From prehistory to princesses to present day divas - the story of platinum, is much longer than you would think. Meteorites contain platinum and the earliest recorded meteorite impact on Earth happened 2 billion years ago. Since then, this rare and beguiling treasure has made sporadic appearances throughout history, mysteriously disappearing for centuries at a time, both baffling and enchanting those who have come across it. The Ancient Egyptians, pre-Incan civilizations and the Spanish conquistadors all encountered platinum. It then re-emerged in the 1700s to fascinate kings and alchemists alike. Platinum grew in popularity in the 19th and 20th centuries and today it is the precious metal of choice of movie stars and the glitterati.
Platinum is 30 times rarer than gold and is found in very few places in the world, mainly South Africa and Russia. Every year only 88 tons of platinum are made into jewelry, compared with 2,700 tons of gold. It takes eight weeks to produce one single ounce (31.1 grams) of platinum. There are also fewer platinum mines. For every 10 gold mines there is just one platinum mine.
Platinum's density and weight make it more durable than other jewelry metals. A six-inch cube of platinum weighs 165 lbs, the same as an average man, and due to its durability, it is the standard of the metric system. The 1 Meter and 1 Kilogram standards are made from platinum/iridium and are located in Paris, France. Platinum is resistant to heat and most acids. Platinum doesn't wear away and holds precious stones firmly and securely. Some of the world's most famous gems are set in platinum, such as the Koh-I-Nor diamond in the British Crown Jewels and the Hope Diamond. It is continually the preferred precious metal of today's discerning designers, manufacturers and their customers.
All precious metals can scratch, and platinum is no exception. However, the scratch on a platinum piece is merely a displacement of the metal and little of its volume is lost --- whereas scratching a gold alloy wears away and decreases its volume. If visible scratches do appear on a platinum piece, a qualified jeweler can re-polish it.
Platinum is more pure (approximately 95% pure) than gold (18k gold is 75% pure; 14k gold is 58% pure).
Platinum is 30 times more rare than gold. If platinum mining ceased today, the available supply would be exhausted in two years, compared to a quarter of a century for gold.
Platinum represents the most precious of the "Platinum Group Materials" (PGMs), including platinum, palladium, rhodium, iridium, osmium and ruthenium.
Platinum is more durable than other precious metals, so it lasts longer with every day wear and is not subject to the metal loss and wearing down that occurs with other precious metals. Think of platinum like a piece of clay. If you run your finger across a wedge of clay, it merely moves the clay to the side. This means the jewelry your customers purchase today will look the same for generations to come.
Platinum is highly recommended for channel settings and prongs securing valuable diamonds and gemstones. The strength of platinum is important for securely holding precious stones.
Platinum carries with it the time-honored prestige that this precious metal has earned not only by being associated with the world's most celebrated jewelry, but with those who've owned and worn platinum, as well.
Platinum is heavier than other precious metals - 60% heavier than karat gold. Its weight feels more substantial to the wearer, serving as a constant, subtle reminder of its superior qualities.
Because platinum does not oxidize, it won't tarnish like other precious metals, and there is no need for re-plating in order to maintain its bright color. And, platinum's white appearance complements the brilliance and depth of diamonds and colored gemstones it surrounds.
Platinum is hypo-allergenic, so it won't irritate sensitive skin like some other precious metals.