Have you ever wondered what the difference is between yellow & white white gold engagement rings? In the past, when it came to engagement ring selection, most of the attention was focused on the stone or stones that would comprise the ring. But now, educated wedding hopefuls are turning their attention to the equally important metal from which the band and setting will be designed, and which will bear the sole responsibility for protecting and holding the engagement stone.
White Gold is an Alloy
In order to produce the silvery white color that is white gold engagement rings, yellow gold must be mixed, or alloyed, with other white metal(s) such as silver, nickel, manganese and/or palladium, so actually, there is really no such thing as “pure white gold.” Often it is also coated in rhodium to give it a whiter, shinier finish. When your ring setting is made of white gold that is coated in rhodium, every few years it should be re-dipped to retain its white color and shine and replace its rhodium plating; otherwise it will revert back to the color of its main ingredient: yellow gold. While this may seem like a hassle, in truth the process is relatively inexpensive.
White Gold is More Radiant
Platinum, on the other hand, has a natural grayish white color. In order for it to be sold, it must have at least 90-95 percent platinum; if less, it would be called a platinum alloy. Over time, platinum’s color will not fade to yellow like white gold, but its shiny finish will dull to a natural patina, which some people actually like because it makes the diamond appear even more reflective and “sparkly” by contrast. Platinum can also be shined professionally to restore its original luster, a process, which is comparable in cost to caring for white gold.
Stick With One Metal
While the colors of white gold engagement rings and platinum rings are certainly similar, they are not exactly the same, as you can see for yourself when trying on a ring of each type on the same hand. White gold is more of a silver color, whereas platinum is more of a gray hue. Both complement white diamonds beautifully, but they should not be mixed in a bridal set. In other words, if your engagement ring is platinum, don’t get a white gold wedding band. You should stay consistent with whatever metal you choose if you plan to wear the rings on the same hand.
The biggest advantage of choosing white gold over platinum is going to be the cost. Platinum, because it is mined much less than gold, is more rare and more expensive. Only 160 tons of platinum is mined every year, as opposed to around 1,500 annual tons of gold. Also, platinum is more dense than gold, so the same ring will weigh significantly more in platinum than in gold (and precious metals are priced by weight). Therefore, it’s easy to understand why a white gold setting costs approximately half as much as a comparable setting in platinum. For more or less the same color, then, you can save quite a bit of money going with white gold. And these are savings you can apply to upgrading the quality of your ring’s center stone.
Most white gold engagement rings are offered in 14K or 18K versions. The former is 58.3 percent pure gold, and the latter is 75 percent pure gold. The higher the karat amount, the purer the gold content, but this also means the less durable the metal. Gold at its purest form is 24K, and in that state it is too soft to use for mounting jewelry. It must be alloyed with other metals in order to make it hard enough to use.
The Symbolism of Gold
Gold symbolizes wealth, wisdom, and divinity, as in the Bible’s “golden rule” and Aristotle’s “golden mean.” “The golden age” and “golden years” signify good times, and the 50th wedding anniversary is said to be the golden anniversary. Gold is also considered by most to be the traditional metal of wedding and engagement bands. Since gold does not tarnish over time, it helps to symbolize the couple’s eternal vows to each other, and has often been incorporated in the nuptial jewelry in many cultures.