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*All percentages used in this section are an approximation

What is the difference between white gold and platinum, and which one is better?

White gold and platinum are completely different metals.

Platinum is a naturally white metal, is generally more expensive than white gold, and has a much higher melting point. Platinum is a purer metal, and used in jewelry typically at 90 to 95% platinum content mixed with alloys such as palladium, ruthenium, and/ or iridium. Its purity makes it naturally hypoallergenic, ideal for those with sensitive skin issues.

Platinum is a hard metal to cut, but soft in the sense that it is malleable and relatively easy to scratch; however, when you scratch platinum you are “denting” it, not losing metal. As platinum is being worn, it retains its color and develops an attractive “patina” finish.

A platinum ring will lose very little weight in its lifetime. Platinum does a great job of holding diamonds and gemstones in place, and over time forms onto the gemstone instead of chipping away. We recommend platinum for more delicate work such as the French Pave, U Set, and Pave settings. Platinum does bend easier than 14K gold.

White gold was yellow in color when it is mined and needs to go through an alloy and plating process to look white. Nickel, palladium, and/ or manganese are some of the common metals alloyed with white gold. White gold weighs less than platinum for the same cubic area and is slightly harder to scratch - especially when it is Rhodium plated.

Over the course of its lifetime, due to polishing and “wear and tear”, white gold does lose some of its body mass and will weigh less than the day it was made. When you scratch white gold, you are losing metal. This happens at a microscopic level and should not be a major concern. White gold rings thin faster than platinum rings; especially areas in constant contact or where the ring is being sized.

Both metals can be cleaned and polished and restored close to their original condition. White gold needs the final Rhodium plating to bring out the pure white color.

“Which one is better” depends entirely on the design of the item, your lifestyle, and your expectations.

Due to weight and cost, platinum is rarely recommended for earrings, bracelets, or pendants. Bulkier women’s rings may be more suitable in white gold. Delicate gemstone settings such as the French Pave, U Set, or Classic Pave might be a better choice in platinum. Keep in mind platinum is easier to bend, therefore avoid strenuous activity while wearing delicate platinum or even white gold rings.

For men’s rings both metals have pros and cons. Platinum will scratch easier, but will not need to be rhodium dipped like white gold. The cost of platinum and white gold fluctuate, and at times are close in value; making platinum a better long term choice. A happy medium between these metals is Palladium.

It is best to discuss your lifestyle, expectations, and intended use of your jewelry with a knowledgeable jewelry professional before you make a purchase. Asking your friends and family about their experience with their jewelry is also a great idea!

Bottom line, there is no “perfect” metal. How your jewelry holds up over time ultimately depends on how it is made, and how it is worn.

What is the difference between GIA and EGL labs?

The GIA or Gemological Institute of America is a much more recognized, strict, and consistent laboratory than the EGL (European Gemological Laboratory). Most diamonds that are cut very well are sent to GIA. If you are choosing EGL as a laboratory, make sure you ask for the Los Angeles lab, as the international labs are not as accurate with their grading standards.

Since EGL graded diamonds are not as strictly graded, they tend to seem better when comparing prices to GIA certified diamonds; however, you are not comparing “apples to apples”.

What is fluorescence in a diamond? Is it good or bad?

Fluorescence in a diamond refers to how it reacts when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light.

The intensity of this reaction is noted by GIA as either none, faint, medium, strong, or very strong “blue”, or at times observed as “yellow”.

Generally speaking, we recommend avoiding medium to very strong fluorescence in a diamond with “H” or better color. In contrast, many diamond experts feel blue fluorescence enhances a diamond’s overall body color with diamonds that are graded “K” or lower in color. The idea is that if a diamond is yellow, the blue fluorescence offsets the yellow and makes the diamond look whiter - especially in direct or indirect sunlight.

The issue with fluorescence in higher color diamonds is it may give the diamond a cloudy, or fuzzy appearance, especially in sunlight. Many diamond buyers avoid buying higher color diamonds that have fluorescence, which is why two diamonds of the exact same quality can have a drastic difference in price.

In conclusion, when buying H or better color, only buy diamonds with none or faint fluorescence. When buying diamonds with K color or lower, fluorescence may enhance the color and beauty of the diamond. Never buy a high quality diamond with medium to very strong fluorescence unless you are able to examine it in direct and indirect sunlight with comparable diamonds that do not have fluorescence. Make sure the fluorescence is not negatively impacting the sparkle of the diamond.

Why do I see blemishes or discoloration on my ring?

It is hard to identify every issue with a particular ring. Depending on the metal and the alloys used there can be “discoloration”, but it should not be easily noticeable. Discoloration in a natural metal can also occur from wear and tear, external chemicals like chlorine, and your natural body chemistry.

Your metal should also be free from porosity, which is a byproduct of a defective manufacturing process. These normally surface as bubbles or dark marks on the metal, and should be visible immediately after a jewelry item is cast and polished.

Aside from porosity, some metals display slight discoloration when viewed under magnification, but should look even colored to the naked eye. Like marble or granite, metals are naturally occurring elements that may have natural color variations when comparing one batch to another.

Discoloration in white gold rings can occur when the rhodium plating begins to wear off. White gold is originally yellow in color, and goes through the alloying process to achieve a white hue. The last step is rhodium plating, which adds a pure white and stronger surface to the gold. When this coating wears off the natural yellow-white color of the gold alloy appears. This can be easily polished out and rhodium plated again.

What are the general differences between the different metals?

Platinum vs Palladium

When comparing men’s bands, these metals respond the same to daily wear and tear. Platinum and Palladium are both from the same metal family. Palladium is a naturally white metal, less dense, and a great alternative to platinum.

Palladium can be challenging to cast, and diamond setting can be difficult, so it is seldom used in women’s jewelry.

14K Rose Gold vs 18K RoseGold

18K rose gold is 75% pure gold with copper as the predominant alloy. Due to the higher gold content, 18K is more expensive than 14K.

14K rose gold is 58.3% pure gold with copper as the predominant alloy.

14K rose gold has more copper, so it will have a rosier hue than 18K rose.

18K rose will scratch more easily because of its higher gold content, but is more malleable and better suited for settings like French pave, U Set, and classic pave.

14K White Gold vs 18K White Gold

Because both metals are rhodium plated, there is no perceived color difference. 18K has a higher gold content of 75% pure gold, and 14K has 58.3% pure gold. 18K is a better choice for French pave, U Set, and classic pave setting styles. The softness of 18K allows for more precise cuts for certain diamond settings or for hand engraving. Due to the higher gold content, 18K is more expensive than 14K.

14K Yellow vs 18K Yellow

18K has a higher gold content, so it will have a deeper color than 14K. 14K is more scratch resistant, but 18K is a better choice for with rings with French pave, U Set, and classic pave setting styles. Due to the higher gold content, 18K is more expensive than 14K.

If you are looking for a richer yellow color, 18K will be a better choice.

Tungsten Carbide, Cobalt, Titanium

Classic Tungsten Carbide has a distinct gun-metal grey color, and is almost impossible to scratch. In an emergency it can be removed with a sharp blow to fracture the ring.

Cobalt is similar to white gold in appearance, and is scratch resistant. Cobalt can still be scratched in some circumstances, and is not as durable as Tungsten. In the case of an emergency, Cobalt can be difficult to remove, and special tools are required.

Titanium is very light in weight, and has a grey color similar to white gold. It does scratch from daily use, but is still more durable than precious metals. In the case of an emergency, Titanium can be difficult to remove, and special tools are required.

How can I tell one setting style from another?

Channel Set:

A setting style where two or more grooves, or channels, are placed in the metal. A gemstone is placed between the two walls of the groove, and the walls are pushed inwards to hold the gemstone in place. This setting style is very secure.

Prong Set:

A setting style where pre-made, or cast prongs are used to hold a gemstone. Each prong is notched to hold the gemstone, then the prongs are gently pushed over the table of the stone.

Pave Set:

A setting style where four or more bead-like prongs are carved from a surface of metal, and a gemstone is placed in the center of the beads. This setting style can be one row or multiple rows. Pave set is possible using round gemstones. Milgrain, or beading, can be adding for a vintage or antique look.

French Pave:

A setting style where the metal is hand-carved with a distinct “V” pattern, which creates prongs to hold gemstones. This setting is only possible with round gemstones. For added durability and strength, most of our French Pave bands are die struck.

U Set

A setting style with distinct “U” shaped prongs, which hold round gemstones. This style is shared-prong, where one prong is large enough to hold more than one diamond securely.

Flush Set

A setting style where a small hole is carved for the gemstone, and then the surrounding metal is pushed over the edges of the stone, holding it in place. This setting style is very secure.

Bezel Set

A setting style where the gemstone is completely encircled in metal, with a small rim that folds over the edge of the gemstone. This setting style is very secure.

Why didn’t I receive a credit for the taxes paid on my trade-in diamond?

Unless you bought your diamond within the last 6 months, the trade in amount for your diamond does not include sales tax. The new item is taxed at the current tax rate, then the original price of the trade in diamond (when applicable) is deducted as a line item. Sales tax is lost on the trade-in item.