Called the “King of Metals” and the "Rolls Royce of Metals", platinum is a very heavy (nearly twice the weight of gold), silver-white metal that is very ductile. Although it is a soft metal, platinum is not easily scratched and is very strong, durable and dense. In fact, as the strongest precious metal used in jewelry, platinum also has a high melting point and good resistance to corrosion and chemical attack. Small amounts of iridium and ruthenium are commonly added to it, to give it a harder, stronger alloy that retains the advantages of pure platinum. The platinum family actually comprises six metals: platinum, palladium, iridium, osmium, rhodium and ruthenium. The six metals are generally found together in nature, with platinum and palladium being the most abundant, and the other four being more rare.
Platinum is also the only precious metal used in fine jewelry that is up to 95 percent pure. Platinum's subtle beauty and its tendency to not add color of its own, enhances a diamond's natural brilliance and fire, making it an excellent metal for diamond jewelry settings. Yellow gold settings, for example, can sometimes add a yellow tint to a colorless or near colorless diamond, making it appear to be a lower color grade. Because of its purity, platinum is actually hypoallergenic, a plus for people with sensitive skin or allergies to certain metals, like those found in gold jewelry.
The most appealing characteristic of platinum is its durability. Each time other metals are scratched or polished, a tiny bit of metal is lost. In fact eventually, prongs of white gold and yellow gold may wear down enough that you need to have them reinforced with more metal for safety. But not with platinum. A scratch in platinum may leave a mark on the metal, but this metal is so strong that it will not readily chip or splinter. While it is the strongest of jewelry metals, it can scratch and develop a patina of wear. Many people prefer this look, unique to platinum. But if you like the shine, a jeweler can polish your jewelry to bring back the original reflective finish. In the mean time, buffing with a soft cloth can give your jewelry renewed luster.
The Ancient Egyptians and South American Incas prized platinum. As a matter of fact, France's Louis XVI proclaimed it the only metal fit for royalty. Legendary jewelers such as Cartier, Faberge and Tiffany created their timeless designs in platinum. The world's famous diamonds, including the Hope and Koh-l-Noor, are secured permanently in platinum.
Today, platinum is much more valuable than gold. Although it is used in many industrial applications, including the automotive industry, platinum jewelry consistently commands higher prices than even pure gold because of its rarity. Also, no reserves of platinum are maintained, as in the case of the federal gold reserve in Fort Knox, KY. The annual worldwide production of platinum amounts to some 160 tons, compared to about 1,500 tons of gold. In fact, in order to produce just one ounce of platinum, about ten tons of ore must be mined.
When judging the value of platinum jewelry, always ensure that the material is indeed platinum by checking for the amount of platinum content on the back of the piece. Platinum content is usually marked as “950Pt”, “950 Plat”, or “Plat”. In the United States, in order to be marked “Platinum” or “Plat”, a piece of jewelry must contain at least 50% platinum. Ziamond uses 950 Platinum for all our Platinum jewelry.