Platinum VS White Gold

Hi. I was hoping you could tell me what the advantages of buying a
bridal set made of white gold Vs one made of platinum are. We are
leaning towards white gold because it is drastically cheaper than
platinum. Could you please help with this? Thanks, Mike

Michael K. Sutler
IBM Customer Relations Management Team
3039 Cornwallis Rd. B-203/GG-114
RTP, NC 27709
PH: 919-517-0089
FAX: 919-547-7312

Hello Mike,

The white gold alloy’s are thatmuch cheaper due to the fact that the
metal “nickel” is used in this alloy.Nickel by itself is really cheap
but is a good discoloring metal for gold.One of the biggest
disadvantages of this metal is the brittlenes of it.An other negative
fact of nickel is that lots of people show allergic reaction for
nickel.Compared whit gold alloy’s made out of platinum (or platinum
group ) are much more expensive because platinum is rare to find and
more expensive then nickel (much more!!).As you look on the stock
market,the platinum group is even more expensive then gold. The
Platinum group is divided into two groups,beeing : 1.The light group
(sg approx 12)Rhodium,Ruthenium,Palladium. 2.The heavy group (sg
approx 21)Osmium,Iridium,Platinum. Platinum,and Iridium (Iridium used
for plating)to not have this allergic reaction.Platinum is very dense
and is much harder to work with then gold(int he meaning of
precautions,contamination of the metal etc.).You need special
equipment in order to work with this metal (Lapidary Journal of
July).Hope this brighten up your question a little bit about the
white gold alloy and Platinum (Platinum group).

Regards Pedro

    what the advantages of buying a bridal set made of white gold Vs
one made of platinum are. 

Michael. I own a small retail jewelry store and this is question we
get every day. The way I see the benefits and drawbacks of both
metals is such: White gold has a significant cost advantage and tends
to hold a polish better, but white gold often develops a slight
yellowish cast which, if it bothers you, has to be covered with
periodic rhodium platings. White gold prongs do occasionally crack
where they are bent over the stone but overall they are stiffer than
platinum prongs, harder to pull away from the stone. Platinum has the
advantage of staying “white” (actually it’s gray) but it is very soft
and exposed polished surfaces soon turn to a matte finish of tiny
scuffs and scratches. Although platinum is a soft metal, prongs in
platinum hold stones tenaciously and have the distinct advantage of
not wearing away. Platinum, whether it deserves it or not, has become
the premier metal for certain types of jewelry, and designs made with
it hold more cachet. White gold and platinum are both very good
metals for jewelry, and each has strengths that can be put to good
use. A local goldsmith or jewelry store that makes jewelry could give
you more that would aid you in this important decision.
Anthony Toepfer Keene, NH

1 Like

Michael, there are many factors bearing on whether to purchase white
gold (WG) or platinum §.

First you need to understand that there is no resemblence between the
two metals. WG is basically an alloy of gold with copper, nickel, and
zinc, while P normally contains a small amount of cobalt. Because of
the nickel content WG is more suseptable than yellow gold to a
condition known as “stress corrosion” caused by various corrosives in
the environment working on the individual crystals of metal that form
on the surface during manufacture. When a stone is set into a white
gold head, the prongs became prime candidates for corrosion because
they remain exposed to corrosive materials of all kinds, and to
continued stress from being banged against hard surfaces. Over time,
the prongs become very tempered, the individual metal crystals become
etched and therefore weakened and finally the prongs begin to spring
away from the surface of the stone. Inevitably they catch on
something and are bent away from the stone. If the prongs are of
heavy metal and are holding a smaller stone, say, under .5 carat,
there is less exposure and the chances of them being torn away is
lessened. But on a large stone, the prongs are spaced more widely
apart and more exposed. If a prong should become bent, there is less
holding power for the stone. I have always recommended any stone .5
carats and above be set with six heavy prongs when using WG.

With P, the metal always remains soft. It does not corrode, will not
etch or weaken and thus when a prong is bent down to the stone, it
will always remain there. It hardly wears at all so the prong need
not be as heavy as a WG prong but even in a P setting, I recommend
using six prongs from 1 carat up.

The problem for a client is the relative costs because P is much more
expensive than WG.

Questions to consider are, what is the size and quality of the stone
to be set? If it is over .5 ct and of high quality such as D color,
VVS, etc, etc., the extra costs might be worth it. Certainly anything
of quality over 1 ct deserves more protection.

Is it necessary for the entire set to be white? Remember, WG is
whiter than P which is more gray in color. You might also consider
using a P head on either a YG or WG shank if the stone is significant
in size and quality. That way you can save some costs without
sacrificing durability and safety. Hope this helps. If you are still
confused contact me off-line at @coralnut.

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio where simple elegance IS
fine jewelry.

   while P normally contains a small amount of cobalt. 

PLAT 900 contains 100ppt irridium. This is a very common alloy in
jewelry. PLAT 950 can contain cobalt (a more recent alloy devised for
casting) or rhuthenium

   Remember, WG is whiter than P which is more gray in color.  

Where do you get this data??

White gold is actually a light yellow. It is the rhodium (a platinum
group metal) plating that gives it a white color. If you like the
look of rhodium, you can plate the platinum with it. Platinum will
stay white as it wears down (decades slower than white gold) white
gold will appear yellow as the rhodium plating wears away and as it
slowly tarnishes. Yes even 18Karat white.



One thing that has not been mentioned on this thread is the use of a
white gold Palladium alloy which contains no nickel and has a slightly
greyer color than nickel white gold alloys and different working
properties. I have used it a number of times as a less expensive
alternative to Platinum and both myself and the customer have been
satisfied with the results.

Douglas Frey

Arthur, Thanks for the Of course while the alloys in
most noble metals are fairly stable in our modern age, new ways to do
things better are always being found. Hence, the use of cobalt in P.
In time there will doubtless be other alloys as well.

Fact is, both these P alloys, 900 or 950, are stable, wear slowly,
retain postion and P is still the best way to go when setting a
significant stone.

Re the color…well, I guess after nearly 30 years in the trade my
eyes aren’t what they used to be. Oh, I’ve seen slightly yellow WP,
I’ve seen ?pure? white, I’ve seen gray, etc (without plating). To me
the standard alloys are more white than gray. On the other hand, while
the sheen or shine of P may portend a whiteness, the metal itself
appears slightly grayish to me. Short of some sort of scientific test,
could all this be a case of perception?

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio where simple elegance IS
fine jewelry! PS, It is still raining here in SFlorida!

Douglas, I don’t want to appear stupid but is this the name of the
white gold Palladium.?. the reason I am asking is I will have to do a
marriage of metals in my next class project and I am looking of
something for something to use with the silver and would like it to
show up nicely. I can not afford gold at this time… Thank you, karen Bryan


The price of a Palladium white gold alloy is slightly more than the
cost of a Nickel white gold because of the Palladium content. Possibly
a shibuchi or shakudo alloy would give you a nice contrast at a lower
price for your marriage of metals project.

Douglas Frey

Douglas Frey mentioned the most popular white gold (gold & Palladium)
used here in Japan. The gold and nickel combination lost favor
amongst the designers here over 20 years ago. Its only attribute is
that it is cheaper than the gold/palladium combination; but trying to
remove the oxidation after a soldering job is one big task. While
with the palladium mix, there is no oxidation and the setting of
stones is nearly like setting with platinum…much easier than yellow
gold. Work is as easy and as fast as yellow gold. Also takes a superb
polish. As for platinum; why they’re using cobalt is very hard to
comprehend. Japan is , if I’m not mistaken, the biggest user and
manufacturer of platinum jewelry and they have been using the
platinum/palladium combination for ages. I have never had any problem
with the casting here. Yes, platinum takes longer to work with than
gold; but then I charge accordingly.

Min Azama in sweltering heat of Tokyo.

Well, not aways. At work, we’re using an 18K white gold from David
Fell Co. It’s higher in nickle, I think, than the usual commercially
used white gold alloys, especially the common 14K ones. This stuff
really doesn’t have a yellow tinge to it that I can see.

On the other hand, it’s harder than all hell. The stone setters hate
the stuff. And getting it to cast consistantly without porosity is a
b*tch. And you have to be really careful to anneal it properly as you
work it, and before setting stones, or it can crack on you. but once
done, it’s actually rather attractive, for white gold. Rhodium is
useful with this to cover some solder seams, which can show, but it
really doesn’t seem to make the color all THAT much whiter. Well, a
little maybe. But you have to look closely. Still, I MUCH prefer
platinum’s working properties, and color as well. It’s greyish white
hue seems to just perfectly set off nice designs and precious stones.
On occasion, we’ll sometimes get an order in for a two tone piece, all
18K, the body being yellow and the prongs/settings white. In some
cases, if the stone is especially fragile or valuable, I’ll just
automatically use platinum prongs instead of that damned hard white
gold, even if the customer is only paying for gold. The reduction in
risk to the stone easily justifies the slight extra cost…

Peter Rowe

Hi! Does anyone know a caster in NYC who uses the gold/palladium mix?
I found one a while back but they weren’t too friendly. Is the
gold/palladium mix in 18kt as well as 14kt? Becky in NYC where sorry
to say, it is humid and disgusting.

To Peter Rowe,

The 18kt palladium white gold alloy from Hoover & Strong is an
excellent metal if white gold is applicable to your situation. At
least the setters won’t be complaining about setting stones in any
style or application with this metal. It has very desirable working
properties for fabricated work and it can be cast without as many of
the afore-mentioned problems and disadvantages of the nickel white
gold alloys.

It is worth trying this one before giving up on using white gold.

Michael David Sturlin, jewelry artist @Michael_Sturlin 480
941-4105 Yahoo | Mail, Weather, Search, Politics, News, Finance, Sports & Videos
.html Michael Sturlin Studio 8313 East Monterosa Street Scottsdale,
AZ 85251 USA

   The 18kt palladium white gold alloy from Hoover & Strong is an
excellent metal if white gold is applicable to your situation. 

Yes I know. I love the stuff. But it IS more expensive, and my boss
prefers not only the lower price of the alloy we use, but as well,
it’s considerably whiter color. And for him, it’s hardness means his
product will resist wear and tear better than the softer palladium
based alloys. He’s not, after all, the guy sitting and sweating at
the bench. I’ve not been able to even get him to listen to using the
pall alloy for general use. he just doesn’t like the color as well.
I have managed to get him to get me some for those instances when I’m
adding prongs to a ring for setting softer or fragile stones. There,
the alloy saves him broken stones, where with most other tasks, the
main issue seems to be my own, and the stone setters, blood pressure
and stress levels. Among other things, he has trouble charging more
for a piece made in the palladium white golds. Those pieces where the
softer alloy really is essential, we usually try to just sell the
design in platinum itself, which of course also solves the whole
problem wonderfully.

Peter Rowe

Douglas, I thank you for your answer. I will talk to my teacher about
it on Friday. This marriage of metals will be a class project and I
am no doubt making a bigger deal out of it than necessary, but I don’t
mind putting quality time into the design of my pieces, even if I am
still considered a student. karen