The Platinum Effect

The Silver Lining for Platinum and White Gold.

Whilst yellow gold has made a very strong comeback in fashion, many consumers will always prefer the more subtle monochromatic tones of silver, white gold and platinum.  Particularly in men’s jewellery, which has diversified even further with  metals such as  Tantalum, Titanium, Zirconium and Carbon Fibre. 

At John Franich we have a particular love for Platinum and White Gold and always look to balance our range across the metal colours to ensure we have something for every look and taste.

We thought it might be useful to unpack a little further for our customers just some of the differences between these metals and what you need to know.

If a gold bar is yellow, then how is white gold white?

Pure gold is indeed naturally yellow, but in the late 19th century, jewellers began seeing a greater demand for platinum, sought after for its white colour and premium nature as a precious metal more valuable than gold.  To satisfy the trend of the platinum look, with out sacrificing on value,  white gold was developed using a combination of other metals to achieve a white or platinum-like appearance.  Metals, such as palladium are combined with yellow gold to create an alloy.  In addition, white gold is often plated with rhodium to enhance its whiteness and durability. 

What is Rhodium?

Rhodium, a member of the platinum family, is a radiant, bright white metal renowned for its captivating lustre. Its application in jewellery predominantly revolves around enhancing the allure of white gold. While prized for its ornamental beauty, rhodium boasts practical advantages that elevate its status in the realm of precious metals. If you’re a car fanatic, you may know the metal from its role as a catalyst in catalytic converters. Rhodium facilitates the conversion of harmful emissions into less toxic byproducts, which means it currently has a high demand and increased market value. But don’t be deterred by its more industrial side - rhodium is actually more scarce than gold and platinum and usually commands a price tag that surpasses even that of gold, often fetching ten times its weight in the market. 

Durability and Resistance

White gold has the durability properties of gold itself, but due to the alloy blend it does not easily maintain its lustre and shine without the rhodium plating. Rhodium is an exceptionally hard metal, rendering it highly resistant to scratches and abrasions. This inherent durability ensures that jewellery pieces coated with rhodium maintain their pristine appearance, standing the test of time against everyday wear and tear.

Protection and Allergy Prevention

Moreover, rhodium serves as a protective barrier for individuals prone to allergic reactions to certain metal alloys, particularly nickel-based white gold. By creating a shielding layer between the skin and the underlying alloy, rhodium plating minimises the risk of skin irritations, enabling wearers to adorn their favourite pieces with confidence and comfort.

How can I tell if my white gold has a rhodium plate?

Distinguishing between rhodium-plated and uncoated white gold jewellery is essential for both consumers and enthusiasts. The telltale sign of rhodium plating lies in the unmistakable gleam of its chrome-like hue. If your white gold piece radiates with a pristine, bright finish, it's undoubtedly coated with rhodium. Conversely, a subtle hint of golden undertone may indicate either the absence of rhodium plating or the gradual wear-down of the protective layer, allowing the natural colour of the underlying alloy to surface.

Do I need to re-plate my white gold over time?

Yes, replating white gold over time is necessary to maintain the gleam and lustre of the metal. The process to do this involves polishing the jewellery and then electro-plating the metal with rhodium. Depending on how frequently the jewellery is worn and whether the item is used as an everyday ring for example, the process of rhodium plating could be required more frequently than a pair of occasional earrings.  Rhodium plating and polishing of white gold is something we frequently do for our customers at John Franich.

Platinum - An Investment in Luxury

Platinum is ultimately one of the most valuable metals in the market and for lovers of the monochrome tone, also looking for an investment piece, then platinum would be your jewellery of choice. Platinum pieces will retain their worth over time, making them a tangible asset that can be cherished and enjoyed for years to come.

Hypoallergenic Properties

For those with sensitive skin, platinum offers a hypoallergenic alternative that is gentle on even the most delicate skin types. Its purity and inert nature make it an ideal choice for those prone to metal allergies, ensuring comfortable wear without irritation or discomfort.

Timeless Elegance

Platinum exudes an unmistakable air of sophistication and refinement. Its naturally white hue enhances the brilliance of diamonds and gemstones, creating a stunning backdrop that showcases their sparkle and fire. Whether adorning a classic solitaire engagement ring or a dazzling pair of earrings, platinum jewellery effortlessly transcends trends, remaining eternally stylish and coveted.

Unmatched Durability

One of the hallmark features of platinum jewellery is its exceptional durability. Unlike other precious metals, platinum boasts incredible strength and resistance to wear and tear. This durability ensures that your cherished pieces retain their lustre and beauty for generations, making them enduring heirlooms to pass down through your family.

Does Platinum Require Rhodium Plating?

Platinum does not require rhodium plating as white gold does. Unlike white gold, which is naturally yellowish and requires alloying with other metals to achieve its white colour, platinum is naturally white. It has a naturally white lustre that doesn't fade or change over time, so it doesn't need to be plated with rhodium to maintain its colour or appearance.

However, platinum jewellery may still be polished or buffed periodically to maintain its shine and remove any scratches or imperfections that may develop over time. This maintenance is more about restoring the surface finish rather than altering its colour, as is the case with rhodium plating for white gold.


Tantalising Tantalum

Tantalum is a rare and exotic metal that is valued for its unique blue-grey colour and resistance to corrosion. Jewellery made from tantalum is relatively rare and may command higher prices due to its scarcity and distinctive appearance compared to more common metals like gold or silver.


Titanium is a lightweight and durable metal that is often used in jewellery for its strength and hypoallergenic properties. Titanium jewellery tends to be more affordable than platinum or gold, making it a popular choice for those seeking a budget-friendly option without sacrificing quality or style.


Not to be confused with Cubic Zirconia, Zirconium is a metal used in jewellery due to its ability to carry a black colour and its lustrous, corrosion-resistant properties. Zirconium is a popular, more edgy choice, for men’s jewellery and wedding bands.  The blackness is not however inherent to the metal, but rather fabricated during the design process using coatings, finishes and oxidisation, which means it may require a freshen-up over time to maintain the black finish.  Jewellery made from zirconium is generally less expensive than platinum or gold but may still offer a sleek and modern aesthetic.

Carbon Fibre? Isn’t that for Bicycles and Tennis Rackets?

Indeed, carbon fibre is a lightweight and high-strength material that is commonly used in sports equipment and automotive components. What jewellers and wearers love about it is the matt black lustre, lightweight and malleability of the carbon fibre to create just about any form and shape. Carbon fibre as the name suggests is not a metal per se, but rather a composite material made from carbon fibres embedded in a resin matrix. The manufacturing process for carbon fibre can be complex and specialised, involving techniques such as weaving, moulding, and curing. Jewellery incorporating carbon fibre elements may vary widely in price depending on factors such as the quality of the carbon fibre weave and the overall design of the piece, as the skillset required to work with carbon fibre is not common in the jewellery world.


Whether you are after the ‘platinum-look’ or just prefer white gold, carbon fibre or tantalum, there is a range on offer at John Franich Jewellers. We are able to work with most of these metal types for any custom-made orders. 

Should you wish to view all the metal options, the best place to do so would be in the Dora Wedding Rings Range which has a wide range of monochromatic metals to view.  

The Platinum Collection at John Franich carries a wide range of rings for men and women with coloured gemstones and diamonds set in radiant platinum.

Should you be looking to get something custom-made, we would gladly advise the metal choices that would best suit your design ideas and budget. 

We recommend booking an appointment to secure quality time with John or Jenni Franich to discuss your ideas.

Find us at Shop 51 Northwest Shopping Centre, Westgate AUCKLAND New Zealand

Ph: 09 41 61 525


We’re open: Mon, Tues, Wed: 9am-6pm
With late night trading on Thursdays: 9am - 9pm
And all weekend Fri-Sun: 9am-6pm

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