So you’ve found the perfect diamond for your engagement ring. But what about the ring setting? There are so many styles of ring settings, from solitaire to channel set to halo. On top of that, you now need to decide on the material for the ring band. White gold and platinum are two of the most popular choices for engagement rings.
For many, platinum is the better choice for engagement rings. It is high quality and more durable than white gold. However, 14k white gold is the most popular, and may be your only option if you’re on a tight budget. It is cheaper upfront than platinum but requires more aftercare costs like replating.
White gold and platinum both have their pros and cons. We’ll dive into each of them so you can decide for yourself which is the better choice for you. Price, durability, plating, and color are all factors to consider.
Table of Contents
White gold is more Affordable upfront.
White gold comes in a variety of karats. 14k white gold lasts longer than 18k white gold and is also cheaper. 14k white gold is less pure than 18k white gold. Pure gold is quite soft so it is mixed with other metals to give it better durability and a whiter color.
If you’re on a budget, 14k white gold is more affordable than platinum. For a ring setting in 14k white gold, prices start around $250. For 18k white gold, prices start at nearly $600. The simplest platinum ring settings start around $750.
14k white gold is the cheapest option and lets you afford a more intricate ring setting. Or, you can opt for a simpler ring setting and have more money to splurge on a stunning diamond.
See also: Is White Gold Fake or is it Really Gold?
Platinum is the most Durable.
If you work with your hands a lot during the day, ring durability will be important for you.
Platinum is denser than white gold, so it is heavier and costs more. It’s also more difficult to work with because it is a harder metal, so more labor costs go into making platinum rings. Once the ring is made, it’s much harder to dent or damage.
It’s natural for both platinum and white gold rings to get scratched with wear. With platinum rings, scratches create a patina finish. This patina finish is considered beautiful to some and shows the longevity of your love. White gold can look more visibly damaged than platinum.
Platinum is Hypoallergenic.
Pure platinum is hypoallergenic and does not cause a reaction with your skin. Because platinum is naturally a white-colored metal, other metals don’t need to be added. According to Business Insider, a platinum ring is 95% pure platinum (https://www.businessinsider.com/why-you-shouldnt-choose-a-white-gold-engagement-ring-2018-12). A 14k white gold ring is only 58% gold.
Other metals added to white gold include nickel which may irritate the skin. However, white gold plated in rhodium will greatly reduce or eliminate any irritation.
Plating and replating white gold adds cost.
Most of the white gold you find at jewelry stores are plated with rhodium metal. This means that there is a very thin layer of rhodium coating the white gold. The rhodium layer helps give white gold a whiter color closer to platinum.
With time the rhodium layer will begin to wear off. You’ll need to replate the rhodium when this happens. Depending on how much you wear the ring, you’ll need to do this every 1 to 3 years. According to Xennox Diamonds, you can expect to pay between $60-$120 for each replating (https://www.xennoxdiamonds.com.au/faq-about-rhodium-plating/).
Over time, this replating cost will add up. Because of this, the overall cost of a white gold ring may actually be more than the cost of a platinum ring.
White gold and platinum are slightly different colors.
White gold has a slightly silvery color to it. Platinum is a naturally white metal and has a whiter color than white gold. When it comes to which color is best, it’s up to personal preference.
The pros of white gold:
- Less expensive upfront
- Silvery tone to the metal
- Rhodium plating reduces skin irritation
The cons of white gold:
- Less durable
- May irritate your skin without rhodium plating
- Rhodium replating costs add up
The pros of platinum:
- Very durable
- Whiter color than white gold
- No replating costs
The cons of platinum:
- Heavier than white gold
The final verdict:
Though white gold is less expensive up front, it is less durable and needs to be replated every few years. Considering replating costs, white gold and platinum are a similar price in the long run.
My recommendation: if you have a preference between the two colors, go with the color you like. If you’re on a tight budget upfront, white gold may be the only option you can afford. However, if it’s within your budget, platinum is known for its premium quality. If you can afford it, you’ll have a ring that will last you a lifetime.