Platinum or White Gold? Which White Metal Should You Choose?

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They both offer superior beauty and value for your money, but what are their differences – and how do you know which is right for what you have in mind? Your decision should be based partly on how long and how often it will be worn, how much you want to spend, and your personal taste.

Here are a few issues to consider:

COLOR- White gold is yellow gold alloyed (mixed) with nickel and zinc, which impart its white appearance. By contrast, platinum is pure white naturally. White gold can look slightly more yellow, however, in most cases, rhodium (platinum family) is plated over white gold, giving it a platinum appearance.

DURABILITY- Platinum is the most enduring of all precious metals. Even after years of daily wear, it shows little or no sign of age – whereas white gold will wear more quickly. For this reason, platinum is sometimes used for prongs even when the remainder of the piece is made of white gold. However, 14-karat white gold is a high-quality option – and if it does wear thin after years of wear, a professional jeweler can reinforce it with additional white gold.

PURITY- Most platinum used in jewelry is 90 to 95 percent pure. The remaining 5 to 10 percent is also a precious metal – usually iridium or ruthenium (for strengthening) – making platinum jewelry 100 percent precious metal. Fourteen karat white gold is approximately 60 percent pure. Although the alloys used in it are not precious metals, it is an excellent metal for all types of jewelry.

VALUE- The value of precious metals varies, but generally you can expect platinum jewelry to cost significantly more than a comparable piece in white gold.

STYLE- Today both white gold and platinum are popular and fashionable in all types of jewelry. Platinum was the setting of choice for wedding rings during the early 1900s, and its popularity is soaring again.

Cos Altobelli is a third generation jeweler and president of Altobelli Jewelers in Burbank, previously located in North Hollywood for 60 years. His specialty is appraising for all functions and acting as an expert witness.

He holds a graduate degree from the Gemological Institute of America and the title of Certified Gemologist Appraiser, from the American Gem Society, is the author of three appraisal books, and has appeared on “Prime Time Live” several times.

Mr. Altobelli can be reached at (818) 763-5151.

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