The Scoop on Platinum
Do you know why platinum has become so popular in jewellery? Platinum and white gold look similar but there are several key differences to consider before choosing between them.
What makes it white?
There is no such thing as "white gold." White gold is an alloy typically consisting of 75% gold and 25% other metals such as nickel or palladium. This combination creates a light yellow hue that is typically plated with rhodium (a metal similar to platinum) to give it a lustrous white finish. The plating eventually will wear away and will have to be reapplied to maintain the bright white sheen.
At 90-95% pure, platinum has a natural white luster that does not require plating. Over time, the luster of platinum will dull to a natural patina and can be easily polished up to look brand new at any time.
White gold is a soft, pliable metal. The purer the gold, the softer it is. When white gold becomes scratched, a small part of the metal is scratched off. Over time, this will lead to a thinning of the ring. In order to strengthen the metal alloys are formed, which causes the metal to be harder and more brittle. A ring made of 24 karat gold would disfigure and become mishapen after only a short period of normal wear.
Platinum is renowned as a setting for diamonds due to its superb strength and durability. This strength, however, does not mean that platinum will not scratch. The metal scratches fairly easily and develops a natural patina over a number of years. This scratching, though, does not thin the ring because platinum is an extremely dense metal. Platinum is also heavier than other precious metals and 30 times more rare than gold.
Some people have sensitivity to white gold jewelry. This is usually not an allergy to gold, but more commonly an allergy to nickel or some of the other metals used as alloys in gold jewelry. The most common allergy is to nickel.
Platinum is hypoallergenic and therefore does not pose a problem for people with sensitive skin. Additionally, platinum is one of the only metals that can be used in almost its pure form (90-95%) and does not tarnish as easily as white gold.