Wednesday 31 August 2016

Platinum or White Gold?

Two of the most popular materials in making engagement rings are Gold and Platinum. But what’s really the difference between these two and which is suitable for you?

      1) Composition
Gold is a precious metal used for coinage, jewellery, electronics and other industries since its discovery.  However, because of the softness of pure (24kt) gold, it is usually alloyed with other metals to make it durable for jewellery.

Gold comes in 24kt, 22kt, 18kt, 14kt and so on.. As opposed to Carat (Ct) which refers to the weight of the diamond, Karat (Kt) refers to the purity of the gold.
Let’s say for example an 18kt white gold - it is made by mixing 75% (750 parts per thousand)  gold with 25% (250 parts per thousand) of other metals such as silver and palladium while 18kt yellow gold is made by mixing 75% gold with 25%  other metals such as copper and zinc. So the amount of gold is the same but the alloy is different, and these alloys can modify the gold’s hardness, ductility, color and other properties.

Nickel was commonly used in white gold, however, it is found to cause skin reactions hence, we never use this alloy. For all JannPaul white gold jewelleries, we guarantee that it is hypoallergenic.

Platinum on the other hand is used in jewelry, in almost its pure form (usually as a 90–95% pure platinum and 10-15% alloy). It is frequently mixed with similar metals or non-precious base metals. In general, the higher the percentage of pure platinum, the higher the value of the jewelry will be. In JannPaul, we offer 95% pure Platinum (also known as Pt950).

        2)   Physical Properties
  •          Color
Metals like palladium have a bleaching effect that gives gold a white-ish result depending on the exact formulation. To make the white gold even whiter, rings are rhodium plated.
Platinum, on the other hand, is extremely long wearing and is very white, so it does not need to be rhodium plated like white gold does.
  •         Weight
Platinum is much denser than white gold. Hence, a platinum ring would feel more substantial and luxurious to some. Depending on personal preference, some ladies will still go for the light-weight material for comfortability measures on a daily wear.

       3)    Durability – Hardness & Malleability
The hardness of a substance refers to its resistance to be scratched by another material, while malleability is the ability of metal to be moulded, shaped or bent without breaking.

While it’s true that pure gold is softer than platinum, an 18kt gold alloyed with other metals makes it harder than of a Platinum (Pt 950). So despite being denser, platinum can get scratched a little easier than 18kt gold does. It is however less malleable, which makes it difficult to bend out of shape, gripping the diamond more securely in its place over the course of time.

Moreover, an important thing to note is that scratching platinum does not mean material lost; instead it’s purely metal displacement, developing patina finish over time which gives the ring a more antique look. (So if you’re a fan of vintage designs this is something you can consider).18kt gold ring on the other hand is harder to scratch, but when it does, it’s a tad bit more obvious as the top layer of the gold is lost and it will leave a mark. But don’t worry! We can still restore the ring close to its original appearance after re-polishing and re-plating.

      4)      Long Term Care
While white gold and platinum looks very similar, over time white gold will oxidize and its rhodium plating will wear off and fade to a yellowish tinge. Platinum on the other hand, which is naturally white, will not fade to yellow. Nevertheless, once you re-polish and re-plate the white gold ring, it will look white again.

For more about our after sales services, click here.

An important thing to note is that white gold is more widely used than platinum; hence more jewellers are able to resize and repair this type of jewelry.

      5)       Price
Since platinum used in jewelries are purer, in order to achieve the same design made in 18kt white gold, more material weight of platinum will be required. To add on to that, platinum is trickier to work with, hence labour cost will be more. This results in platinum being significantly more expensive than gold. With all other things being the same, a platinum ring will be approximately twice the price of an 18k white gold ring.

Both Platinum and White Gold are great metals, It will still boil down to your individual preferences and budget.

-written by Joy Barcelona