White-colored jewelry is making a popular appearance in the fashion world today. White metals that are considered to be the most well-known for making fine jewelry are platinum and white gold. Jewelry made from these metals make an elegant impression on the eye, however, there are some basic and important differences between these two metals.
Differences Between Platinum and White Gold
The symbol of platinum is Pt and its atomic number is 78. It’s a naturally occurring metal and has a very high density of 21.4 g/cubic cm. It is white originally, with a specific gravity of 21.4. It is a very rarely found metal and can cause allergic reactions in some people. It has a boiling point of 3800º C, and a melting point of 1772º C. Its atomic mass is 195.078 amu.
The chemical symbol of gold is Au and its atomic number is 79. White gold has to be synthesized from natural gold by mixing various metals like silver, platinum, nickel, palladium, and zinc in different combinations. Natural gold’s density is 19.3 g/cubic cm. It has a specific gravity of 19.32. Its melting point is 1064.43º C and boiling point is 2807º C. Its atomic mass is 196.96657 amu. This element rarely causes any allergic reactions.
Platinum is a whitish silvery metal and more lustrous than white gold. However, when white gold is coated with rhodium, it becomes as shiny as platinum. A white gold ornament has to be periodically polished with rhodium to maintain its luster. Platinum, being naturally lustrous, does not need any coating at any point of time. Platinum is heavier and harder than white gold. Natural gold is more ductile (can be drawn into wires) and malleable (can be made into thin sheets) than platinum, however, the same may or may not be true about white gold, since different white gold alloys consists of different proportions of palladium, nickel, and zinc metals that vary in their ductility and malleability when compared to platinum. However, platinum is definitely more durable than white gold.
Platinum jewelry is made of 95% platinum, whereas white gold jewelry is generally a combination of 75% natural gold, with 25% platinum or palladium; another combination can be 75% natural gold with 10% palladium, 10% nickel, and 5% zinc. This composition gives a clear explanation about the rift between its market values. Also, due to the strong physical traits that platinum displays, and the fact that platinum is less ductile and malleable than gold, the cost of crafting platinum metal adds further to the overall cost of the platinum jewelry. Platinum jewelry needs less maintenance than white gold jewelry, and hence, makes a good choice for wedding rings that have to be worn all the time. White gold jewelry may need a small amount of gold to be added in addition to rhodium polishing to maintain its luster and fill-up the gold lost due to scratches. Platinum does not lose any metal due to scratches and rarely requires polishing to restore its original look.
The most simple way to decide whether the metal is platinum or white gold is the scratch test. If the metal gets easily scratched it is white gold, else it is platinum. Another test, that is a little risky, is the heat test. Heat the metal till it turns red-hot. Then, let it cool. If the metal turns dark and dirty then it is white gold, and if there is no change after cooling, it is definitely platinum. More advanced tests include acid and electronic tests for which you will have to take help from a jeweler.
On a more emotional background, due to the superior nature of platinum, people gift platinum jewelry to express their feelings to their loved ones. Platinum jewelry conveys the value that you have in that person’s life.