Should I buy white Gold, Platinum or Palladium?

There is not an easy answer as it is very much personal preference. Your own circumstances, budget and how often an item will be used will all influence which metal will be best for you. For example a white gold dress ring worn on high days and holidays may show little wear on the rhodium plating where an engagement ring worn daily by an active person may show wear to the plating within a few months.

Hopefully our guide to the pros and cons of each will be of some help but please feel free to ask our jewellers any questions.

We have examples of different precious metals in a worn state for you to compare and we are always happy to advise you.

White gold

Gold is not mined as a white metal but is created by alloying pure gold with white metals, such as palladium or silver. This largely overrides the gold’s natural colour but it will always have a faint hint of yellow. The quantity of palladium in an alloy can vary, affecting the whiteness of the metal. All of our 18ct white gold wedding bands and diamond rings made in our workshop use high palladium white gold that is closer to a true white than many lesser alloys.

Most white gold rings are finished with a plating of rhodium which is a hard, very bright metal from the platinum family that gives a brilliant mirror finish. As this is a thin coating it will wear with use. How long the plating lasts depends on how the ring is worn and what the wearer does. When a ring is worn regularly the first signs of wear can appear within a few months; this is typically at the highest wear point of the ring at the back of the shank so is less noticeable and it usually takes longer before it affects the more visible areas. Chemicals such as cleaning solutions and alcohol rubs can damage rhodium plating and significantly shorten the life of the finish.  Other jewellery items will usually show less wear to the plating than rings do.

If you prefer the warmer natural finish of white gold all of our rings can be supplied in a natural polished finish. 

White gold is available in 9ct, 14ct and 18ct gold and is generally whiter in the more gold-rich alloys.

We have worn examples of 9ct and 18ct white gold rings, including our own high palladium white gold to illustrate the different colours.

Pros: 9ct white gold in particular is comparatively affordable and a huge range of jewellery items are available in 9ct and 18ct white gold. The availability of different carats of gold means that white gold is available at a range of price points.

Cons: Does not have a true white appearance when worn, to keep white gold looking at its best it will usually need re-rhodium plating periodically.


White gold jewellery



Platinum is naturally white and the rarest of the well-known jewellery metals.

Whilst it is actually quite soft when in its raw state, when alloyed (usually in a mix of 95% platinum to 5% alloys) it is very hard and is an ideal metal for producing jewellery. Because of platinum’s hardness and high melting point it is more difficult, and therefore expensive, to work than gold but it polishes to a high natural finish.

Pros: Platinum’s strength and natural whiteness make it the ideal metal for producing jewellery, especially for the setting of gemstones. Its rareness and value gives it an air of exclusivity, it doesn't tarnish and is usually hypoallergenic. Thanks to its unique properties platinum is our recommended metal for making rings that are worn on a regular basis such as wedding, engagement and eternity rings providing that your budget allows. 

Cons: As the rarest and most dense precious metal a piece of platinum jewellery has traditionally been more costly than the same item in white gold, depending on the weight and complexity of the design. However the price of platinum has dropped slightly recently and the price of gold has increased significantly meaning that the price for 18ct white gold and platinum may be very similar.  Some designs can’t be made in platinum. Whilst most of our diamond rings and many of our other diamond products such as pendants and earrings can be made in platinum the choice of some jewellery such as chains and bracelets available in platinum is limited. Although platinum is very hard and naturally white it does still wear and lose its bright lustre, so it is not entirely maintenance free and you may want to have your platinum rings polished periodically.


Platinum jewellery



A comparatively new metal to jewellery, Palladium is naturally white and a member of the platinum family. Its resistance to wear is similar to that of platinum and it is usually alloyed to the same 95% standard.  A 50% alloy is also available which offers a more affordable alternative.

Ideally an item of palladium jewellery should be made as a single piece, as soldering palladium can create porosity in the joins. For this reason it is most popular for wedding bands but an increasing range of engagement ring designs can be made in palladium; our jewellers can advise which designs are best suited.

Palladium is less dense than platinum so the same ring will weigh approximately half as much in palladium as platinum. Some will enjoy the feeling of weight with platinum whilst other will prefer the lighter comfort of palladium.

Pros: The natural whiteness gives a more enduring finish than white gold with no rhodium plating required.

Cons: Palladium is actually much more expensive than platinum weight for weight but due to the lower density less is required to produce the same item of jewellery; therefore a palladium wedding band or ring mount traditionally would cost less than its platinum counterpart.  However this gap has closed considerably recently and palladium is now in many cases more expensive as palladium has increased in price substantially while platinum has become less expensive.  Because of the difficulties of manufacturing in palladium the range of items available is limited. Larger items tend not to cast well in palladium. If your jewellery requires repair work or alteration in the future a clean join can’t be guaranteed due to the porosity that can be created when palladium is soldered.


Palladium jewellery


This guide is brief and by no means comprehensive. Our jewellers can advise further on the differences between the different precious metals available and the best option for you.

If this guide has raised any further questions please email gems@pajewellery.com or call 0114 2669253 and we will be happy to help.