Although they look nearly identical, platinum and white gold engagement rings have distinctly different characteristics and qualities. Before selecting an engagement ring, it is important to understand the differences between white gold and platinum.
White gold engagement rings are made by combining gold with white metals, such as silver or palladium; the ring is then coated with rhodium. Platinum engagement rings are made almost entirely of pure platinum.
The rhodium plating on white gold engagement rings gives the ring its white appearance. A rhodium-plated white gold ring will look nearly identical in colour to a platinum engagement ring. If the white gold ring has not been plated in rhodium, however, the white gold will be slightly darker.
Platinum is stronger than gold, making it more durable and less resistant to dents and scratches. However, platinum engagement rings are also heavier than white gold engagement rings.
The rhodium plating on white gold engagement rings wears off with time; the ring should be replated with rhodium every 12 to 18 months, suggests Gillett's Jewellers. A platinum engagement ring will not require any special care to retain its bright colour.
The platinum metal is very expensive. According to Gillett's Jewellers, platinum engagement rings typically cost at least twice the price of an 18-karat white gold ring.