Platinum naturally has an attractive silvery shade and will not discolour over time as there is no plating to wear away. Like gold platinum is highly un-reactive, so rings made from either metal will not tarnish or discolour with day-to-day use. It is also very hard-wearing which makes it ideal for regular wear as a ring – the jewellery item that takes the most abuse, given how often we use our hands during our lives! One big advantage of platinum is that it is hypoallergenic, while one of the metals commonly used to make white gold, nickel, is a metal that more people are allergic to than any other.
So, which should you choose? It is entirely your choice. Platinum is heavier, being a denser metal, and it is more expensive. It has the advantages of being hardwearing and hypoallergenic. On the other hand, if there are no allergies involved, and cost is an important factor, then white gold is an excellent option. For more advice and help in making up your mind, there is an impartial platinum vs white gold comparison at Pricescope diamond and jewellery forum that can help you weigh up the differences between two metals that will both set your diamond off to a great effect. Happy shopping!