14k White and Yellow Gold
14k white and yellow gold are popular and durable precious metals for jewelry. Pure gold, which measures 24 karats, is too soft for use in jewelry. It is alloyed with other metals--silver, copper, nickel, and zinc--to increase its strength and durability. 14k white gold is not as white as platinum, as it is made from a yellow metal that is turned white mostly through nickel alloys. Most white gold items have a rhodium plating that wears away over time, so the metal may look more yellow with age. Some people prefer the slightly warmer white of white gold over platinum's grayer white.

18k White and Yellow Gold
Due to recent advances in alloy technology, 18k gold is now generally considered to be as durable as 14k gold. Because 18k gold has a higher percentage of pure gold, it has a richer gold color than 14k gold and is slightly heavier. An 18k gold setting can cost approximately 25% to 65% more than the same setting in 14k gold.

Platinum has great durability in holding precious stones. It is 35 times rarer than gold. A platinum jewelry item can cost approximately 60% to 200% more than the same setting in 18k gold, and 100% to 300% more than the same setting in 14k gold.