The time has come, and you are looking at Ethical Engagement Rings, but what really is the difference between white gold and platinum?
You know your mum’s ring is platinum, but your best friend's fiancé has just got hers and she is in love with her 18ct white gold….
There are many options, but 18ct gold and platinum are two of the most common choices for engagement rings. Remember that the metal you choose for the engagement ring is likely to be the same one that your wedding bands will be made of, so it’s important to choose something that you and your partner, can live with for many years to come.
If you’ll be wearing it every day, potentially for the rest of your life (or at least until you splurge for new ones at your 50th anniversary), it’s important to choose metals that will be durable and withstand daily use.
Both gold and platinum are very durable precious metals. Platinum is the densest precious metal on Earth, making it more durable than 18ct gold. If your soon-to-be fiancé works with their hands often, durability is a major concern. In this case, platinum may be the best option.
Remember that as a denser metal, platinum will be slightly heavier on the hand than 18ct gold. For some, the lightness of gold is more comfortable, especially if the hands are constantly under stress from frequent use.
Gold is a very traditional material for engagement rings, and comes in three different colours: yellow gold, white gold and rose gold. Yellow gold is one of the most recognisable metals in the world. It is made by mixing, in the case of 18ct 75% pure gold with alloy metals like copper and silver. Like any metal it can also be dented or scratched with time, but more so than platinum.
Supernova Ethical Diamond Engagement Ring in 18ct Fairtrade Yellow Gold
By contrast, platinum starts off as a gunmetal grey material. Right after polishing, it will look very shiny, but it will also get dull and scratched over time. It will need occasional polishing every few years, but it will keep its original colour without any further maintenance. It will always match any other platinum ring you put next to it.
White gold has become perhaps the most popular metal for engagement rings in recent years. 18ct white gold is the brighter of the two metals, but this is only due to its white rhodium plating. The plating is needed as most commercial 18ct white gold looks a bit yellowish (remember, most of it's content, 75% to be exact, is pure gold, which is yellow in colour).
And this white rhodium plating will wear off with time... How long? it really depends on the acidity of your skin (the more acid, the sooner you will wear off the plating) but probably every couple of years. White Rhodium plating is often inexpensive or free at many jewellers.
To avoid this change in colour, some jewellers (like us) use a palladium mix for the 18ct white gold (this means that the other 25% of metal has a high palladium content as well as other metals), which makes it look whiter than your usual high street gold. This "high palladium mix 18ct white gold" is more expensive than the normal one but when the plating wears off, the metal will still look very white, and you might not even notice the difference in tone.
Rose gold is a combination of pure gold and copper. This is a beautiful romantic option for a feminine engagement ring, but please keep in mind that copper can cause an allergic reaction for some skin types.
The deciding factor for many consumers is the price. While currently gold and platinum are similar in price per gram, overall a platinum ring is more expensive than an 18ct gold ring. This is because platinum is denser, and so more of it is required to make a ring. Additionally, platinum rings are usually 95% pure platinum, while 18ct gold is only 75% gold.
By carefully considering these three aspects, you can choose exactly the right metal for your engagement ring.
Good luck with the search, and if you need some inspiration come over to our Engagement Ring pages.
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