Platinum vs White Gold

Skinny 18k White Gold Diamond Bracelet
Modern white gold jewellery is good for such pieces – everyday luxe pieces with an ‘on-trend’ look. The rhodium plating over white gold is very important for daily wear. When it becomes less shiny, you can always re-plate the piece.

 

jade platinum pendant
This is old Platinum jewellery that has not been re-plated. The beauty of the grey is loved by some, not so by others. Point is, platinum over time holds its ‘look’ as the day it was made.

 

jade platinum pendant
If you compare the underside of jewellery pieces, you can easily see the construction of platinum pieces is structurally more solid than white gold. It is this robustness that makes platinum feel substantial in your hands. Again, some value this aspect in their jewellery, some less.

White gold is not white. It is usually a weak yellow or heavily greyed that becomes ‘white’ or silver when plated with rhodium.

If you see it without the white finishing, your eyes will probably not pick out that piece in the window. In fact, you may not believe it is actually gold.

Platinum, on the other hand, is grey and polishes to a high shine.

This means that over time, you will need to re-plate your white gold pieces, while platinum pieces can just be polished.

Skinny 18k White Gold Diamond Bracelet
White gold is fabulous for jewellery that does not need to be ‘heirloom’. It is more important that these pieces appear luxe, bright and feminine. The difference of beauty perceived in “carefree” and “careworn” is how I always imagine the beauty in white gold and platinum respectively 🙂
Platinum Chain Necklaces Antique Chinese Jewelry
How It Feels

Platinum is less malleable than white gold. This means that a platinum setting holds gemstones more securely than a white gold setting, since it is harder to bend. This is one of the reasons why a platinum piece feels more solid that a white gold piece.

In our experience with antique jewellery, there is a lot of evidence that platinum jewellery holds up better over time.

Why is platinum more expensive than white gold?

If you compare the prices of pure platinum and gold, they are almost similar. Sometimes, platinum is even cheaper than gold. So how do you explain why platinum jewellery is more expensive than gold pieces?

Firstly, platinum is denser than gold, which means that a platinum piece is heavier than a similar gold piece.

Secondly, the processing cost of platinum is higher. While you can generally remelt gold scraps from working on a piece, scraps of platinum mostly cannot be reused and will have to be refined. In fact, some bench jewellers will not work with platinum because it will contaminate their gold-only workbench.

Thirdly, it really is harder to work on a platinum piece. The melting point of platinum is higher, so you will need to work with a hotter flame.

Fourthly, you can’t sell off platinum like you can sell gold, so if your jeweller buys extra platinum to work on your piece, s/he can’t sell it off, well, not as conveniently.

Why not silver?

Here we put the two to compare because they are the only precious metals to hold quality gemstones. Jewellers are less inclined to set a $1000 per carat gemstone on silver because it is hard to convince the market to pay for fine or rare gemstones in a sterling silver setting.

Once a fiery or vivid gemstone is set on solid gold, everything ‘feels’ different. This could be because the warmth of the yellow gold or shine of white gold casts a glow to the colour of gemstones. Sort of like enhancing it, except legit. The final piece of jewelry just looks better when set on gold or platinum. Metaphysical reasons outweigh physical ones here.

The Luxe Look of Tradition

Outside of specific interests, loose gemstones are stones until they are ‘housed’ and then ‘decorated’ properly.

Which brings us to decoration. Again subjectively speaking, in the aesthetic and nature of ‘white’, platinum comes closer to being well-decorated, naturally. While contemporary jewellery techniques may sometimes plate rhodium over platinum, it is not necessary and the ‘raw’ look of processed platinum is luxurious enough for most designers.

This is verified by antique platinum jewellery we inherit. Other than to polish away scratches, many platinum pieces need no further glossing up before they are put up for sale. Being softer, gold prongs or gold ring bands tend to need reworking to be shelf ready.

In short, to continue the tradition we find in the platinum jewellery we inherit from history, we choose to work in platinum over white gold. We learn whatever we can from history and hopefully bring it onward to a meaningful tomorrow.

*Photos of platinum pieces to come*

The Luxe Look of Everyday, Since the Gatsby Era

But let’s not forget the flirty pieces of the Art Deco era. White gold was used popularly by the 1920s, especially for luxury jewellery that needed extensive metalworking. If platinum was used for such pieces, it would be expensive and fearfully weighty, especially around the neck or for chandelier earrings with already heavy stones. With machine work aiding hand-finished pieces, Art Deco jewellery showcases the finest make of white gold jewellery.

We will continue the tradition we find in these white gold jewellery, while balancing tactility (weight and feel) and beauty considerations. From the point of metalworking, large, intricate pieces would certainly benefit from using white gold.

art deco diamond white gold necklace
Typical Art Deco filigree necklaces in white gold. Of course the white gold has been re-plated over time. But the beauty is innate and imagining the piece in platinum seems too ‘heavy’, in more ways than one.
art deco filigree sapphire diamond bracelet
Another typical Art Deco filigree bracelet in white gold. Similarly the white gold has been re-plated over time. Again the use of white gold is justified and to commission a piece in platinum today may lose the delicacy of such a look.