Platinum Jewelry is a pleasure to wear and offers certain benefits. For example, platinum is more pliable than gold. In that case, it lends itself to various design options that jewelers cannot make using other alloys.
Many companies promote platinum as being more durable than gold. Of course, this is a matter of perspective and subject to interpretation. On the one hand, platinum is stronger, wears better, and withstands rubbing against an abrasive surface better than gold.
In other words, if you're a left-handed teacher, then a platinum engagement ring might be a better choice. That's because you could rub your ring across papers while grading them.
On the other hand, platinum can be more brittle than gold and might not withstand impact. In that case, platinum prongs might shear off upon impact, whereas gold prongs are likely to move with the force of impact.
In either case, you'll probably end up replacing the head if you strike your ring hard enough to cause that kind of damage. Consequently, this is one reason we prefer six-prong heads instead of four-prong configurations.
Platinum Jewelry Is Purer than Gold
Most platinum jewelry is 90 - 95% pure, whereas 18 karat gold is 75% pure and 14k gold is only 58.5% pure. All of the various alloys used to manufacture fine jewelry contains a blend of other metals, platinum simply has less.
The presence of other alloys in white gold is what causes it to oxidize, face and change color over time. Because platinum is purer than gold, it doesn't fade or change color and it retains it retains a polish longer.
The pure white luster of platinum reflects the true brilliance of diamonds and provides the best setting for most precious gems. The combination of platinum and yellow gold creates a perfect balance of two tonal values for people who prefer warmer tones.
Platinum is Hypo-Allergenic
Platinum's purity makes it the perfect alloy for people with sensitive skin. Because platinum is more pure than gold and has been mixed less metal than other alloys used to create jewelry, it does not cause allergic reactions.
People who suffer from allergic reactions when they wear gold jewelry in their ears or who experience rashes on their fingers when wearing gold jewelry should consider platinum.
Platinum is Rarer than Gold
Platinum is thirty-five times rarer than gold. Platinum is found in only a few places throughout the world. At present, most platinum mining is done in South Africa and Russia and to a lesser extent in Zimbabwe, Canada and South America.
It takes eight weeks and 10 tonnes of ore to produce a single ounce (31.1 grams) of platinum, whereas only five tonnes of ore are mined to produce the same amount of gold!
For every ten gold mines that exists in the world, there is only one platinum mine. During the average year, approximately 2,700 tonnes of gold are used in the process of manufacturing jewelry. However, only 88 tonnes of platinum are used to make jewelry.
Platinum seems to cost more than gold at first glance, but upon further study it becomes clear that the higher cost of platinum is simply due to the fact that platinum is purer than gold and much more rare.
Platinum Density Makes It More Durable
Platinum's density and weight make it more durable than other jewelry metals. A six inch cube of platinum which measures approximately 15 centimeters cubed weighs 165 pounds (75 kg) which is almost as much as the average man!
Platinum is also resistant to heat and acids and has a higher melting point than gold (3,223°F / 1,768°C) and requires special equipment for casting into jewelry. Platinum doesn't wear away as other jewelry metals do, it holds diamonds and other gemstones firmly and securely.
All metals can be scratched and displaced however, a scratch on a platinum piece of jewelry is merely a displacement of the metal. The primary difference between gold and platinum jewelry in terms of the displacement of metal caused by a scratch is that with platinum the metal has merely been relocated whereas gold has a tendency to wear away and decrease in volume.
If visible scratches appear on platinum, it can be re-polished by a qualified jeweler without substantial loss to the piece. Perhaps this is why platinum has been used to fashion the jewelry for some of the world's most precious gems including the Koh-I-Nor Diamond which is part of the British Crown Jewels.
The Versatility of Platinum
In addition to its strength and durability, platinum is also extremely versatile. Platinum is so pliable that a single gram of platinum can be drawn into a fine wire that stretches out for more than a mile. That is almost 2 kilometers in length while retaining it's strength.
This quality has enabled jewelers the world over to produce exquisite detailed designs in platinum that could not be made in any other metal.
Platinum Jewelry Care and Cleaning
Platinum Product Knowledge
The Technical Basics of Platinum:
While a karat stamp indicates the gold content of a jewelry item, the platinum content appears in parts per thousand. In contrast, we measure gold in parts per hundred.
For example, it's common to see platinum stamps that read 500, 850, 900, 950 (parts per thousand). In contrast, the most common gold alloys are 10k, 14k, 18k, or 22k.
Note that if alloy content stamps appear on a jewelry item, the manufacturer must identify themselves using a Hallmark by U.S. Law.
A Hallmark is a mark that identifies the manufacturer. Their mark should appear alongside the alloy stamp. Consequently, hallmarks look similar to the old-fashioned brands that ranchers stamped on livestock.
Platinum Purity and Corresponding Marks
850, 900, 950+
PT, Platinum, Plat
950+ but EEC states 850, 900, 950+
50, 900, 950, 999, 1000
PT then purity level
Alloys Mixed with Platinum for Jewelry
Platinum - Copper
Pt - Cu
Medium hard for general purpose.
Platinum - Palladium
Pt - Pd
Easier to use for delicate settings.
Platinum - Cobalt
Pt - Co
For casting and wedding bands.
Platinum - Tungsten
Pt - W
Extra hard, for safety catches, pins, springs, watch backs, etc.
Platinum - Palladium
Pt - Pd - Cu
Copper for chain making and general purpose.
Platinum - Ruthenium
Pt - Ru
Casting, Machining, Fabrication.
Platinum - Iridium
Pt - Ir
Platinum is the perfect accompaniment for the sparkle factor of super ideal cut diamonds. Of course, we also recognize that you might prefer the look and feel of gold.
That's why most manufacturers try to offer platinum, rose gold, white gold, and yellow gold designs. Consequently, if you see an engagement ring in one metal and not another, it's worth asking whether it is available in other alloys.
Intricate designs and those that encompass hand etching may only be available in platinum because it lends itself better to being hand-engraved. Many filigree-style rings are only available in platinum for the same reason.