Platinum 101: Everything to know about Platinum Jewelry
Platinum is a natural, beautiful and brilliant, grayish-white colored precious metal. This is a special precious metal that is gaining popularity for use in jewelry. Due to its rarity as well as durability, it is often used in engagement, wedding, and anniversary rings.
Platinum that is labeled as ‘pure platinum’, must be at least 90 to 95% pure. This level of purity ensures that the metal shows endurance and luster, which allows it to always remain white without tarnishing over time.
Unlike gold and silver, platinum is hallmarked differently. It is stamped with a standardized platinum quality mark by its manufacturer, indicating the percentage of platinum contained (e.g., Pt 1000 denotes pure platinum).
Platinum is a unique and rare metal. It takes approximately 10 tons of ore to get 1 ounce of platinum. It is because of such rarity that platinum is so expensive, so commonly used in special occasion jewelry, and often seen as a status symbol.
It is so exclusive that approximately 90 tons of platinum are made into jewelry each year as compared to 2,700 tons of gold.
Durability & Strength
Besides being more expensive, platinum is also heavier than gold. Platinum is known to have exemplary strength. It is not only a strong and secure metal that is great to set expensive diamonds (especially engagement rings) but it also offers lasting durability. It is this durable property that shows platinum will last forever and makes it the ultimate symbol for true and everlasting love.
This super-strong metal lasts for generations and requires little retouching and repolishing at a jeweler. Platinum exhibits ‘scratch-resistant’ properties that prevent it from tarnishing, or losing luster over time.
Though strong, platinum when heated becomes very malleable and ductile, making it easy for jewelers to work with. The combination of strength and ductility makes thin platinum chains much more long-lasting than their sterling silver or gold counterparts. Platinum is also used in high-end watches, as a heavier and more luxurious replacement for traditional stainless steel cases and bracelets.
Does Platinum Scratch?
Yes. While platinum is a strong and durable metal, it does scratch over time. Platinum is fairly scratch-resistant, i.e., it doesn’t scratch easily but this does not mean it will never get scratches or dents.
With everyday wear, scratches, scuffs, and dents can begin to appear on your platinum ring over time. Since platinum jewelry has a sheen finish, the appearances of marks are more visible and noticeable at first, when the ring still looks brand new. Everyday wear results in gradual and natural patina over the ring surface. Though your ring may develop scratches and scuffs over time, the platinum metal on the ring is never lost, i.e., no metal loss.
In the event that your platinum jewelry begins to show signs of wear, you can easily get it polished. The process of polishing platinum to restore its sheen is simple and straightforward work for a polisher.
- Durable and Strong
- Scratch-Resistance and Shining, therefore requires fewer repolish touch-ups. It is also easy to polish when it becomes worn.
- Rare Precious Metal with a Status Symbol
- Beautiful Natural Grey-White Color gives the metal a lustrous sheen and makes the diamonds set in it look bigger
- Hypoallergenic Material - Platinum used in jewelry is typically 90 to 95% pure, with very little alloy metal that usually triggers skin allergies. Most platinum jewelry does not contain nickel.
- Dense metal that can feel quite heavy
- Expensive Precious Metal
- Higher making Charges for Platinum Jewelry
- Jewelers prefer to use Gold and Silver (as they can make a wider range and larger volume of jewelry pieces)
Platinum vs White Gold
White gold, which looks similar to platinum, is a less expensive alternative. White gold is made from the gold alloy plated with rhodium to give it a white luster. Since, the white gold alloy is plated with rhodium, as the rhodium plating wears off over time, the alloy starts to lose its luster. The original yellow tint of the gold begins to become vividly visible.
Platinum is naturally gray-white, and therefore, will not change its color over time. This is also why platinum retains its luster for longer and requires far fewer touch-ups. In fact, platinum’s naturally white sheen accentuates the sparkle and shine of the diamonds it holds.
Another interesting difference is that platinum is hypoallergenic, i.e., doesn’t create skin allergies. Whereas, white gold (or gold) can cause metal allergies due to the nickel content in its alloy.
Caring for Your Platinum Jewelry
Using a non-abrasive jewelry cleaner or a tender brush. Clean your jewelry in warm water by gently rubbing the cleaner on the piece.
We recommend getting your jewelry repolished from time to time, to remove the patina and regain its original shine.
Shopping Your Platinum Jewelry
- Shop from a reputed jeweler
- Always check for certification. For any precious metal, the price you pay is directly related to its purity. So while buying any precious metal, including Platinum, you should always ask the seller to show you the hallmark. If the hallmark is absent, ask for the reason. Some items may be too small to be hallmarked.
- Check the jeweler’s maintenance and aftercare options
- Remember that platinum jewelry is not an investment. The demand for platinum jewelry is far less than that of gold jewelry, and thus the platinum market is not yet mature enough to invest in.
- Keep in mind that the making charges for platinum jewelry are usually higher than that for gold. This is mainly because platinum is a hard metal that required a high melting point for detail carving and molding. Platinum jewelry not only requires advanced manufacturing machinery but also very skilled craftsmen.
Other Precious Metals
Gold is a naturally found element that portrays a distinct yellow color and exhibits some unique properties. Gold is strong, durable, and resistant to rust, tarnish, and corrosion. It is the most malleable of all precious metals and one of the most common/sought-after materials in jewelry. Gold jewelry can be yellow gold, white gold, or rose gold. It can be solid gold, gold-filled, or gold-plated. It is graded using “karats” for purity.
Gold is known for its luxury reputation, extraordinary heritage and as a value to store money (investment).
Silver is a shiny, grey-white metal that has been around for thousands of years. It is versatile, lustrous, and rare. Like gold, this naturally occurring precious metal is too soft in its pure state for use in jewelry. It must also be alloyed with other metals (typically copper) to prevent scratching and distortion. The purer the silver, the more easily it can get scratched.
Unlike gold, silver is not rated by karats, Rather it is graded using terms “fine” and “sterling” to refer to pure silver. The jewelry industry primarily uses sterling silver (e.g., 925 sterling Silver contains at least 92.5% silver)
Palladium is a silvery-white precious metal that is one of six metals classed as platinum-group metals (PGMs). Visually, palladium looks similar to platinum but is significantly lighter in weight. Since palladium is very slightly harder than platinum, it is a little more resistant to scratches.
Platinum has a slightly lighter color tone, making it a better choice of metal for rings that contain colored gemstones.
Palladium is also a slightly more affordable metal than platinum. However, palladium is about 15 times rarer than platinum and 30 times rarer than gold. It is not a common metal used in engagement rings or wedding bands and it may thus be hard to find.
Platinum is the most durable and lustrous of the fine metals. It is a subtle yet strong special material that gives jewelry exclusivity and elite status. However, it is also the most expensive and one of the rarest and heaviest metals used in jewelry. Because of its scarcity and price, it is not always the most preferred material in jewelry (though gaining popularity).
It is important to remember that no precious metal is better than the other, per se. Gold, silver, palladium, and platinum all offer their own unique advantages. It is important to know what you are looking for before choosing a precious metal for your jewelry. Shop Stefano Navi's selection of engagement rings in various metals