Platinum: The Noble Metal
Platinum is a beautifully brilliant, gray-white, precious metal. Platinum is the world's most precious metal to be used in jewelry. Most commonly this precious metal is used in the automobile industry, but when it comes to jewelry it is most popularly used in engagement, wedding and anniversary rings. Today the metal is nick-named the noble metal because many of platinum’s characteristics mimic those of marriage: eternal, strong, beautiful. Traditionally 70th anniversaries are celebrated with platinum gifts. By the time you have finished this article you will come to understand all the characteristics of this strong and sound element.
Platinum’s Origin Story:
The precious metal can be dated back to Egypt in the 7th century, once found in a casket. Old notes were once found from an Italian scholar, he wrote about a white metal that was unable to melt no matter what they tried. Platinum melts at 3,200 degrees while gold melts at 2,000 degrees. Did you know there is more platinum in outer space than on earth? Even just on the moon alone. The word platinum comes from the Spanish word “platina” meaning “little silver”. Little silver because those who named it seriously underestimated the metal, thinking it was along the same lines as silver. Platinum is mostly mined in South Africa, about 80%, the remaining 20% found in Russia, and North/South America.
The Composition Of Platinum:
On the periodic table as symbol Pt and atomic number 78. Platinum is considered a transition metal, meaning it bonds well with other metals, making it great for jewelry. When you are looking at platinum jewelry you can look for this hallmark: 950. This indicates that the metal is 95% platinum and 5% alloy metals. The typical alloys used with platinum are copper, palladium, rhodium, or cobalt. Other hallmarks you can look for when purchasing platinum jewelry are 900 or 850. These are also acceptable variations of the metal for jewelry use.
Platinum VS. Other White Metals:
Comparing platinum to white gold or silver is like comparing apples to oranges. As you learned in our previous blog post, silver is an inexpensive, softer metal that does tarnish over time. White gold is more cost effective and has similar longevity. That said you do need to re-rhodium your white gold every-so-often to keep that bright white shine and is slightly less durable than platinum.
Platinum has none of the hassles of these other metals. Extremely sturdy, it does not discolor, fairly easy to polish, and while all metals scratch, platinum does not chip away like gold. One reason platinum is so popular is because it is hypoallergenic. Many jewelry lovers have allergies to alloy metals like nickel. This allergy makes it hard to wear silver or white gold, as those have larger quantities of alloy mixed in, compared to the 5% in platinum jewelry.
As stated above, platinum is one of the rarest metals used in jewelry. Approximately 30x more rare than gold. It has been said that if all the platinum on earth was melted down and put into an olympic swimming pool, it would only reach your ankles. Gold on the other hand…would fill three pools. Historically, platinum has been more expensive than gold. Recently we have seen the price of platinum decrease as the cost of gold has gone up. Due to platinum's rarity and density (weighing approximately 30% more than gold) the metal is a difficult medium for jewelers to work with.
Here in store we can help you choose from a vast collection of platinum engagement rings and wedding bands. We can take any of our gold designs and turn them into platinum pieces, or help you to execute a custom design. Check out our social media page @joekoenjewelers on Instagram or search Joe Koen & Son Jewelers on Facebook.