Education

Precious Metals Handbook - Platinum

Rarity

Platinum has been called the world's most precious, rare, and sought after metal. To give you an example of how rare platinum is, imagine taking all the platinum of the world and placing it in a swimming pool, would you believe it wouldn't even reach your ankles?! Because platinum is so rare , it has become an international symbol of prestige and power. Not everyone can own platinum jewelry and therefore a piece of platinum jewelry should be cherished as a rare and beautiful treasure. Platinum's benefits and properties are unmatched by any other white precious metal; while considering platinum you really should become familiar with these properties.

Purity

Platinum Mens Wedding Ring

Platinum jewelry is very pure and the purity level is determined by how much "actual" platinum is placed in the jewelry. Traditional 14k gold jewelry is only slightly more than half gold and the other half is a metal alloy mix of copper or nickel, these metals are not considered to be precious or valuable. Pure gold is not durable enough for use in everyday jewelry and therefore copper or nickel is added to harden the jewelry and make it more suitable for everyday wear. This metal mixing is also done to make the cost of making the jewelry lower and thereby making the jewelry less expensive for the customer. Platinum jewelry is generally made with 90% to 95% precious platinum and 10% to 5% iridium, or cobalt, making it much more pure than gold jewelry. Platinum is the most durable of all precious metals and therefore does not need more than 5% to 10% of any other metal mix. By law, anyone selling platinum jewelry is required to indicate how much platinum is in that jewelry by stamping it with the exact percentage of platinum used. This stamping will be seen as either .900 or .950, when making a jewelry purchase you should look for the required stamp. Platinum is found naturally white and does n't really require any treatment to make it whiter. This makes it a perfect metal to set diamonds in because the crisp and pure white color of the metal enhances a diamond's beauty and color. the purity of platinum jewelry also makes it hypoallergenic and you'll never develop allergic reactions to it like some people do with gold or white gold.

Eternal

Platinum is a very durable metal that holds up extremely well over long periods of time. A platinum ring can last up to 50 years without needing repairs or restoration work and it's not uncommon for people to inherit a platinum ring from a great grandparent. The durability of the metal makes it a perfect choice to hold valuable gemstones like diamonds; the durability adds protection from premature stone loss. Even if you choose a ring in white or yellow gold its a good idea to set the center in prongs that are made of platinum. Many of the jewelry industry's finest designers make their jewelry designs in platinum only because platinum's durability will prevent the detail of the designers work from disappearing over time from wear and tear.

Platinum Versus White Gold

Many people are confused when having to make a decision between platinum and white gold because at first glance the metals seem very much alike. First you should understand that there is no such thing as white gold, white gold does not exist. White gold jewelry is yellow gold that is mixed with a nickel alloy; this nickel alloy makes the jewelry appear whiter than yellow gold but when placed next to platinum jewelry it is considerably more yellow than platinum jewelry. During the final steps of the manufacturing process the more yellow looking white gold jewelry is dipped and electroplated in rhodium, which is a form of liquid platinum. In essence, white gold jewelry is simply yellow gold jewelry with a platinum skin. Over time however, the rhodium wears off and the yellow surface below bleeds through and the jewelry appears to tarnish. The tarnished look can be removed by replenishing the rhodium plating and most local jewelers can do this for a fee of $25 to $50. The typical white gold jewelry item must be re-plated once every 6-12 months. On the other hand, platinum jewelry is found naturally white and requires no alloys to make the jewelry look white. Jewelry made in platinum will always remain white and never requires any re-plating. Platinum jewelry is softer than white gold yet it is much more durable. Platinum dents and dings more easily than white gold yet platinum will last significantly longer than white gold. This sounds confusing so we'll use the following example to gain a better understanding of the difference between the two. Let's say that you have a car and you want to replace the tires with something harder than rubber. You have a set of wooden tires (which are much harder than rubber) made and installed on the car. Do you think the wooden tires would last 25,000 miles like rubber tires? Even though wood is harder than rubber it certainly is not as durable as rubber. Platinum is to rubber as white gold is to wood. When comparing platinum jewelry to white gold jewelry it is virtually indestructible, and a platinum ring can last for an eternity without needing extensive maintenance. White gold rings generally do not last more than 15 - 20 years and may require new prongs, bottom shanks or heads. White gold has one advantage over platinum and that is price, a white gold ring can cost half a much as the exact same style in platinum. While platinum may cost much more than white gold, there is tremendous value in the durability and longevity of platinum.

Summary