The most common question I get asked when being asked to make a Jewellery piece is white gold or platinum?
To me the answer is simple, but here are the arguments for both. Please keep in mind that while I don’t directly refer to prices the proportionate cost difference is at the time of writing.
What is White Gold?
Gold only naturally comes in one colour. Gold! In order to make white gold a metal called palladium is added to liquid gold which gives the appearance of white. When a piece of Jewellery is finished after the polish a plating is put on top called rhodium which makes the white gold bright. Over time (more so on rings) the plating comes off and dull yellow starts to come through. For most clients re-plating rings is needed every 3-5 years, we file the metal back to an even finish, polish and then put a plating on top.
White/Gold has a melting point of 1,064 degrees C, which makes it ideal to use with Jewellery because it is able to be easily and relatively quickly worked into shape. 18ct gold has a specific gravity of 15.80 (this will make more sense after you read about platinum)
What is Platinum?
Platinum is a very dense white metal. It is has a melting point of 1,768 degrees C and a specific gravity 21.45. Because it is denser it takes much longer to work with. It also doesn’t have the same shine that white gold has, however it doesn’t need to be re-plated like white gold does.
Because it is a denser metal it takes longer to get to the melting point and takes longer to work with to shape. Because it is denser it takes a lot more force to scratch, so instead of being polished ever 3-5 years it can stretch out to 8-10 years (though always depends on the person and how they wear their Jewellery)
Apologies for the photo below – just keeping it real! Can you figure out which is the 18ct white gold, which is the platinum and which is the sterling silver ring?
We charge the same price for Platinum or White Gold. The rational is that at the time of writing Platinum is cheaper than 18ct White Gold, however the amount of labour is about 50% to 70% more.
Personally I always advise Platinum over 18ct White Gold.