White gold and platinum look like similar metals but they each have their own unique properties. This guide explains more about each metal to help you make the best choice for your wedding or engagement ring.
What is White Gold?
The white gold Lilia Nash uses in her jewellery is an alloy of two precious metals - gold (the element Au) and palladium (the element Pd).
It has a white lustre that's slightly warmer than pure palladium thanks to the yellow tone that gold has. 18ct white gold (also know as 18k white gold in some countries) contains 75% pure gold and 25% palladium. The 18 refers to there being 18 parts of gold to 6 parts of the alloy metal.
Cheaper white gold is made by plating gold with rhodium or by creating an alloy using cheaper white metals like nickle. Rhodium plated white gold requires regular maintenance to keep the white lustre, while golds mixed with nickle can cause an allergic reaction in some people. It's for these reasons that Lilia only uses solid 18ct palladium white gold in her designs.
The price of palladium has soared in recent years and it's now more expensive than both gold and platinum. In early January the price jumped by an incredible 25% in the space of two weeks, making 18ct white gold a more luxurious choice for jewellery than ever. It's become increasingly popular for use in industrial manufacturing, with the most common use being in catalytic converters in car engines. We've now reached a critical tipping point where the demand for palladium is outstripping the available supplies, so the price of palladium white gold is likely to continue to rise.
Palladium is a harder metal than gold, so adding it to an alloy helps to improve the strength of jewellery it's added to. It's also slightly harder than platinum, however 18ct palladium white gold itself is the softer metal.
What is Platinum?
950 platinum is an alloy of 95% platinum (the element Pt) and 5% hypoallergenic metal alloy (usually palladium, iridium, ruthenium or rhodium). It's mixed with a small amount of another metal as much like gold, it's relative softness would make jewellery prone to damage with frequent wear.
White gold looks white when it's worn alone, but when placed side-by-side with a platinum ring, platinum will look brighter and cooler in tone. If you wear an 18ct white gold engagement ring it would be best to match the ring with an 18ct white gold wedding ring for a perfect colour match. The colour difference isn't vastly noticeable but for jewellery purists, it's worth noting that the white tones aren't identical.
Platinum has long been favoured for jewellery as unlike golds, it isn't prone to tarnishing over time. It used to be seen as the pinnacle of luxurious precious metals for jewellery making but thanks to the increasing scarcity of palladium, you'll now find that platinum is often less expensive than solid 18ct white gold made using palladium.
Should I Choose White Gold or Platinum?
Top: 18ct white gold. / Bottom: 950 platinum.
Which metal you choose depends entirely on what you want from your jewellery. Palladium white gold is likely to become more and more expensive over time, so you may see significant price rises between the time you buy an engagement ring and a wedding ring. Likewise, your jewellery is likely to gain more value over time due to the scarcity of palladium. However, it is a slightly warmer metal than platinum and will require more cleaning to stay bright and shiny than platinum rings.
For future heirlooms, 18ct palladium white gold would be likely to gain the most value over time. For a less expensive option at the point of purchase, platinum is the one to go for.
Both platinum and palladium white gold are beautiful metals for jewellery, so either make a fantastic choice for wedding and engagement rings.
18ct White Gold Jewellery by Lilia Nash
Platinum Jewellery by Lilia Nash
ABOUT LILIA NASH JEWELLERY
Lilia Nash is an independent jewellery designer working from a boutique jewellery shop and studio in Lechlade, Gloucestershire in the United Kingdom.
She has a passion for ethical jewellery making, using recycled gold, silver and platinum to create her collections. All of the diamonds and gemstones featured in Lilia's jewellery are either fair trade or lab-grown, lessening environmental impact and ensuring that fair prices have been paid throughout the supply chain.
Lilia is dedicated to creating handmade jewellery that's of exceptional quality, made with the finest quality materials.