Platinum is pure precious metal that is white in color. It is alloyed with iridium, cobalt or ruthenium to increase its hardness for use in jewelry.
Metals used in platinum jewelry usually fall into one of three categories: pure platinum, other platinum group metals (palladium, ruthenium, rhodium, iridium, osmium), base metals (copper or cobalt)
Platinum is the rarest of precious metals, Japan currently accounts for nearly half of platinum jewelry sales, but demand in the U.S. and China has risen quickly to match this demand.
Platinum is desirable as a metal for use in jewelry because of its great tensile strength that makes it the most secure stone settings.
Platinum jewelry will maintain its color, brilliance and weight even when scratched, while other metals may lose their luster or become blemished or discolored.
Unlike other metals, platinum does not expand or distort when exposed to heat, and it never tarnishes. Instead, it ages beautifully by developing a lustrous patina.
Platinum is very dense and heavy metal, the same wedding ring weighing 10.0 grams in gold will weigh 16.0 grams in platinum.
Platinum is normally not used in the full range of jewelry products due to its higher price.
Platinum is mainly used in ladies engagement rings, ladies wedding rings and men’s wedding rings.
In approximately 700 BC ancient Egyptians mastered the techniques of processing platinum. In approximately 100 BC the Indians in Pre-Columbian South American cultures succeeded in working platinum and gold together.
Platinum was first mentioned in Europe in 1557. In 1590 Spanish Conquistadors discovered the white metal in the rivers of Ecuador.
The first platinum jewelry in Europe appeared around the year 1780, at the court of Louis XVI of France. King Louis of France declared it a metal fit only for kings.
In 1824 Substantial deposits of platinum are discovered in the Ural Mountains in Russia.
Platinum reached its peak of popularity in the early 1900s when it was the preferred metal for all fine jewelry in America. When World War II began, the U.S. Government declared platinum a strategic metal.
Platinum is also one of the most enduring jewelry metals. That’s why the world’s most famous diamonds, like the Hope and Jonker Diamond are secured by platinum settings.
Jewelry can contain different percentages of pure platinum. The US Federal Trade Commission, FTC, publishes guidelines for acceptable marking standards for platinum jewelry sold in the US.
Platinum content is usually expressed as the amount of pure platinum the jewelry contains in parts per thousand.
Jewelry that contains at least 950 parts per thousand of pure platinum may be marked or described as Platinum
Most platinum jewelry sold in the U.S. is 85% platinum and 15% other metals, either precious platinum group metals and/or base metals. Labels will look like this: 850Plat. = 85% pure platinum.
For items containing between 50% and 85% pure platinum combined with other platinum group metals, labels will look like this: 800 Pt. 200 Pd. = 80% pure platinum, 20% palladium
To be called platinum, an item should be at least 500 parts per thousand.
Any item that’s less than 50% pure platinum should not be marked or labeled as platinum.
The Platinum Group of Metals, or PGM: Platinum, Iridium, Palladium, Ruthenium, Rhodium, Osmium.
The six metals of the platinum group (PGM) occur in nature in close association with one another and with nickel and copper. Of the few known deposits, those in South Africa and Russia are the largest. South Africa produced 4.12 million ounces in 2013 and Russia 780,000 ounces. There are less than ten PGM mining companies in the world. Platinum and palladium have the greatest economic importance. The other four PGM, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium and osmium, are produced as co-products of platinum and palladium.
Jewelry is the second largest sector of PGM demand.
Jewelry demand in 2013 was 2.74 million ounces, 33% of the world platinum demand, 8.42 million ounces.
To produce a single ounce of platinum, a total of 10 tons of ore must be mined. In comparison, only three tons of ore are required to produce one ounce of gold.
Like gold, platinum prices are determined by supply and demand. Platinum and gold currently have approximately the same cost though platinum’s price is higher.
Some examples of platinum jewelry:
950 Platinum wedding band ring
Tiffany 950 Platinum ring
850 Platinum and Kunzite ring
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