Engagement rings and wedding bands have traditionally been made of gold for many years. Recently, however, yellow gold bands and rings have gone out of fashion and have been replaced by white gold or platinum rings. Both white gold and platinum appear the same, with a silver metallic look that shines much better than yellow gold. However there are some major differences between the two.
White gold rings, much like their yellow gold counterparts, are actually alloys with varying degrees of purity. Yellow gold rings were usually forged with metals like copper to give them their yellowish shine, while white gold is made by mixing gold with silver or palladium. Both are rated in karats depending on the amount of gold to other metal ratio. For example, an 18kt gold ring is 75 percent gold and 25 percent other metal. When white gold rings are made, they are usually coated with another metal, rhodium, to give it its silvery shine. Without rhodium, white gold rings have an off-white color that is slightly yellow in color without the shine of a yellow gold. Since the rhodium coating can wear off, white gold rings need to be serviced with new coatings periodically.
Platinum and other alloys
Although more expensive, platinum makes an ideal substitution to white gold. Unlike white gold rings, which are made of only 75 percent or less precious metal, platinum rings are usually 95 percent pure. Platinum is also stronger than gold and because it naturally gives off a silvery shine, it is unnecessary to plate it with rhodium and will keep its brilliance forever.
Besides white gold and platinum, there are other alloy metals being used for engagement rings and wedding bands. Titanium, with its ultra-light feel and metallic look, is being used more and more frequently. Also, alloys mixed with other metals to give off a range of colors can be used for a quirkier style.