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What's the Best Metal for Your Ring: 14K Gold vs 18K Gold vs Platinum

white gold vs platinum

  

14K Gold, 18K Gold and Platinum are by far the most popular metals used in jewelry today.

However, they are vastly different in cost and durability. Is platinum worth the extra spend?  Here’s an explanation of the difference between these metals.

14K Gold vs. 18K Gold

Difference in gold percentage

All jewelry is made with precious metal alloys, containing set carat weights of gold. The gold carat weights most commonly seen in jewellery are 14K and 18K:

  • 14K gold contains 58% pure gold. 
  • 18K gold contains 75% pure gold.

Value and fashion considerations

Because of its greater percentage of gold, an 18-karat piece will fetch a higher price than one of 14-karat gold.

18-karat yellow gold has a deeper yellow hue than 14-karat, 14K-karat white gold has a stronger white color than 18-karat, 14-karat rose gold is more pink than 18K, and so on. 

Durability and lifestyle considerations

Because of its higher percentage of alloyed metals, 14k gold offers more resistance to wear and tear. Thus, it is ideal for everyday use, and is the most popular choice for engagement rings and simple wedding wedding bands. Those with active lifestyles should definitely consider getting 14K gold jewelry because it holds up better in sports, manual labor, and other rigorous, regular activities.

18K gold jewelry is softer than 14K, and is therefore typically considered a special occasion piece. You can expect to see more of 18K gold pieces at social events.

Platinum vs. White Gold:

Platinum is a naturally occurring white metal. It is rarer than gold, and much heavier and harder.

Because of its hardness, platinum can be used in a purer form than gold. Usually at about 95%.  

Cost

If you've ever shopped for a diamond ring, you know that platinum can be significantly more expensive than a comparable ring in white gold. 

Despite gold costing more per ounce, platinum is still more expensive. The main reason platinum is more expensive is that, even at the same cost, it takes more platinum to make a platinum ring than it takes to make a similar size ring in gold.

So what are the benefits of paying the extra money for platinum? And, ultimately, which metal is better for you?

Benefits of Platinum 

  • Platinum is allergy friendly because it is a hypoallergenic and pure metal. If you have allergies to certain alloys or metals, you may need a platinum ring. Many people allergic to white gold are able to wear platinum with no issues.
  • Platinum will never tarnish. Gold will eventually tarnish due to the alloys in the metal.
  • You will never need to "dip" platinum. Modern day white gold can turn yellow when the mirror like finish wears off, requiring additional rhodium plating. This can get expensive over time.
  • Because platinum is denser, it is up to four times stronger than white gold. It is less likely to bend, scratch, or dent. 
  • If you are hard on your rings, platinum may be the best option for you. Platinum is less likely to wear down in cleaners or with everyday wear. When it does wear, it will do so at a much slower rate than white gold. 

Benefits of White Gold

  • White gold is friendlier on your budget, so if you have a specific price point you need to stick to, you can perhaps get a larger diamond if you stick to white gold.
  • White gold is less expensive for repair work. Say eventually you need a prong replaced, a platinum ring is going to cost significantly more to get fixed. 
  • If you have a white gold engagement ring, buying platinum wedding bands would be a bad idea, since the metals wear at different rates. The strength of the platinum would cause the gold to wear down faster than usual.

Ultimately the decision of which metal to buy revolves mostly around your budget. If you are buying new rings and have the budget for platinum, that is definitely the right choice. 

Remember, with proper care, even a 14K white gold ring can always be kept in a beautiful, undamaged state.