Choosing your metal
PLATINUM vs WHITE GOLD FOR ENGAGEMENT RINGS
IS WHITE GOLD THE SAME AS PLATINUM?
No. They are two different metals entirely. White gold and platinum have their own properties which make them unique. The following white gold information and platinum information show you the difference between the two metals.
White gold is an alloy of gold and some white metals such as silver and palladium. White gold can be 18K, 9K or any karat. For example, 18K yellow gold is made by mixing 75% gold (750 parts per thousand) with 25% (250 parts per thousand) other metals such as copper and zinc. 18K white gold is made by mixing 75% gold with 25% other metals such as silver and palladium. So the amount of gold is the same but the alloy is different.
If you are to choose white gold as your metal of choice for your engagement or wedding pieces, they ring will be finished off with Rhodium plating. This is what gives the ring that desired bright, crips white colour. Rhodium is a metal very similar to platinum and Rhodium shares many of the properties of platinum including it's white colour.
The rhodium plating is used to make the white gold look more white. The natural colour of white gold varies dependant on the KT of gold it is. For example, 9K White Gold naturally is a duller white tone and is more of a grey with yellow hue through it. 18K White Gold naturally is a darker grey. The Rhodium plating is very white and very hard, but it does wear away eventually. How quickly this wears off varies from wearer to wearer and what the ring is exposed to/how it is worn, even the oils of the wearers skin etc. To keep a white gold ring looking its best, it should be re-rhodium plated approximately each 12 to 18 months.
Platinum is a white metal, but unlike gold it is used in jewellery in almost its pure form (approximately 95% pure). Platinum is extremely long wearing and is naturally white, so it does not need to be Rhodium plated like white gold.
Platinum is denser than gold (heavy), so a platinum ring will feel heavier than an 9K. This can be a selling point for some because it feels nice and luxurious.
Platinum is a more precious metal than gold which makes it more expensive which is why the price increases if you choose platinum.
Some people see it as paying more at the start for higher durability long term as well as less inconvenience and no further cost for rhodium plating.
IS THE COLOUR OF WHITE GOLD DIFFERENT TO PLATINUM?
The answer to this question depends on whether the white gold jewellery item is in it's natural colour or whether it has been rhodium plated. If you were to hold a brand new platinum and a brand new freshly rhodium plated ring side by side, you may notice a very slight colour difference however if just looking at one, or the other, the untrained eye would likely not spot the difference.
If a white gold item has been rhodium plated then the colour difference will not really be noticeable at all until the rhodium plating begins to wear off.
Platinum has a permanent bright white lustre and does not have a very light yellow/dark grey tinge like white and therefore is great if you want that bright white look without having to re-plate every year. In the long run it is a better and cheaper option.
IS PLATINUM MORE DURABLE THAN WHITE GOLD?
Technically the answer to this question is yes. We have outlined why below, but it is important to understand that platinum is not damage proof and can still sustain scratches and damage the same as any other metal ring.
People often assume because of the price tag that it may be more durable. This metal does also hold a reputation among people as being the more durable metal however this is not necessarily so.
What we have come to realise is that to consumers buying jewellery, durability equates to how scratch and dint proof something is. However there is a major difference between durability and scratch resistance and hardness and durability.
We'll re-iterate by saying that no metal, no matter it’s expense or preciousness, it is not scratch or dent proof nor bend out of shape proof. It is how a metal copes with damage that occurs causing scratching or dints that determines what is considered more durable.
Platinum as a fact, is very durable. Because it is a highly malleable metal, when it is scratched or dented, the scratch or dent displaces the metal, moving it leaving ridges on the edge of the scratch or dent. This action is what classifies Platinum to be so durable.
This is by comparison to other precious metals such as gold where if the same thing were to occur, you lose the metal from the ring rather than it moving to a different area. Gold rings also wear down quicker than Platinum as a result of this.
When it comes to gold, we work with 9K and 18K Gold predominantly (White, Yellow and Rose). At your request, if you want a higher Karat of gold, we can also do 22-24K.
COMPARING DIFFERENT KARAT OF GOLD
9K gold is actually a gold alloy – a mixture containing additional metals, not only gold. These extra ingredients are meant to improve the characteristics of the alloy.
DIFFERENCE OF HARDNESS
The difference in purity between 24K down to 9K Gold results in different levels of hardness, affecting how these materials are used in jewellery.
Within consumers and even amongst information given by jewellers/the industry, there is confusion between the two terms ‘hardness’ and ‘durability’ and it is important to understand that hardness doesn't equal durability and they mean two different things.
The following simple example generally helps explain the difference best:
If you have a pane of glass and a sheet of perspex (hard plastic sheeting) next to one another and observe, you will see that the glass is clearly the harder material by any hardness test you with to carry out on the two of them. Now hit the two with a hammer... the glass will shatter and it's more likely that the hammer will bounce back at you off the perspex. This makes the perspex the more durable piece even though softer. This analogy translates well as an example of the differences of hardness and durability between the 9K and 18K gold.
9K Gold is relatively hard, and this is one of the reasons this alloy is a popular choice for every day wear jewellery as at a surface level, it tends to stay in shape better, and scratch and dent less easier.
That said, due to it's hardness, it can be more rigid and when suffering a significant blow, is more likely to crack in the setting, or crack the stone as there is less movement in the metal. 9K gold is clearly the harder material when compared with 18K gold, but it is this harness that reduces 9K golds durability long term when it comes to everyday knocks and wear and tear.
When compared over a long term period, 18K comes out on top.
Pure gold 24CT is very rarely used in our jewellery because this metal is very soft. As a result, it can be very easily be scratched and misshapen and not ideal for engagement or wedding ring pieces that customers will typically wear on a daily basis.
DIFFERENCE IN COLOUR
When it comes to colour, there is no contest – 24K gold is the pure winner, as its tone is the actual colour of the real thing, straight from the earth.
Any alloy with lower purity will not have a colour that matches the hue of pure gold, although 18K gold can come pretty close.
9K gold has a yellow colour that is not as saturated as that – the tone of 9K gold is paler in comparison. Some like the richness of colour in the higher Karats of gold, and others like the subtler paler comparison so this may factor towards your choice.
When it comes to 9K Yellow and Rose Gold, some prefer the more subtle colour of the yellow or rose colouring when compared to the richer yellow or rose colouring in your 18 and 24K and vice versa.
DIFFERENCE IN PRICE
24K gold is as expensive as gold gets – it just does not get any purer than that.
18K gold is your middle ground in price and durability.
9CT gold is much more affordable, a reason that jewellery made with this alloy is so popular in modern times where the cost of living is far higher and understandably individuals and couples opting to put larger sums of money towards paying for their wedding, honey moon or their first house deposit or children's expenses than into a ring.
DIFFERENCE IN VALUE
Long term, 18K White, Yellow or Rose gold (or Platinum) will hold it's monetary value better in the long run. It is important to be aware that jewellery of this nature does not have a high second hand resale value and understand that what a ring is valued at, and what it can be resold for are entirely different. Having a higher long term value though will benefit you in the long run insurance wise and replacing for an equally valuable item if stolen or lost.
DIFFERENCE IN WEIGHT
Like platinum, 18K feels more weighty and luxurious. Not a point that matters to some, but to others, is a quality they really like the feel of.
HELP - I STILL DON'T KNOW, WHAT DOES WINDFALL RECOMMEND?
Our opinion is if you have no preference or budget restrictions then why not opt for 18K (or platinum). For the budget conscious shopper, in our opinion there is also nothing wrong with 9K Gold and no matter what gold karat chosen, if you take the relevant after care tips and look after the ring, then all should last a long long time.
The best recommendation we can give is that you research and gain an understanding of the differences between all options and make an informed decision that suits your needs and budget best, accepting both the pros and cons in the short and long term of whatever option you take as you will be knowledgable in making this final decision.
Don't be scared to ask as many questions as you need from us as there is no cap on question asking and there is no silly questions and we are totally happy assist you with what ever info you need to make an informed decision :)