Platinum vs Gold Settings: Which One Is The Best

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Whether if you are looking for a wedding band or engagement ring, one of the most important choices you need to make, is which metal is the right for you: platinum vs gold?

In this article, we will do a full comparison: Platinum vs. white gold vs. yellow gold vs rose gold. We will cover each material’s pros and cons, while taking in consideration value for money.

Let’s dive in.

Table of Contents

What Is Platinum?

Platinum is a stable, rare, and dense metal often used in jewelry due to its silver-like, attractive appearance. It is naturally occurring and has a white color. Further uses of platinum include medical applications, electronic applications, and many others because of its unique chemical and physical properties. Platinum is one of the rarest metals.

Platinum won’t scratch with ease. What happens is that the surface, rather than lose particles when subjected to a scratch, will develop ridges and bumps. The ridging effect on the platinum surface is considered natural. What happens is that the metal gets pushed from one side to the other as the jewelry owner continues to wear it. It is a common thing with engagement and wedding rings that one has on their fingers every day. Hands will come into contact with hard surfaces.

The surface ridging in platinum jewelry is referred to as the patina of age. It is something regarded as desirable. The patina shows that platinum jewelry is loved and has been used for a long.

Platinum vs white gold
Platinum Pave Crown Bezel Engagement Ring by James Allen

Pros

  • Platinum is solid and durable. These attributes make it ideal for jewelry worn regularly. It has high resistivity to stress and can withstand extreme cold and heat. It means that a piece of platinum jewelry will retain its great looks for so long compared to other metals.
  • The incredible white sheen of platinum accentuates the brilliance and sparkle of diamonds because it doesn’t result in color reflection.
  • Platinum jewelry will look better with wear, unlike other jewelry metals. The surface scratches form something known as a patina, and it’s considered highly desirable.
  • Platinum does not have any nickel and making it ideal for individuals with different allergies.

Cons

  • Platinum is a scarce metal, and that means the price is very high.

What Is White Gold?

White gold is formed by mixing other metal alloys such as zinc, copper, nickel, palladium, silver, etc., with yellow gold. One thing that should know is that not all white gold jewelry looks the same. The degree of brightness will depend on the amounts of white metals used and their proportions to one another.

White gold vs platinum
What is white gold? - photo by Brilliant Earth

Why is white gold mixed with other metals?

Gold is mixed with other metals for a straightforward reason. It is a soft metal. If gold in its pure form is used to make jewelry, it could bend out quickly. For this reason, it has to be mixed with other metals to make it more rigid that the jewelry can be long-lasting.

Can white gold be considered proper gold?

The term carat may not be new to the ears of a jewelry lover. Its abbreviation is the letter “K”. It is used to measure how pure the gold is. It gives you a clear idea of the amount of gold in the jewelry. The maximum measure is the scale of 24. Therefore a 24K reading is the maximum. It represents pure gold. Since jewelry cannot be made of pure gold, the common carats are 18K, 14K, and 10K.

Pros

  • White gold is easy to modify. It means that one can alter the size if your ring doesn’t fit well.
  • You can still wear white gold in the shower. White gold is safe to use in moist conditions meaning you can still take a shower while still having the jewelry on.
  • White gold jewelry enables you to enjoy a silver jewelry look but with the durability of real gold. This is why many people prefer it as bridal jewelry.

Cons

  • White gold is not always hypoallergenic. Gold is a soft metal that has to be mixed with other metals to increase its rigidity and durability. One of the metal alloys used to make white gold is nickel. It results in nickel allergies to the individuals wearing white gold jewelry. An allergic nickel reaction can result in one having a rush, a finger becoming red or green.
  • White gold jewelry requires upkeep. Gold has a natural yellow color. It means that it has to be mixed with other metal alloys to give it a white look. White gold is given the white coating with a layer of rhodium which is a white metal. Well, this layer gradually wears off, primarily due to the natural oils we use. You will have to get the layer replaced, and that will cost you money.

What Is Yellow Gold?

Yellow gold is a mixture of pure gold with other metals such as zinc, copper, and many more. The amount of pure gold in yellow gold jewelry is measured in K(carats).

Yellow gold vs platinum
Yellow solitaire engagement ring by James Allen

Pros

  • Yellow gold jewelry can be easily matched with diamonds that have a lower grade color.
  • It works incredibly well for individuals with darker and olive skin tones.
  • You can alter the shape of yellow gold jewelry easily.
  • It is the purest gold in jewelry.
  • It is the most used type of jewelry used in weddings.
  • It is ideal for individuals suffering from different allergies.

Cons

  • Yellow gold jewelry can get scratches and dents easily

  • It requires regular polishing and cleaning.

What Is Rose Gold?

Rose gold is a gold alloy, just like yellow gold and white gold. It is made up of a series of additional ingredients combined with pure gold. The pure gold is mixed with alloys of silver and copper metals that bring out the rose color.

Pros

  • It is ideal for people with allergies.

  • You can modify rose gold jewelry to fit your preference.

Cons

  • Rose gold jewelry can bend and scratch with ease.
Rose gold vs platinum
Rose gold hidden halo pave engagement ring by Brilliant Earth

24 KARAT VS 18 KARAT VS 14 KARAT White Gold And Yellow Gold

The gold purity content in white and yellow gold jewelry is categorized using the karat system. Mostly, the amount of pure gold in jewelry and engagement rings can be 24K, 18K, and 14K.

24 KARAT

24 KARAT is pure gold with a Millesimal Fineness of 999. The level of gold purity here is 99.9 percent. If white and yellow gold jewelry is made with 24K, they will be pure gold which is relatively soft. 24 KARAT will not be ideal for yellow and white gold.

18 KARAT

18 KARAT in yellow or white gold jewelry means that it is made of 25 percent alloy and 75 percent gold. It means that 18 out of the 24 parts that make up the gold in the yellow or white jewelry are pure gold. The good thing about 18 KARAT is that it looks excellently beautiful. The only issue with it is that the jewelry can scratch with ease.

14 KARAT

14 KARAT in yellow and white jewelry means that it contains 41.7 percent alloy and 58.3 percent pure gold. Of the 24 parts, 14 parts are made of gold. It is commonly used in white and yellow gold jewelry like rings and other wearable jewelry. The advantage of 14 KARAT is that it combines purity, value for money, and durability.

Platinum vs. White Gold

If you are looking for white precious metal jewelry, you will have to choose white gold or platinum. Though both platinum and white jewelry may look similar, they do have different properties. Let’s have a comparison of these two by looking at several factors.

platinum vs white gold
Platinum vs White Gold Comparison - photo by Brilliant Earth

Color

This is another factor that separates the two. Platinum is naturally white metal, while white gold is a combination of pure gold that is yellow with other alloys. Due to the yellow color, white gold achieves an off-white/slightly grey color. A layer of Rhodium plating is added giving it a brighter white hue. The layer wears out over time and, one is required to reapply it.

Durability & Maintenance

Both White gold and platinum are durable metals that will respond to scratches, pressure, and impacts differently. However, platinum is highly dense and will resist wear and tear incredibly well. One can wear a platinum wedding ring for decades and, it will not lose its thickness at all.

White gold is not as dense as platinum, but the alloys used to make it enhances its rigidness. It has a downside that is wearing after being used for a long time. However, if a design features hand engraving square edges or mill grain white grain rings will maintain them better than a platinum one.

Cost

When it comes to cost, platinum jewelry is more expensive. It is because platinum is one of the most scarce metals. White gold jewelry can be a little less expensive but will attract some maintenance cost over time.

Hypoallergenic potential

White gold contains nickel-metal alloy. This means that it can trigger nickel allergies to the person wearing the jewelry. Platinum, however, does not contain nickel alloy and thus will not trigger any allergies.

Yellow Gold vs. White Gold

White and yellow gold jewelry are incredible options for an engagement or wedding ring. Let have an in-depth comparison of the two.

gold vs platinum
White gold vs. Yellow gold vs. Rose gold - photo by Brilliant Earth

How they are made?

Pure gold comes with a yellow color. For this case, yellow gold will not require any additional elements to affect its color. Yet, it needs alloys to be added to it to increase its rigidity. Nobody would want 24K gold because it is too soft and fragile.

When it comes to white gold, we must acknowledge that it requires more alloys to achieve its white color. In the same way that copper alloys enable rose gold to get the pink color, white gold requires nickel, palladium, manganese, etc. to bring out the white color.

Color

White gold and yellow gold jewelry both contain a percentage of gold in them. Their significant difference comes in color. White gold appears more silver than the typical color of gold which is yellow. It also has a white sheen hence the name white gold. Yellow gold maintains the standard color of pure gold. Yellow gold looks great and blends well on every style since it looks classic. White gold can also be referred to as classic, but it has a more incredible tone against all skin shades.

Durability & Maintenance

White and yellow gold jewelry also varies in terms of durability. This factor comes in if your lifestyle involves working with your hands where your ring is under constant pressure.

Since yellow gold jewelry has a higher concentration of gold, it is susceptible to dents and scratches. It will require regular polishing to maintain its elegance and brightness. A good thing about yellow gold jewelry is that one can adjust its size more conveniently.

White gold is a little more durable as compared to yellow gold. The reason behind this is the additional layer of nickel and other metal alloys. It is important to note that it also needs maintenance, just like yellow gold jewelry, to maintain its beauty and shine. White gold jewelry is coated with rhodium plating that gives it the luster you are looking for in an engagement ring or any other jewelry piece. The rhodium plating gives it the glow you are looking for in an engagement ring or any other jewelry piece. The rhodium plating protects the jewelry from dents and scratches while also adding luster to it. The layer does wear off after use and needs constant replacement.

Cost

The cost of white and yellow gold jewelry is quite expensive. When determining which is more costly, you must know that the higher the concentration of gold, the higher the price. 18K of either type will be the most expensive but will have issues to do with durability since it gets scratches with ease. For more durability and affordability, 14K of either type.

Yellow gold and white gold engagement rings are reasonably priced compared to those made of other metals. Though both of these types are a little more expensive than silver, their quality is much higher.

Hypoallergenic potential

Yellow gold is made of pure gold with other metals such as zinc, copper, and many more. The alloys used in yellow gold will not trigger any allergies. When it comes to white gold, one of the metal alloys used to make it is nickel. It results in nickel allergies to the individuals wearing white gold jewelry. An allergic nickel reaction can result in one having a rush, a finger becoming red or green.

Solid Gold vs. Gold Filled vs. Gold Vermeil vs Gold Plated

Solid Gold

Solid Gold jewelry popularly known as real gold, is one of the most luxurious and valuable pieces of jewelry one can buy. It is commonly denoted by a carat marking. You will find some with markings such as 9ct gold or 9k gold. These markings indicate the grade of pure gold in a piece of jewelry in what is known as (k) karats or (c) carats. The grading runs to a scale of 24.

Therefore, a 24K gold is a hundred percent pure. It has a yellow color, and its texture is a little too soft. It is therefore not ideal in making jewelry. It has to be alloyed with other metals to increase its rigidity and make it durable. The gold alloys used are termed solid gold in jewelry.

One should understand that the higher the proportion of gold in its pure form to other metals, the higher the karat rating. The most renowned types of solid gold used for jewelry are 18k, 14k, and 9k.

Solid gold jewelry will last for a long time, especially if the owner takes care of it. It will at no time whatsoever wear away like plated or gold-filled jewelry. The advantage of solid gold jewelry is that it can re-shaped to create a new design that fits the user’s preference.

Solid Gold​

Gold Filled

One critical thing everyone needs to know is that gold-filled is different from solid gold or real gold. It is simply a fraction of solid gold and is formed by bonding a gold layer to a metal base enhancing its appearance to match real gold.

The process of making gold-filled jewelry involves high pressure and high heat. This makes gold-filled jewelry to be more durable than its gold-plated counterparts. It makes gold-filled jewelry to be more suited for fast fashion jewelry whose lifespan is limited.

The gold layer in gold-filled jewelry will undoubtedly wear out over time and expose the underneath metal base. The process of restoring and repairing the gold color on this type of jewelry is quite tricky. It involves plating, unlike the actual process of bonding.

Gold Filled​

Gold Vermeil

Vermeil is a term that is legally regulated and refers to a certain kind of quality jewelry. For a piece of jewelry to be referred to as vermeil in the US, it must meet the following conditions;

  • It must have a gold plating that is 2.5 or more microns thick.
  • It must be plated in gold-rated as 10k or more. This means that the jewelry will contain at least 41.7 percent gold content.
  • The jewelry should have a base material and specifically silver metal. The alloy can be Sterling silver that’s made up of about ninety-three percent pure silver and seven percent other metals. This is the standard material used to make high-quality jewelry that can get to the vermeil class.

Vermeil is also known as silver gilt. The conditions set for its standard mean that it is made of high-quality silver plated with gold. The majority of vermeil jewelry available today is made of electroplating silver with a layer of gold. This is a process where electricity is chemically used to form a bond between two metals.

One should buy vermeil jewelry because it is the best quality you can get short of purchasing the solid gold alternative. For individuals who want budget-friendly, high-quality jewelry that can be used in the place of solid gold, go for vermeil.

Gold Vermeil​

Gold Plated

Gold plated jewelry has a thin lining or layer of gold plated on a metal base, commonly sterling silver. Gold plating is the process of depositing a gold layer onto another surface. The thickness of the gold layer varies differently among those making the gold-plated jewelry. The regulatory bodies classes gold plates at 0.5 microns and heavy gold plates at 2.5 microns. There are times when thinner gold coatings are confused and referred to as gold plated. The regulatory bodies come in with set standards to distinguish the two. A layer of 0.175 microns is referred to as a gold electroplate. If it is less than that, it is termed as gold washed or gold flashed.

Gold plated jewelry is ideal for individuals who want high-quality jewelry but are on a tight budget. It gives the person wearing it a luxurious look, but he/she does not have to spend a fortune on them. These gold-plated jewelry are made using chemical deposits, electricity, and a thin layer of gold plated on another metal. The process results in a creation of a layer so thin over another affordable precious metal. The coating can be placed over copper, silver, or any other metal.

The only challenge that comes with gold plating is that it tarnishes, fades ad wears out over time. This happens because the molecules of the base metals slowly transfer into the thin gold layer, resulting in the breakdown of the fine finish.

Gold Plated​

What is the main difference between vermeil and gold-plated jewelry?

When it comes to vermeil, it is made up of two metals that is silver and gold. Vermeil is thought of as being closer to fine jewelry and falls under a category known as demi-fine. The higher the thickness of the gold layer and karat weight, the more valuable and expensive the jewelry becomes. If the gold layer in a vernal ring or necklace is too thin, it may wear out quickly and begin losing its value. One will be required to have the ring or necklace re-coated.

Gold plated jewelry is made in a similar way to vermeil. The only difference is that the base metal of a lower quality than silver. Metals such as brass or copper can be used. That’s where the difference strikes between the two. 

Buying Tips: How to choose the right metal for your diamond ring

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About the author: Yaniv Hadar

As a third-generation in the diamond industry, I’ve started my way in 2015 as a diamond photographer and seen hundreds of diamonds on a daily basis. Unlike other experts, I’ve had the opportunity to see any diamond you can think of: from the poorest to the rarest. Any size, any color. Using my knowledge and experience, I can show you how to pick the most valuable diamond for your budget while getting the most bang for your buck.

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