PLATINUM JEWELRY GUIDE: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
Here's a list of what you'll learn in this post:
- What is platinum jewelry?
- What does platinum look like?
- What are platinum's properties?
- Is platinum hypoallergenic?
- Can you wear platinum everyday?
- Does platinum jewelry tarnish?
- What are platinum alloys?
- Is a platinum band hard to resize?
- Is platinum good for jewelry?
- What are the pros of platinum jewelry?
- What are the cons of platinum jewelry?
WHAT IS PLATINUM JEWELRY?
WHAT DOES PLATINUM LOOK LIKE?
In its pure form, platinum is a silvery-white metal that is highly reflective and very dense, so much so that it is often used in jewelry to add weight and substance to pieces.
A manufacturer can combine pure platinum with other metals to create different alloy blends, and colors. These alloys (usually other rare metals from the platinum group metals) can range in color from pale yellow to gray, depending on the metals used in the mix. Platinum color is determined in large part by the concentration of alloys.
Platinum color also depends on its finish; for example, polished platinum has a brighter, more lustrous finish, while brushed platinum has a more muted look.
WHAT ARE PLATINUM'S PROPERTIES?
As one of the rarest and most precious metals in the world, it's no surprise that platinum is prized for its unique properties. Here are just a few things platinum properties that make this metal so special:
PLATINUM LUSTER. Platinum, as a gleaming white metal, is excellent at reflecting light. Platinum luster has a natural brightness and shine because of its high reflectivity.
THE DENSITY OF PLATINUM. Platinum is one of the densest elements on the planet, making it heavier than other jewelry metals. For example, a piece of jewelry made of platinum is approximately 30% heavier than the same piece set in 18-karat gold. The density of platinum makes it a good choice for settings that secure diamonds or other gemstones in place.
THE HARDNESS OF PLATINUM. The hardness of platinum ranges from 4 to 4.5 on the Mohs scale (the maximum hardness on the scale is 10). Thus, it is a relatively soft metal, though the hardness of platinum outranks both gold and silver.
ITS A MALLEABLE METAL. Platinum, as a malleable metal, can bend without breaking. This bendability prevents platinum jewelry from shattering when struck or dropped, as more brittle metals like tungsten can.
ITS A NON-REACTIVE METAL. Like all precious metals, platinum does not react with oxygen, water, or most acids. This non-reactive metal safeguards it against environmental deterioration, which allows platinum jewelry to last indefinitely.
IS PLATINUM GOOD FOR JEWELRY?
Pure platinum jewelry does not fade, tarnish, or turn color. However, with age, it does take on a patina and shows slight scratches.
IS PLATINUM HYPOALLERGENIC?
If you're looking for hypoallergenic jewelry, platinum is a great choice. Pure platinum jewelry is hypoallergenic, which means it is less likely to cause skin irritation.
Because most alloyed platinum contains 95 percent pure platinum, and the other metals commonly used in these alloys are also hypoallergenic (from the Platinum Group of Metals), wearing platinum jewelry should not cause any sensitivity issues.
Nickel, the metal that causes the majority of contact dermatitis in jewelry wearers, is not used in platinum jewelry alloys.
CAN YOU WEAR PLATINUM EVERY DAY?
Platinum properties make it ideal for wearing every day, as it sustains very little metal loss over a lifetime of wear.
DOES PLATINUM JEWELRY TARNISH?
WHAT ARE PLATINUM ALLOYS?
A platinum piece usually contains common alloys rather than pure platinum metal. Because platinum is a soft metal, jewelry made entirely of it would be easily damaged. Platinum's hardness and durability increase by alloying (mixing) it with other metals. The most popular alloys are 90% platinum and 10% iridium, 80% platinum and 20% palladium, and 75% platinum and 25% cobalt.
As you can see, platinum alloy mixtures frequently contain ruthenium and iridium metals. Both are precious white metals belonging to the platinum group of metals, which means they have properties similar to platinum. Like other platinum group metals, ruthenium and iridium metals are noble, silver-colored, lustrous, and rare. They're also unreactive to most chemicals and have high corrosion resistance.
Ruthenium is sometimes used in small quantities as an additive to platinum alloys because it increases the metal's hardness. The resulting alloy is more resistant to scratching and wear, making it an ideal choice for use in fine jewelry. Iridium is also added to platinum alloys for the same reason. In fact, the two metals are often used together in a platinum-iridium alloy.
The two platinum alloy metals, iridium and ruthenium, are hard and brittle, unlike platinum. Iridium and ruthenium have a Mohs hardness rating of about 6.5, whereas platinum scores 4 to 4.5. This rating means that platinum is much softer.
Another platinum alloy is the silver-white metal cobalt. Cobalt is also non-corrosive, which means it will not tarnish or discolor over time. Cobalt, though not a precious metal, is a hard and lustrous platinum alloy, making it ideal for alloying with platinum metal.
IS A PLATINUM BAND HARD TO RESIZE?
A platinum band is not necessarily more difficult to resize than other types of ring bands. However, because platinum is a harder metal, it may require more time and effort to resize. If you are unsure about whether or not your jeweler can resize your platinum band, it is always best to ask in advance. That way, you can be sure that your band will be returned to you in the same perfect condition it was in when you first purchased it.
WHAT ARE THE PROS OF PLATINUM JEWELRY?
Platinum is a popular metal for jewelry, particularly engagement rings and wedding bands. You may choose pt jewelry for your wedding or other special occasions for a variety of reasons, including:
- Platinum rings are undeniably lovely. A platinum ring, whether you love a high sheen, plated with rhodium, or allowed to take on a patina, makes an eye-catching statement.
- Because diamonds reflect the color of the metal in which they are set, platinum-set diamonds can appear whiter and brighter than they are. In contrast with platinum-set stones, diamonds set in yellow gold can appear more yellow than they are.
- If you want your wedding band engraved, a platinum ring is an excellent choice. A jeweler can engrave messages or intricate designs on the band of a platinum ring that will last. Engravings on soft or "springy" metals can wear and fade over time.
- Platinum rings are extremely durable and secure gemstones better than gold or silver rings. Platinum rings, unlike gold and silver, don't wear down when scratched, making them an excellent choice for everyday wear.
- Platinum is one of the least allergenic jewelry metals. If you have sensitive skin, platinum is a good choice, even for earrings and other skin-piercing jewelry.
WHAT ARE THE CONS OF PLATINUM JEWELRY?
PLATINUM JEWELRY PRICES:
- A piece of pt jewelry will cost approximately 30% more than the same piece done in 18-karat gold. Platinum prices are so high because platinum construction is heavier; more of it is required to craft jewelry of the same size. Platinum construction also uses purer platinum alloys compared to gold jewelry alloys, which increases the price.
- Caring for platinum is essential if you do not want it to develop a patina, a.k.a; a matte appearance. Caring for platinum requires polishing it regularly with a soft cloth, which helps to slow and soften the appearance of the patina. However, you will eventually require professional treatment to restore its like-new shine.
We hope this guide has been helpful in teaching you everything you need to know about platinum jewelry. Platinum is a beautiful and durable metal that makes for stunning jewelry, and we hope you'll consider it for your next purchase. Thanks for reading!