Sorry, but the diamond or gemstone isn’t the end of your search for the perfect engagement ring. You need to think about the band upon which the stone is set when creating the ring.
The band of an engagement ring is most often constructed of gold or platinum these days. When it comes to color, the debate can get heated — they both seem similar, so which should win in the white gold vs. platinum ‘battle’?
Knowing the differences between metals is the first step in selecting the ideal metal for an engagement ring. White gold, which is much more of a silver tone within the white color, is a favourite metal for engagement rings, as we mentioned. But, to complicate things even further, there are also different types of white gold to choose from, something we are going to take a closer look at here.
The White Gold Carat Difference Explained
White gold is created by mixing gold alloy with white metals like silver, nickel, and palladium. The karat, or purity, of gold is determined by the ratio of alloy to gold in the mixture.
Although 24-carat gold is considered pure, it is also delicate and easily damaged, making it unsuitable for daily use. This is why gold is alloyed in the first place: to increase its durability.
Eighteen-karat white gold is a traditional metal with a high purity level within the gold realm; it is made up of 75% gold and 25% alloys, giving it a high value. Because 14-karat white gold is made up of 58.3 percent gold and 41.7 percent pure alloys, it tends to last longer.
Beyond purity, the distinctions between 14k and 18k white gold extend to durability: 14-karat white gold is generally preferred over 18-karat white gold because it is less pliable and soft. Despite the fact that alloys decrease the purity of gold, 14-karat white gold is significantly stronger, more robust, and scratch-resistant.
In either case, the metal’s durability can be improved by rhodium plating, which also improves the white tone of the metal.
There’s also a color difference: 18k white gold usually looks brighter and whiter than 14k white gold due to its higher purity, although you seldom find white gold engagement rings without rhodium plating. Both 14k and 18k white gold engagement rings receive rhodium plating, which gives the setting a truly white brilliance and luster that customers adore.
Rhodium Plating: Why Your White Gold Engagement Ring Will Need It
The element rhodium is listed in the Periodic Table of Elements. It’s a silvery-white metal that’s extremely rare. The appeal of this metal in the jewelry industry is that it is extremely reflective and non-reactive (meaning it will not produce an allergic reaction).
Why is rhodium plating so commonly used for white gold engagement rings? Because gold is yellow in its natural state. Consider the color of a gold nugget- it’s not white. Pure gold is alloyed with white metals such as nickel to create “white” gold.
This lightens and bleaches the hue. The color, though, is more of an off-white. It has a dirty white-ish tone to it. Neither platinum nor highly polished silver have this tint. The jewelry is rhodium plated in order for white gold to have a lovely crisp bright white color (like platinum). The beauty of the white gold jewelry is greatly enhanced by this plating, and, in some cases, the apparent sparkle of the diamond or gemstones set into it as well.
How often does this need to be done? That often depends on your lifestyle. If you wear your engagement ring every day – and most do – you may need it re-plated every couple of years. You’ll be able to tell when it’s time to replate it. The color of the metal will return to its previous “yellowish” tone. This is usually seen at the bottom of the ring, where it receives the most wear and tear.