As we move towards the Summer months and Spring wedding proposals, I am often surprised by the confusion and mis-information surrounding Platinum and White Gold. Since both are popular choices for setting diamonds and hence Bridal jewellery, it is worth clarifying.
Platinum and White Gold are NOT the same metal.
Platinum is a part of the PGM (Platinum Group Metals) and is an inherently white metal with an extremely high melting point (1,772 C) that is hard, ductile and malleable.
Gold is an inherently yellow metal that is dense, ductile and malleable with a lower melting point (1,063 C).
White Gold is essentially Yellow Gold that has been alloyed with either silver, nickel,palladium and/or mangenese to produce a greyish, slightly yellow metal.
All White Gold is rhodium plated to make it appear whiter than its base colour.
Platinum and Diamonds rose to prominence in the Edwardian Period (1901-1914). The discovery of the vast South African diamond fields made diamonds, previously only accessible to the very elite, accessible to all. Platinum -with its unique luminosity and natural white colour became the metal of choice for showcasing diamonds. At the beginning of World War 1, Platinum was declared a strategic metal and White Gold was invented to satisfy an increasing demand for a white metal in jewellery.
Pros and Cons:
Platinum is not a metal that lends itself to mass production and is ideally suited to bench work – one off bespoke pieces. White Gold is more suited to mass production.
Platinum is extremely dense (60% more so than Gold). Platinum is also purer than Gold ( PT= 950/1000 and AU 750/1000) – this makes Platinum prohibitively expensive for very large pieces.
White Gold requires significantly more long term maintenance – both due to rhodium plating and the malleability of the metal.
Many jewellers lack the facilities to work in Platinum (due to its high melting point) and hence advocate White Gold.
Should you require any advice when deciding what would be an appropriate choice of metal for your jewellery, please contact me.
Wishing for an early Summer.