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This article was written by Michael Fox, owner of Fox Jewelry, a business dedicated to the sale of Masonic Rings, Masonic accessories and other fraternal jewelry. Fox Jewelry offers the largest selection of Masonic Rings and other Masonic Jewelry anywhere.
Although most of the articles that I write deal with Masonic Rings and other fraternal jewelry, I am often asked by my followers various questions related to the purchase of jewelry. One of them that comes about often is:
I am probably going to tell you more than you ever wanted to know about the differences but here it is and you can be the judge.
Both white gold and platinum are expensive metals. Which one is the best for you and why is there such a difference in price.
Both metals fall into the heavy metals section of the elements chart. Both metals are white. Gold is and always has been a favorite metal to be used in making jewelry as well as a lot of other things. Artisans have been making jewelry out of gold for thousands of years. It doesn’t tarnish, oxidize, rust and is easy to work model. Pure gold is 24K and is too soft to be used in making jewelry. Combine the strength of a few other alloys and you have got a great piece of jewelry that will last for a very long time. 14K gold whether it be yellow or white is an alloy made up of 58% gold and 42% other alloys. 18K gold is 75% gold and 25% other alloys.
Depending upon the other alloys used, the color may vary widely. White gold is normally achieved by mixing gold, silver, nickel, zinc and of course gold. In addition, to alloying the white color, white gold is normally plated with rhodium which is a hard and shiny white heavy metal. Rhodium is in the platinum family.
Just like gold, platinum does not corrode, rust or tarnish or change color over the years. It is also a great metal for making jewelry. Just because it is strong does not mean that it will not scratch or dent. Over time a platinum ring will develop a dulled finish after a while due to dents and scratching when contact with other surfaces. Platinum typically is not alloyed with other metals and that makes it more hypoallergenic.
Platinum rings typically cost more than 14k gold rings. This is because, platinum is denser and will weigh more than the same size ring made in gold. Platinum is also more rare than gold and costs more to purchase on the world market. With a platinum ring you are paying for 90-95% pure platinum whereas in a 14k gold ring, you are only paying for 58% gold. Platinum is also more difficult to work with, therefore more labor is expended when making your piece of jewelry.
Since white gold actually begins its journey through the process as yellow gold, it is actually not a truly white metal. When jewelers finish making a white gold ring, the last step in the process is to rhodium plate the ring. It may be necessary down the road to have your white gold ring re-plated at some point in time in the future. This is a relatively inexpensive process to do and you will be able to enjoy your nice shiny piece of jewelry for a very long time. It will maintain its shiny appearance for a lot longer time that your platinum piece of jewelry. A platinum piece of jewelry will “dull up” much more quickly than your 14k white gold piece of jewelry.
Most consumers are not aware of this attribute and will be disappointed when their platinum rings loses its luster after only a few months of wear. For maintenance your platinum ring will need more frequent polishing than your white gold piece of jewelry; however, your white gold piece of jewelry will need to be re-plated from time to time.
If your ring has many small diamonds, I recommend white gold as it will be more forgiving when abused and will be less likely to lose the small diamonds when dropped as the platinum ring will be more brittle.
White gold will retain its luster much longer than platinum.
I probably told you at the beginning of this article that you would probably hear more than you need to know, but it is fairly evident what my choice would be. White Gold!
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