Platinum vs White Gold vs Palladium and which metal is the best for someone is a question we get asked all the time. Unfortunately, your engagement ring options do not cease after deciding on a setting and choosing the perfect diamond or colored gemstone. There is one final choice to be made:
Platinum vs White Gold vs Palladium
What’s The Best Metal For My Engagement Ring?
You basically have 4 options when it comes to buying or having a piece of jewelry made. Silver, The various gold colors, platinum and palladium. And while it is true that some precious metals make decidedly better choices for engagement or wedding rings, budget will play the largest factor in your choice. With silver being far less durable than the other three, the basic question it boils down to for most brides to be is Platinum vs White Gold vs Palladium.
For the last few decades, white colored metals have reigned supreme in the choice for engagement and wedding rings. A white metal goes with everything more so than the yellow or rose gold alloys. In that a white metal, the options are silver, white gold, platinum and palladium. These alternatives might have a similar look to the naked eye, they are wildly different in terms of durability and cost. In fact, palladium has become so expensive due to its use in technology products, that it has basically priced itself out of the market for jewelry. Many manufacturers won’t even cast it anymore.
Regardless, if you want your engagement or wedding rings to withstand the test of time, not thinking about the best metal choice can have negative consequences further down the line. To aid in deciding which precious metal is best for you and your partner, it’s important to look at the attributes as well as pros and cons between the metal choices.
Here is a silver engagement ring that has cracked and been bent out of shape. While silver isn’t the best option for a wedding jewelry, sometimes it is all your budget will allow for. Sometimes, we recommend getting the stone you want and putting it in silver until you can afford a more durable metal.
Does The Color Of White Gold, Palladium or Platinum Change?
Everyone knows that pure, natural gold coming out of the ground has that rich yellow color. To produce white or rose gold, various metals such as copper or nickel are alloyed with the pure gold to give them the white or pink color. Unfortunately, the yellow undertone can’t be totally eradicated in white gold, leaving a gold undertone that many do not like. To combat this, white gold can be plated with with a layer of rhodium. This hides the yellow coloring and make the ring appear whiter in color.
Rhodium is very effective in this while it is on the ring, but unfortunately, the plating will eventually wear off. How long this takes to happen depend on a few factors such as how rough you are on your jewelry or the types of beauty products someone uses. Many never notice that the rhodium plating has worn off and never have the ring replated. However, many do care and end up having the rings rhodium plated once a year. With Rhodium prices at $56000 an ounce and only becoming more expensive, that can add up in cost over time.
In the picture below, you can see the differences in color of unplated white gold on the left and a new rhodium plating on the right.
Rhodium is in the platinum family and can make a white gold ring whiter and shinier.
The Weight Of Platinum vs White Gold vs Palladium
Platinum is over 60% heavier than palladium and 30% heavier than white gold. This difference in weight is easily discernible when you wear jewelry in these metals.
While not universal, most brides to be prefer the weight of platinum jewelry. They can feel it more than white gold or palladium and it gives them a sense of knowing the ring is there. The only exception to this is for earrings. Platinum is not the best metal for many earring designs as the weight can pull on the wearer’s ears.
To demonstrate this, we have take the same ring and Take a look at our Split Shank Halo Engagement Ring. Here are the weights in the three white metals we are looking at.
Purity of Platinum vs White Gold vs Palladium
Apart from thinking about the color of your engagement and wedding rings. Purity of the alloy used in your ring should be considered. It can have a direct effect on the cost of your rings as well as durability. Pure gold is far too soft to withstand the daily wear and tear an engagement or wedding ring goes through,.So it’s always alloyed with other metals like silver, nickel, palladium, or copper to make a more durable for everyday wear.
When someone talks about 14 or 18K gold, it just refers to the amount of pure gold it contains . The higher the karat, the more pure gold is in the ring.
|18k White Gold||18/24 Gold||75%|
|14k White Gold||14/24 Gold||58.5%|
|10k White Gold||10/24 Gold||41.3%|
As far as platinum and palladium purities, palladium and platinum are typically alloyed to a 95% purity.
The 5% alloy used in those metals is generally ruthenium. It is another metal in the platinum family. The ruthenium is used is to slightly soften up the platinum to make it workable by a goldsmith. However, palladium, iridium, rhodium, ruthenium and nickel are also used on request.
ENGAGEMENT RING WEAR & TEAR
Contrary to what many believe: no precious metal is scratch or dent proof. Some are simply more vulnerable to the hard-knock life than others.
Engagement rings endure a silent beating day. They are hit on things, scratched with abrasive items, and just generally not worn gingerly, Despite what women will tell you. And unfortunately, being overtly cautious can help but only works to a point. However, that doesn’t require that you spend all your time worrying about damaging your engagement ring every time you move your hands! The first step to a durable ring that can withstand the wear and tear of everyday life is choosing a strong base metal. Generally, that is platinum or palladium if your budget will allow for it. However,10K white gold can also be very durable to to the high nickel content.
Gold’s distinctly soft and malleable nature has made it a goldsmith’s preference for centuries. Unfortunately, these very same characteristics compromise the strength and durability of a white gold ring.
CAD & 3d Printing To The Rescue!
Luckily for brides to be, engagement and wedding ring manufacturing has advanced quite a bit thanks to the growth in CAD design and 3D printing. Small design details that used to require a master goldsmith to create can now be 3d “printed” in a wax model. This wax can then be cast into an exact copy without a needing a goldsmith to work the metal by hand. On top of there not being as many master goldsmiths around anymore, hand fabrication can be quite expensive.
Finally, we come to a slightly bizarre characteristic of these metals. And one for which we do not know enough chemistry to explain. That it when a piece of white gold jewelry piece is scratched, it actually sheds metal. Consequently, after many years of being worn, the bottom of a white gold ring will eventually wear thin. This may cause the undesirably bending depending on the original width of the ring.
It’s Not Ruined Yet!
In opposition to that gold does, platinum and palladium display a type of smear effect where the metal is just pushed around. And it can be pushed back into place by a skilled goldsmith! Luckily, 99% of scratches aren’t disasters for your jewelry and can be easily polished out by a jeweler. So, don’t fall apart worrying your ring will be damaged beyond repair just by wearing it.
The bottom line in this discussion is that platinum and palladium jewelry will not require ongoing maintenance like white gold will. So, this is something that should be considered when thinking about Platinum vs White Gold vs Palladium. This is why we recommend Palladium and Platinum for use in everyday jewelry such as engagement and wedding rings.
Price Difference Between Platinum vs White Gold vs Palladium
Per ounce, palladium is over 50 times more expensive than platinum in Jan 2023. For a long time, palladium was selling at a fraction of the platinum price. However, with the surging demand from the cell phone and lithium ion battery industry. Palladium has overtaken platinum and will probably never come back down. This makes the choice easy for some and is why we recommend platinum over palladium.
Try A Custom Engagement Or Wedding Ring
Are you the kind of person who likes to have unique things that nobody else has? How does one differentiate themselves when the malls and chain stores all have similar designs and a huge lack of stone options? The answer lies in having a custom engagement ring created just for you. We will help you to create one from scratch if that is what it takes to make your dream a reality.
Instead of going for mass produced pieces, we can help you transform your own idea into a stunning custom jewelry bridal sets.
While custom engagement and wedding rings are one of our specialties, we don’t limit ourselves to that! Regardless of whether it is a halo ring, split shank ring, or custom gold name necklace. We can make anything that can be cast.
Click here to see all of our custom engagement rings. If you don’t see anything you like or can modify to your taste, send us your idea. We will see what we can do for you. Learn more about custom jewelry, view our the rest of our custom jewelry creations, or contact us about the Platinum vs White Gold vs Palladium question. However, it can cost less than you think to have your very own custom engagement ring made.
Why settle for boring, uninspiring, mass-produced engagement rings from the mall? Many times, our prices are lower as well. We can make exactly what you want. If you are having a tough time nailing down the design you want, we can help with that as well. Send us the design you want and we will bring it to life for you.