Why are there white metal prongs on my ring?

You’re looking for a ring made of non-white metal, such as yellow or rose gold, yet the prongs holding the diamond are white gold or platinum. Why is this, you ask? Shouldn’t all of the metal be the same color?

The answer? Sometimes, but not usually! There are a few reasons why this is the case.

Diamond color

Diamonds are graded by four different categories—one of which, is color. They’re graded on a scale of D-Z, and the further down the alphabet you go, the more yellow the diamond appears. Understandably, the more ‘colorless’ the diamond is, the more expensive it will be.

With a yellow gold ring, the metal can tend to reflect a yellow tint to the diamond, even if it is a colorless or nearly colorless stone. As a way to keep this from affecting the appearance of your center diamond, many jewelers will use white metal for the prongs, rather than the actual color of the metal shank.

The eye will be drawn to the color of metal used in the shank, rather than the white metal prongs. But ultimately, the diamond will look brighter and more colorless as a result.

A positive consequence of getting a ring with white prongs is that you can possibly purchase a diamond with a lower color grade without it looking too yellow when it is set.

Durability

While white gold and platinum look virtually indistinguishable to the eye, they differ when it comes to durability.

Platinum is much less likely to break, as it is a denser, more durable metal. However, it is less scratch resistant than gold. This means that it won’t stay quite as shiny as white gold as long. For the sake of protecting the center stone, cost efficiency, and maintaining the ring’s shine, many people decide on platinum prongs with a gold shank.

Plating

Another reason that many people choose on platinum for their rings is that the metal is naturally white, so it won’t need to be re-plated with rhodium to maintain its white color. While many jewelers will offer periodical rhodium plating free of charge, you will be able to see the ring change color in the time between having it re-plated.

Even if you only use white gold for the prongs on the ring, it will still need to be re-plated with rhodium every so often to maintain the colorless effect on the diamond.