White gold engagement and wedding rings have long been popular as a cheaper platinum alternative, but what exactly is white gold and what are the positives and negatives to choosing it for your ring? Engagement ring obsessive Ruth Donaldson of Heirloom London gets us up to speed with some common misconceptions about white gold and it’s big sister, platinum.
White gold is not a pure metal, it does not exist. In order to make white gold, yellow gold is mixed with a white metal, creating a warm grey coloured metal. The final colour is dependent on how much of this white metal is added. A rhodium (a platinum group metal) surface layer is then added, giving the ring it’s whiter overall look. For this reason, creating a truly white gold at high purity levels of 18 carats upwards is almost impossible.
So is white gold a harder wearing metal? In short, the answer is no. Your white gold ring’s rhodium layer will eventually wear off, so you may need to have your ring re-plated in order to maintain it’s gleaming white look.
The biggest difference between the two metal choices has always been the price; however, Brexit has caused gold prices to soar even more, meaning that platinum is now cheaper than gold. This doesn’t make your ring more economic overall, though, as platinum is a much heaver metal. But you should find that platinum rings now cost more or less the same as their white gold alternative.
Regardless of whether you choose white gold or platinum, the most important factor is always the design and manufacture of your ring. Make sure that you shop around and choose a trusted jeweller that understands exactly what you are looking for. To avoid disappointment, search for jewellery suppliers in your area here.