White Metals Comparison

White Metals Comparison | Corey Egan
 

White Metals are a popular choice for modern wedding or engagement rings. Their popularity makes sense. Silvery white precious metals are timeless and they compliment many skin tones. Unlike yellow or rose, which are only available in gold alloys, a variety of precious metals are white in color. Each type of metal has a slightly different hue as well as their own sets of benefits and drawbacks. 

Gold, Palladium, Platinum and Rhodium are each elements on the periodic table with unique properties that make them desirable for jewelry production. These characteristics affect the the purity needed for jewelry alloys, as well as their density and the way they will wear over time. 

Each precious metal is independently traded in the stock market. This means their prices fluctuate with supply and demand independent from one other.

Deciding which white metal is best for you boils down to three factors: maintenance, density, and price. 

 
Rhodium, 14K Nickel White Gold, 14K Palladium White Gold, 18K Palladium White Gold, Palladium & Platinum

Rhodium, 14K Nickel White Gold, 14K Palladium White Gold, 18K Palladium White Gold, Palladium & Platinum

 

Three precious metals covered in my Guide to Precious Metals will be used in the following head-to-head match ups : White Gold, Platinum, and Palladium.

 

WHITE GOLD VS. PLATINUM

 
14K Palladium White Gold vs Platinum

14K Palladium White Gold vs Platinum

 

White gold jewelry typically has a lower price point than platinum. A large part of this price difference is due to the fact that platinum alloy used contains 95% platinum whereas a white gold ring will have 58.5% (14 karat) to 75% (18 karat) gold content. Platinum is also more dense, meaning a finished ring of the same size and shape weighs more.

Platinum is hypoallergenic and naturally more white in color than white gold. White gold can be rhodium plated to achieve a whiter finish, but that plating will require extra maintenance over time.  

For a full description of each of these metals, please read my Guide to Precious Metals.


White Gold vs. Platinum

WHITE GOLD

PLATINUM

LOWER PRICE

PURITY

58.5% - 75% pure gold 90-95% pure platinum

WHITEST COLOR

HYPO ALLERGENIC

alloys containing Nickel are NOT hypoallergenic

MAINTENANCE

may require rhodium plating every 2 years high polished platinum will develop a worn patina over time

White Gold vs. Palladium

 
14K Palladium White Gold vs Palladium

14K Palladium White Gold vs Palladium

 

Like platinum, palladium is hypoallergenic and naturally more white in color than white gold. It is used in the same purity as well, 95% pure. Palladium is less dense than gold or platinum, making the finished ring feel very lightweight. It's also the most scratch resistant of the white metals. 

The price of a finished ring in palladium typically falls between the price of a 14 karat gold ring and an 18 karat gold ring. 

For a full description of each of these metals, please read my Guide to Precious Metals.


White Gold vs. PALLADIUM

WHITE GOLD

PALLADIUM

LOWER PRICE

PURITY

58.5% - 75% pure gold 90-95% pure palladium

WHITEST COLOR

HYPO ALLERGENIC

alloys containing Nickel are NOT hypoallergenic

MAINTENANCE

may require rhodium plating every 2 years more scratch resistant

 

PALLADIUM VS. PLATINUM

 
Palladium vs Platinum

Palladium vs Platinum

 

Palladium and platinum are both platinum family metals on the periodic table of elements. Both are used at 95% purity in their alloys, but since palladium is less dense the finished ring will weigh less. Both metals are hypoallergenic and have a naturally white color which requires no rhodium plating. Both metals are excellent for stone setting and holding gems in place.

Palladium's lighter weight and lower price tag are typical reasons one would choose palladium over platinum.  

Platinum's rarity and significant weight are typical reasons one would choose platinum over palladium. 

For a full description of each of these metals, please read my Guide to Precious Metals.


PALLADIUM vs. PLATINUM

PALLADIUM

PLATINUM

LOWER PRICE

PURITY

90-95% pure platinum 90-95% pure platinum

WHITEST COLOR

HYPO ALLERGENIC

MAINTENANCE

more scratch resistant high polished platinum will develop a worn patina over time

 

RHODIUM PLATING

 
Rhodium vs 14K Nickel White Gold

Rhodium vs 14K Nickel White Gold

 

As discussed in my Precious Metals Comparison, many white gold alloys are rhodium plated.

Rhodium is a precious metal in its own right and a member of the platinum family on the periodic table of elements. Coating your white gold jewelry in rhodium gives the metal a bright white color, but this layer eventually wears off. This plating usually needs to be reapplied every 1 to 2 years, but depending on the wearer’s body chemistry and wearing habits it could be as frequently as every 6 months.


 
 

For a look at all of your precious metal options, be sure to check out my guide to precious metals.


 
Rhodium, 14k Nickel White Gold, 14k Palladium White Gold, 18k Palladium White Gold, Palladium and Platinum Color | White Metals Comparison | Corey Egan

 

 

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