PLATINUM JEWELRY GUIDE: 

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW



Platinum is a precious silver-white metal with many applications and is most commonly associated with jewelry. Along with gold and silver, platinum is one of the most significant fine jewelry metals.
Platinum represents eternal love because it is beautiful, rare, and lasts forever. Because of these characteristics, it is a popular choice for engagement rings, wedding bands, and other kinds of fine jewelry.


If you're thinking about going platinum for your wedding, looking for a necklace or bracelet, or simply want to learn more about this captivating precious metal, keep reading to find out the answers to the most frequently asked questions about platinum and platinum jewelry.


WHAT IS PLATINUM JEWELRY?


Platinum jewelry is a precious metal used in many different types of jewelry. It is a white metal that is very durable and has a high shine. Platinum is also hypoallergenic, making it a good choice for people with allergies or sensitive skin.


Platinum jewelry can be found in many different styles and designs and is a popular choice for engagement rings and other fine 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.


While platinum is usually in its pure form, you can also combine it with other metals to create alloys. These alloys (which are 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 hues of alloy mixtures.


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?


Luster. Platinum, as a gleaming white metal, is excellent at reflecting light. Platinum jewelry has a natural brightness and shine because of this.


Density. 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. So, if you prefer light jewelry, opt for gold or, better yet, gold-plated pieces..


Hardness. The hardness of platinum ranges from 4 to 4.5 on the Mohs scale (the maximum hardness is 10). Thus, it is a soft metal, though it is harder than gold and silver.


Malleability. 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.


Non-reactivity. Like all precious metals, platinum does not react with oxygen, water, or most acids. This non-reactivity safeguards it against environmental deterioration, allowing platinum jewelry to last indefinitely.


IS PLATINUM A RARE PRECIOUS METAL?


Yes. Platinum is far rarer than gold or silver jewelry, the other two precious metals commonly used in jewelry making.
Platinum production is only about 6 million ounces (170 metric tons) per year, compared to about 108 million ounces (3,062 metric tons) of gold and about 860 million ounces (24,381 metric tons) of silver.


IS PLATINUM JEWELRY EXPENSIVE?


Yes. Platinum jewelry is generally expensive due to its limited supply and the high competition for it. In January 2022, platinum traded at around $1,010 USD per ounce.


Another factor contributing to the high cost of platinum jewelry is metal purity. Platinum jewelry alloys are generally composed of at least 95% pure platinum metal. On the other hand, Gold jewelry alloys typically contain only 75 percent (18 karats) or 53.4 percent (14 karats) of pure gold.


Crafting jewelry out of platinum is more difficult as well. For example, a jeweler working with platinum needs specialized equipment that can heat platinum to the 3,215°F (1768°C) melting temperature. Because gold and silver have lower melting points, they are much easier to work with.


IS PLATINUM GOOD FOR JEWELRY?


The metal doesn't corrode, discolor, fade or lose shape with time and is one of the hardest metals, making it an excellent choice for jewelry.


IS PLATINUM JEWELRY HYPOALLERGENIC?


Yes. Pure platinum jewelry is hypoallergenic, which means it rarely causes skin irritation. Only two people in a study of 446 had any reaction to platinum metal.


Because most platinum jewelry alloys are 95 percent pure, and the other metals commonly used in these alloys are also hypoallergenic, 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?


The properties of platinum make it ideal for wearing every day, as it sustains very little metal loss over a lifetime of wear.


IS PLATINUM GOOD FOR WEDDING JEWELRY?


If you're looking for a metal that will stand the test of time (and fashion), choosing platinum is the way to go. This white metal is not only incredibly strong and durable, but it also has a timeless appeal that makes it perfect for wedding jewelry.


Plus, platinum looks great with any color gemstone, so you can really let your creativity shine through when designing your perfect platinum engagement ring. So, if you're searching for something special that will last a lifetime, consider platinum for your wedding rings. You won't be disappointed!


DOES PLATINUM JEWELRY TARNISH?


No. Because platinum is a noble metal, it does not tarnish, oxidize, or corrode in any way. A noble metal always resists chemical action, does not corrode, and is not easily attacked by acids. Noble metals (pure gold, pure silver, platinum) are chemically inert, which means they do not react with chemicals in the environment.


Base metals, which are chemically reactive, are the polar opposite of noble metals. For example, the base metal iron rusts when it reacts with oxygen and moisture in the air – which is why iron jewelry is rarely seen!


WHAT ARE PLATINUM ALLOYS?


A platinum piece is generally made from 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 are increased by alloying (mixing) it with other metals.


Platinum alloy mixtures frequently contain ruthenium and iridium metals. Both are precious white metals belonging to the platinum group metals, which means they have properties similar to platinum. Ruthenium and iridium metals, like other platinum group metals, are noble, silver-colored, lustrous, and rare metals.


The two metals, iridium and ruthenium, on the other hand, are hard and brittle, unlike platinum. Both have a Mohs hardness rating of about 6.5, whereas platinum has a score of 4 to 4.5. These white metals add strength to platinum jewelry alloys in small amounts without compromising malleability.


Another silver-white metal that is commonly used in platinum is cobalt. Cobalt, though not a precious metal, is a hard and lustrous platinum alloy, making it ideal for alloying with platinum content.


WHAT ARE PLATINUM HALLMARKS?


A quality stamp with the word Platinum or the abbreviations Plat or Pt indicates the presence of platinum in jewelry. This is frequently followed by a number indicating platinum purity, expressed in parts per thousand.


A piece of jewelry made of a platinum-iridium alloy, for example, may bear a platinum purity mark such as Plat 900 Irid 100 or 900 Pt. 100 Ir.


This fineness mark indicates that the alloy contains 900 parts platinum to 100 parts containing the metal iridium. In percentage terms, this equates to 90 percent platinum in jewelry and 10% of the metal iridium.

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.


WHEN WAS PLATINUM DISCOVERED?


Even though the Ancient Egyptians were aware of platinum, few Egyptian platinum artifacts have survived. The New World has a much richer historical record of platinum ornaments. Pre-Colombian artifacts include platinum ornaments like jewelry and figurines and functional items like fish hooks.


The discovery of platinum in Europe is usually attributed to the Spanish naval officer Antonio de Ulloa. In 1735, while traveling through what is now Peru and Colombia, Ulloa came across what the Spanish would come to call platina metal, which translates as "little silver." Initially, Europeans thought the discovery of platinum was nothing remarkable, and viewed "platina metal" as a valueless metal.


When platinum jewelry was introduced to the court of Louis XVI of France five decades later, this perception changed. Platinum was declared the only metal fit for royalty by the monarch, and it is still associated with opulence and social status today.


WHERE CAN YOU FIND PLATINUM?


According to the World Platinum Investment Council, only four regions contain 97 percent of the world's platinum. South Africa is responsible for 72% of annual global platinum production. The other four regions are Russia (11%), Zimbabwe (8%), and North America & South America(6%).


Because platinum is found deeper in the Earth's crust than most metals, mining occurs underground. Mining gold and silver, which form closer to the surface, is less challenging.


WHAT IS PLATINUM USED FOR?


Platinum uses vary from practical to aesthetically pleasing. Approximately 40% of the annual global supply of platinum goes to manufacture catalytic converters, which treat vehicle exhaust emissions and reduce their harmful effects on human and environmental health.


Other platinum uses involve the jewelry industry, which consumes the second most platinum, accounting for approximately 30% of the annual platinum usage. Platinum is used as a catalyst in the chemical industry, the manufacture of some electronics, and medicine and dentistry.


Platinum is classified as a critical mineral by the United States Department of the Interior due to the importance of platinum usage in military technology.


HOW TO CLEAN PLATINUM JEWELRY?


If your platinum jewelry looks a little lackluster, don't worry- a little TLC can go a long way! Here are some tips on how to clean platinum and restore its natural beauty.


Materials Needed:

-All-Natural Dish Soap

-Warm Water

-A Bowl

-A soft-bristled brush

-Polishing Cloth


Instructions:

1. For cleaning platinum, start by filling a bowl with warm water and add a drop of dish soap.

2. Dip the platinum piece into the soapy water and use the soft bristle brush to scrub the platinum clean. Try to reach the crevices and under the setting of any stones.

3. Rinse the jewelry under running water.

4. Dry the jewelry with a lint-free cloth.

5. Start polishing platinum by buffing it with a polishing cloth to restore its original shine.

6. Allow the jewelry to air dry on a soft, cotton towel; if the jewelry remains a bit dirty, repeat the steps for cleaning platinum above.


Additional Tips:


-While platinum jewelry cleaning, avoid scratching your piece by only using soft-bristled brushes and lint-free cloths while scrubbing the platinum clean.


- You can clean platinum jewelry with commercial jewelry cleaners, but you should always check the label first to ensure it is safe for platinum.


- Never use abrasive cleaners, such as toothpaste for platinum jewelry cleaning. These can damage the metal and dull its finish.


- After the cleaning, always store your platinum jewelry in a soft, lined box to protect it from scratches. It is also a good idea to keep it away from other jewelry pieces to avoid scratching.


- Have your platinum treated to a professional polishing and cleaned every 12 to 18 months to keep it looking its best.


WHAT IS PLATINUM PATINA?


When scratched platinum jewelry, the metal shifts along its surface. Because of the metal displacement caused by many tiny indentations and dings, platinum jewelry eventually loses its sleek, polished surface and takes on a worn, antique platinum jewelry appearance. An antique platinum jewelry look is also referred to as platinum patina.


Platinum rings are the most prone to developing patina due to wear and tear from your hand slamming into things. The patina on a platinum ring can appear in as little as six months to a year, depending on how frequently you wear it and if you wear it while working with your hands. Earrings and necklaces can last much longer without developing platinum patina because they are not as frequently bumped against hard surfaces.


Patina may appeal to you if you like vintage platinum jewelry pieces that appear to tell a story. In addition, if your jewelry contains diamonds, patina can make them appear brighter by contrast.


If you prefer the glint of polished platinum, you can have your platinum jewelry professionally polished when it becomes dull, and it will shine like new again. This service typically costs between $30 and $60 per treatment.


WHAT IS RHODIUM-PLATED PLATINUM?


Rhodium is another platinum group metal that is distinguished by its extremely bright white color. Before being sold, platinum and white gold jewelry are frequently given a thin coating of rhodium plating. This conceals either the natural gray tint of platinum or the natural yellow tint of white gold.
The rhodium also serves as a protective barrier around the jewelry, preventing wear and tear, but does require to be re-plated after several years.


Some people prefer the gleaming radiance of rhodium-plated platinum, while others do not. When making your decision, keep in mind that rhodium plating is insignificant. This platinum group metal will wear off after one to two years of regular use and will need to be re-plated, which will cost between $60 and $120 per treatment.


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:


Aesthetics.

  • 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.


Diamond Color

  • 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.


Engraving

  • 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.


Practicality

  • 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.


Safe for Sensitive Skin

  • 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 is heavier, more of it is required to craft jewelry of the same size. Platinum alloys are also purer than gold jewelry alloys, which increases platinum jewelry prices.


Upkeep

  • You must properly care for your platinum if you do not want it to develop a patina, a.k.a a matte appearance. Polishing platinum with a soft cloth can help to slow and soften the appearance of patina, but professional treatment will eventually be required to restore its like-new shine.


IS PLATINUM BETTER THAN GOLD?


Yes, the properties of platinum make it superior to gold in some ways. For example, it never tarnishes or causes skin irritation like some lower purity gold alloys, displays the color of diamonds better than yellow gold, and holds gemstones more securely because it is more difficult to bend out of shape.


Although platinum is more difficult to bend, most gold alloys are more difficult to scratch. The two most common alloys used to make gold jewelry, 18k gold, and 14k gold, both resist scratching better than platinum metal.


One caveat: when gold is scratched, the metal comes off the jewelry, which means it is permanently lost. In contrast, platinum moves the metal around but does not come off and is easily buffed back into place.

As a result, with regular wear, a piece of gold jewelry actually shrinks over time. You won't notice this because it happens slowly (think decades).


If you prefer to wear heavy jewelry, platinum is a good choice. Because platinum is denser than gold, it feels heavier on your body than gold. However, some people prefer light jewelry, so it's really a matter of personal preference. In contrast, others prefer the heavy jewelry feeling of platinum.


Finally, there is no objective way to determine whether platinum properties are superior to gold. It all boils down to personal preference.


WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PLATINUM AND WHITE GOLD?


Platinum compares favorably to white gold in many ways. It is more durable and scratch-resistant, and it doesn’t require re-plating as white gold does. Platinum properties also make it hypoallergenic, so if you have sensitive skin, it may be a better choice for you. On the downside, platinum is more expensive than white gold, and it can be more difficult to work with when setting stones.


When it comes to choosing between platinum vs. white gold, it really comes down to a matter of personal preference. Both are high-quality jewelry metals.


For example, if you want the look of white gold but don’t want to deal with the maintenance, a platinum chain may be the better choice for you. Plus, a platinum chain will never tarnish or discolor, which is a major bonus. However, if you prefer the lower price tag of white gold, then a white gold chain may be the route you should go. Plus, a white gold chain can easily be re-plated if it starts to show wear.


Whichever route you choose, make sure you do your research so you can make an informed decision about which metal is right for you.


WRAPPING UP


Platinum is a beautiful, durable metal that is perfect for those who want fine jewelry that lasts. While it may be more expensive than gold, its benefits may be worth the investment for you. Consider buying platinum jewelry the next time you are looking for high-quality jewelry.