Metals - Platinum

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What is platinum?

Platinum is one of the rarest metals in the earth's crust. It’s hard, beautiful, and elusive. This has made it both a symbol and store of wealth in the past, and a popular choice for engagement rings today. 

The history of platinum 

The ancient Egyptians used platinum in their jewelry, mixed with gold. Later, ancient indigenous South Americans mined. refined and produced intricate platinum jewelry which Europeans discovered in the 16th century. By the 19th century, platinum had become a popular jewelry metal. 

The prestige of platinum

They say all the platinum on the earth could fit in a single living room. Only royals could afford to buy and use it in the past, with Louis XV declaring it the only metal fit for kings. 

Platinum is so rare and beautiful that it’s become synonymous with wealth. The metal is even more expensive than 24k pure gold. The word “Platinum” itself is often used to say something is rare, or exceptional. 

Properties of platinum in jewelry 

Platinum is durable and never loses its classic grey-white metallic sheen. This makes it a perfect metal for wear throughout a lifetime. 

As a noble metal, platinum resists corrosion and tarnishing. It is also hypoallergenic so you can confidently wear it on sensitive skin. 

Though it is heavier and denser than silver and gold, platinum is very ductile and pliable. These are helpful properties for setting diamonds and jewelry-making. 

Platinum jewelry alloys 

High-quality platinum jewelry uses a 90 to 95% alloy. Platinum alloys are easier to work with and have greater durability. Alterations of platinum rings must use compatible materials to these alloys.

The selection of platinum alloys for jewelry depends on regional quality stamping regulations. The main platinum alloys used in jewelry are:

  • Copper 
  • Iridium 
  • Palladium 
  • Rhodium 
  • Cobalt 
  • Titanium 

Jewelers often alloy iridium with platinum because of its similar silvery luminosity. Iridium is hard and brittle and can strengthen platinum jewelry.

The designation for an iridium platinum alloy is Pt950/Ir. This shows that this popular alloy is 950 parts platinum and 50 parts Iridium. Platinum is available in several internationally recognized weights or finesses. These include 850, 900, and 999 parts per thousand. 

Platinum hallmarks, quality stamps, and finesse marks 

Hallmarking shows the quality and provenance of a piece of platinum jewelry. Since 1975, all fine platinum jewelry with a platinum weight of over 0.5 grams has carried a hallmark or finesse mark. The Platinum Guild International (PGI) oversees the hallmarking of platinum jewelry. 

Platinum engagement rings 

Platinum is a beautiful setting for diamond or Moissanite engagement rings. Its luminosity beautifully enhances any size or cut of stone. Master setters select platinum as platinum prongs do not move or wear with time. This strength and durability have made platinum the setting for the large gems like the 45.52-carat Hope diamond. 

Platinum engagement rings can fit in with low, moderate, and high activity lifestyles. It can scratch but does not lose any metal, developing a characterful patina as the ring ages. You can have platinum rings polished and buffed to remove any acquired marks. 

Platinum vs silver 

  • Platinum is brighter and whiter than silver 
  • Platinum is a harder and denser metal than silver 
  • Platinum doesn't tarnish like silver 
  • Platinum doesn't lose volume with wear 
  • Platinum prongs are more secure than silver for securing diamonds and other gems 
  • Silver is a cheaper metal than platinum with a value that is just 2% of platinums 

Platinum vs white gold 

  • White gold comprises mixed alloys whereas platinum is 80 to 99% percent pure 
  • The bright whiteness of platinum is natural. White gold uses a Rhodium, a metal related to platinum to achieve its shine. 
  • The white luminosity of platinum does not wear or tarnish like white gold 
  • White gold often requires replating during its lifetime 
  • Platinum is a harder and denser metal than white gold 
  • Platinum doesn't lose volume with wear 
  • Platinum prongs are stronger and less likely to deform or worn over time 
  • Platinum is more expensive than white gold 

Caring for platinum 

Platinum's durability will delight you for decades after it is first worn. Care for your platinum engagement ring to preserve its brilliance. 

Avoid wearing your ring during rough or intense physical activity as platinum scratches. Keeping a platinum ring in a soft box away from other jewelry helps to protect it from scratches. 

Avoid abrasive materials and corrosive solutions for cleaning platinum jewelry. You can safely clean platinum in an ultrasonic cleaning machine. 

Have your platinum ring polished by a reputable jeweler to preserve its beauty. Jewelers also refinish platinum rings with rhodium to renew their brightness. 

In conclusion 

Platinums' unique properties and striking visual appearance create exceptional jewelry. It is a superb choice for those who appreciate the clear brightness of white precious metals. A platinum setting always flatters and accents diamond, Moissanite, and other beautiful gemstones.

 

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