What Is the Difference Between Platinum and White Gold?
While they may seem similar in appearance to the untrained eye and gold has a fabled history, platinum is a precious metal that is naturally white. White gold, however, is created by combining alloys -such as zinc, nickel, silver and copper-with gold, which is naturally yellow. Note also that gold items are sometimes given a thin plating of rhodium (part of the platinum group of metals) to make them appear whiter and strengthen them as well. Both white gold and platinum may look the same, but they differ in their hardness, density, composition, and other essential qualities.
Why Platinum is the Better Choice?
Because platinum is so much stronger than white gold, it is far less likely to dent, bend, or scratch than gold, and it is used in making jewelry because of its durability. In addition, when a diamond or other gemstone is placed in a platinum mounting, this prevents the mounting from distorting the color of the stone. Unlike white gold, platinum will never tarnish or turn yellow.
Platinum and Gold as Investments
While gold receives a great deal of attention, especially in an economic downturn, investing in platinum may be an even wiser choice. Besides being just as pleasing to the eye as gold, platinum is also both rarer and costlier. It also has other industrial uses, such as in LCD television screens and automotive catalytic converters. In addition, now that new exchange-traded funds have been launched, platinum can be bought and sold more easily.
Ironically, platinum seems to lag behind gold in hard economic times, but it also outperforms its "yellow sister" when industrial demand increases once again. For example, during one recent three-month period the price of platinum outpaced that of gold by approximately 10 percentage points, and an ounce of platinum selling at $1,600 bought about 1.4 ounces of gold.