Many people think platinum is “better” than white gold because it’s more durable. Probably also because it’s more expensive. That’s not exactly true, as there are different types of durability and a few other things to consider.
If you consider the average ring and the average wearer, it’s hard to say one metal is truly more durable than the other. They both have their pros and cons.
Platinum is extremely durable when it comes in contact with a material softer than it. Because of this, platinum prongs will never wear down like white gold prongs. When platinum is hit hard enough the metal is displaced, meaning it moves but it doesn’t break off. Because of this, those same prongs will move easier when they get bumped.
I would argue that white gold is just as durable as platinum, but in a different way. What it lacks in flexibility, it makes up for in hardness. It’s stands up better to objects harder than it. A durable white gold prong must be hit extremely hard or just right in order to break or bend it.
That being said, white gold wears down against softer items that repetitively rub against it (laundry, pocket, purse, etc.). Over time the shank of a white gold ring will start to thin and the prongs will wear down, but we’re talking about a fairly long period of time. If the ring is well-built in the first place it should last 10-15-20 years before you need new prongs, depending on how you wear it.
Since white gold is a mixture of mostly yellow gold and other alloys, most white gold jewelry has a rhodium coating that gives it a bright, white look. When this coating starts to wear off there’s an off-white, almost yellowish tone that starts to show through. If a decent coating is applied, most of your ring should last 2-4 years without need to be re-plated (the bottom might wear off more quickly).
Brand new, platinum looks almost identical to white gold. Because platinum is somewhat malleable, hard hits to a platinum ring can leave deep dents or scratches. When a scratch runs too deep, it’s no longer feasible to buff it out because you would have to remove so much metal it would start to wear down the ring. Over time these scratches will accumulate and your ring develops a “patina” which is usually a soft, grayish tone.
Many people tout that “you don’t have to keep getting a platinum ring dipped.” This is true, but if you want it to hold that brand-new shine you will have to get it polished. This cost will likely be just as much as a rhodium plating, if not more.
At the time of writing this, a platinum ring will cost approximately 1.5-2 times as much as the same white gold ring. Although both metals are about $1,650 per ounce, platinum rings contain 90-95% platinum versus 58.5% gold in a 14K ring. Platinum is also more dense. In either case, you get what you pay for.
Repair work is a slightly different story. Platinum repairs are generally a little more expensive because of the metal itself and also it can be harder to work with (or it takes more time). Easy repairs are not much more, but when you get into complex repair jobs it can make a difference.