The Briggs Blog

June 2015 - The Briggs Blog

White Gold vs. Platinum

Confused when deciding between white gold and platinum for your precious stones or diamonds? You aren’t alone. We’ve created a “cheat sheet” for helping you make the perfect decision for your jewels.

White Gold…

-is NOT a white metal – started its life as a yellowy, orangey, sometimes greenish gold and was coaxed into whiteness by alloying it with whiter metals.

-will require rhodium plating, then re-plating once a year on average. (Some alloys show more yellow than others.) The final step in finishing white gold jewelry is to “rhodium plate,” it, creating the white color. Ironically, rhodium is in the platinum family.

-can sometimes cause a skin reaction with its alloys, most commonly, due to nickel. A different alloy can be chosen, such as palladium or cobalt.

-will stay shiny for a long time before re-polishing.

-is able to scratch if wearer is hard on it, but overall maintains shine a lot longer than platinum.

Note: 24k gold (100% gold) is too soft to be used for jewelry. 14k/18K are the strongest choices for everyday wear.


-is 30 times more rare and 60% heavier than gold, giving it a luxurious feel to some.

-is strong, but can absolutely scratch when banged.

-will develop a dulled finish after time, due to small dents it takes.

-is hypoallergenic (unlike gold) because it is normally not alloyed with more than 10% other metals.

-will need more frequent polishing than white gold.

-is ideal for hand engraved detailing.

-will cost more than gold due to:

  1. High density – causes the extra weight and less thinning over time than gold
  2. Rarity – not as readily available as gold
  3. Purity – 90-95% pure platinum vs. 58% in 14k gold
  4. Tools – platinum demands separate tools, can be harder to work with and needs a higher temperature gas for soldering work
  5. Experience level the jeweler needs to have

What’s great about both?

-They are valuable and weighty metals – silver is not.

-Neither metal corrodes, rusts or tarnishes, and both are great for making jewelry.

-They are tried and true: 99.99% of all wedding rings are made from gold and platinum.

-Many alternative metals can’t be altered by more than 1-2 sizes and that work needs to be done in a machine shop vs. by a normal jeweler, because soldering can’t be done. Some metals aren’t able to be sized at all. Gold and platinum metals can be sized and worked on as many times as needed, as your fingers will likely change in size over the years.

-Both can withstand everyday wear, however intricate platinum jewelry has proven to endure the test of time much better than gold.

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What about prongs, settings & wedding bands?

-Both are often used, and both have considerations you should be aware of when selecting prongs.

-Because it is a malleable metal (due to its purity), platinum tends to be more bendable than white gold. Small platinum prongs may become flatter when hit, but are less likely to break or wear down.

-With a white gold prong, the stronger, stiffer metal alloys will remain firm if directly hit. But if the hit is severe, the metal cracks as opposed to bending. If the hit is hard enough, it completely breaks off. Or a base crack could cause problems down the road.A-BRIGGS-ENG-RS1-CROP12-03_reimaged with logo

How do I choose one over the other?

-The amount of detail in your design should be a factor.

-Work with an experienced jeweler who is knowledgeable in the slight differences between white gold and platinum.

-Is a long lasting, high shine important to you, or is your taste suited to accepting a more matte finish?

-Make sure to disclose your hobbies, recreational activities, lifestyle, etc. to your jeweler.

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