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The Golden Rules of Platinum

Do you know why platinum has become so popular with jewelry purchasers? Platinum and white gold look similar, but there are several key differences to consider before choosing between them.

What makes it white?

There is no such thing as "white gold." White gold is an alloy typically consisting of 75% gold and 25% other metals such as nickel or palladium. This combination creates a light yellow color that is typically plated with rhodium (a metal similar to platinum) to give it a lustrous white finish. The plating eventually will wear away and will have to be reapplied to maintain the bright sheen. At 90-95% pure, platinum has a natural white luster that does not require plating. Over time, the luster of platinum will dull to a natural patina that has been celebrated for a look that makes a diamond appear to sparkle brighter.

Strength

White gold is a soft, pliable metal. The purer the gold, the softer it is. When white gold becomes scratched, a small part of the metal is scratched off. Over time, this will lead to a thinning of the ring. In order to strengthen the metal alloys are formed, which causes the metal to be harder and more brittle. A ring made of 24 karat gold would disfigure after only a short period of normal wear. Platinum is renowned as a setting for diamonds due to its superb strength and durability. This strength, however, does not mean that platinum will not scratch. The metal scratches fairly easily and develops a natural patina over a number of years. This scratching, though, does not thin the ring because platinum is an extremely dense metal. Platinum is also heavier than other precious metals and 30 times more rare than gold.

Allergies

Some people have sensitivity to white gold jewelry. This is usually not an allergy to gold, but more commonly an allergy to nickel or some of the other metals used as alloys in gold jewelry. The most common allergy is to nickel and, as a result, many artisans have limited the use of nickel in white gold rings. Platinum is hypoallergenic and therefore does not pose a problem for people with sensitive skin. Additionally, platinum is one of the only metals that can be used in almost its pure form (90-95%) and does not tarnish as easily as white gold.

The Choice Is Yours

Ultimately, the choice between white gold and platinum comes down to a personal preference. Some prefer the bright white luster of plated white gold rings to the natural white look of platinum rings. Each setting has advantages and disadvantages.

Visit our store on Park Avenue and 59th Street in New York City to experience the difference in person.