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Local Business

What to know about platinum, white gold and silver


The three most used white metals in jewelry are platinum, white gold and silver, each with their own unique qualities. Wondering which one is right for your jewelry collection? Theresa Murphy, owner of the Joliet-based Newstar Jewelers, offers an overview:

1. Platinum

Considered to be the superior of these three metals, platinum is the purest, having only 5 to 10 percent of alloy added to it. Additionally, it is hypoallergenic and is harder and denser than gold or silver.

“Because of its density, it will wear much longer than gold and should last a lifetime,” Murphy said.

The most expensive of the three options, platinum prongs will grip and secure a diamond as no other metal will. Since platinum comes from the ground being white in color, it will always have a pure white look to it.

2. White gold

The most commonly used in jewelry, white gold starts out as 24k yellow gold and is alloyed with white metals, often nickel or palladium. Depending on the final percentage of the alloys added, you can end up with either 10k, 14k or 18k. For nickel-allergic patients, a piece alloyed with palladium could be a remedy. Diamond center stones can be set securely in white gold prongs as they are more durable than yellow gold. White gold starts out yellow so there can always be a tinge of yellow to the metal, but rhodium plating is often used to give it a bright, white look.

“This is something that wears off over time and needs to be redone,” Murphy said.

Despite gold having a higher value per ounce than platinum, gold rings are less costly because there are more alloys added to gold, meaning less of the noble metal is actually in the piece of jewelry.

3. Silver

The least expensive of these metals, silver has a pure white color but is not as tough as gold or platinum. To that end, it is not recommended to use in setting a precious or valuable gemstone or diamond, because there is more risk of losing the stone.

Silver, which is usually used in fashion jewelry, can oxidize, taking on a dark or black color. “Sometimes this black color gives the jewelry a very distinct and desirable look,” Murphy said.

Silver can also be rhodium plated to prevent oxidation. Unfortunately, it wears faster and can bend easily, making it not the most ideal choice for everyday wear.

Newstar Jewelers : 2417 W Jefferson Street : Joliet, IL 60435 : 815.741.8502 :