The Diamond Pro

Platinum vs. White Gold vs. Yellow Gold vs. Rose Gold

By Michael Fried

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Bottom Line Recommendation

The setting you choose is based on personal preference, skin tone and current fashion. There is no technical answer to which color gold is the best (yellow, rose or white).

If you’re wondering, “Is platinum better than gold?,” the short answer to that is “No.” Visually, platinum is virtually identical to white gold.  Check out this elegant 14kt white gold setting from Blue Nile for $390 (setting only). Now here is the same setting in platinum. For comparisons sake, here is a beautiful platinum solitaire from James Allen. The 14kt white gold version looks identical and will run you only $900. Technically speaking, platinum is poor value (as explained below), so you are better off putting your money towards the diamond.

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Platinum vs White Gold

When selecting the perfect setting for your diamond ring, you’ll likely come across two popular choices: white gold and platinum. The differences between these two materials rests primarily in composition and price, as they almost look identical to the naked eye.

Compare these two complete rings from James Allen’s inspiration gallery for example. Can you tell the difference between this white gold setting and this platinum ring? I just tested this with 20 people and not a single person could pick out which was more expensive.

To help you learn more about the differences between platinum and white gold, we’ve outlined the main things you should know regarding cost, composition, color and care.

See some exmaples in recently purchased diamond enagagement rings from our highest rated retailers.

Platinum vs White Gold Cost

The main difference between white gold and platinum is found in the price. Platinum is much more expensive, without looking any different than white gold to the naked eye.

Though similar in price per gram, more platinum is required to make a ring because it is more dense. Platinum rings end up being considerably more expensive than white gold rings.

For example, here is a stunning halo setting for $1,290 in white gold. The platinum version of the ring costs $500 more, which eats into your budget for the center diamond.  Even this white gold setting with 0.9 Carat Round Cut Diamond costs 44% less than the setting on this 0.9 Carat Round Cut in a platinum ring. While you can spend more by choosing platinum, your money is better spent on an ideal Diamond Cut or increased Carat weight. To learn more about the price differences between white gold and platinum, contact us.

Platinum vs White Gold Composition

18 Karat and 14 Karat gold jewelry is made primarily of gold along with a mix of durable metals like nickel, zinc, copper and a rhodium plating—as gold by itself is relatively soft. 18 Karat is 75% gold, while 14 Karat is 58.3% gold.

Platinum used in jewelry, on the other hand, is more pure—typically between 95-98% platinum—with the remaining percentage rhodium and silver. Stronger and more durable than gold, platinum is the heaviest and densest precious metal. As you can see, gold used in jewelry depends on a higher percentage of alloys and rhodium for its strength and durability. If you’re still unsure about the differences in composition between gold vs platinum, our experts can help.

Platinum vs White Gold Color and Care

The difference in color between platinum and white gold is unnoticeable to the naked eye, like this white gold cushion cut diamond ring and this platinum cushion cut ring. Alternatively, yellow and rose gold show distinct colors when compared to platinum and white gold.

Platinum scratches more easily than 18 Karat or 14 Karat gold. Upkeep for platinum tends to be higher, because it must be cleaned and polished regularly to maintain its smooth appearance. Gold will need to be re-polished and re-plated, but generally not as often as platinum.

What is Platinum?

A naturally white metal, platinum is typically utilized in a nearly pure form for jewelry—ranging from 95-98%. Platinum looks almost identical to white gold and will remain looking the same for many years as long as they are both maintained and cared for properly.

If you’re thinking about purchasing a platinum ring, here are the pros and cons to help you decide if it’s the right choice.

The pros of platinum include that it’s:

  • Hypoallergenic.
  • Rarer than gold.
  • Often considered a symbol of prestige (i.e. “platinum” credit cards have greater privileges than “gold” cards).
  • Heavier and more durable than white gold.
  • Tends to look best with fair and rosy skin tones.

The cons of platinum include that it:

  • Is significantly more expensive than white gold even though it looks nearly identical.
  • Will get scratched and dull over time.
  • Requires cleaning and polishing every few years, although this strips away some of the platinum.

Three Types of Gold

When reviewing gold settings, you’ll notice there are three options: white gold, rose gold and yellow gold. While similar, they differ primarily in their color and composition. Selecting the type of gold for your ring should be based on personal preference, although composition or price could play a small role in your decision.

White Gold

White gold is an alloy—or mixture—of pure gold and white metals such as nickel, silver and palladium, usually with a rhodium coating.

The pros of white gold include that it’s:

  • More affordable than platinum.
  • Currently more popular than yellow gold.
  • Alloyed with stronger metals than yellow gold, making it more durable and scratch-resistant.
  • Complements white diamonds better than yellow gold—according to some.
  • Complements fair or rosy skin tones.

The cons of white gold include that it:

  • Needs to be dipped every few years to retain its color and luster—and to replace the rhodium plating. This process is inexpensive and many jewelers offer the service for free.
  • Often has nickel mixed with it, which causes allergic reactions for some. In other words, white gold is not hypoallergenic unless mixed with alloy metals other than nickel.

Yellow Gold

Yellow gold is made of pure gold mixed with alloy metals such as copper and zinc.

The amount of pure gold in the jewelry depends on its karatage:

  • 24 Karat: 99.9% Pure
  • 22 Karat: 91.7% Pure
  • 18 Karat: 75% Pure
  • 14 Karat: 58.3% Pure

A higher karat amount means a purer gold content. However, this also means a less durable metal. For this reason, usually 14K or 18K gold is used to mount engagement and wedding rings.

The pros of yellow gold include that it’s:

  • The most hypoallergenic of all the three gold colors.
  • Historically the most popular metal used for wedding and engagement bands, and thus appropriate for vintage style settings.
  • The purest color of all the golds.
  • The easiest to maintain out of all three gold color types.
  • The most malleable and easiest for jewelers to manipulate.
  • A complement to olive and darker skin tones.
  • Easily matched with diamonds of a lower color grade.

The cons of yellow gold include that it:

  • Should be polished and cleaned regularly.
  • Is subject to dents and scratches.

Rose Gold

Rose gold refers to and encompasses the whole family of red, rose and pink gold shades. Pure gold is alloyed with copper to produce the rose color. The more copper used, the redder the gold appears. A common mix—or alloy—for rose gold is 75% gold and 25% copper by mass (18K). Like white gold, since rose gold is an alloy, “pure rose gold” doesn’t actually exist.

The pros of rose gold include that it’s:

  • In style for both men’s and women’s rings.
  • Considered by many to be the most romantic metal due to its pinkish-red color.
  • Often more affordable than other metals because copper—the alloy used to make rose gold—costs less.
  • Very durable due to the strength of copper—making rose gold tougher than yellow or white gold.
  • A complement to all skin tones.

The cons of rose gold include that it:

  • Can cause allergic reactions in some and is not a hypoallergenic metal.
  • Is not as widely available as yellow and white gold, despite being in style.

To learn more about the differences between types of gold, contact us.


While the metal you choose for your diamond ring is largely based on personal preference and style, it is helpful to consider the main differences in composition and price.

White gold and platinum, for example, look identical to the naked eye, while platinum costs significantly more. We generally recommend spending more of your budget on the diamond than on a platinum setting.

Shop for diamond engagement rings here.

To put together the perfect ring, reach out to our experts who will help you find the highest quality diamonds along with a setting that will steal hearts and turn heads—all while staying in budget.

About the author
Mike learned the diamond business from the ground-up at Leo Schachter Diamonds - one of the world's top diamond manufacturers. He has been recognized as a diamond industry expert by Time, PeopleMoney, The Daily Mirror, NerdWallet, The Times Herald, Yahoo Finance Australia, The Art of Charm, The Washington Diplomat, The Next Web, and more. See more
Top Recommended Vendors
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