Platinum is a strong, dense metal, which allows it to be used in many different ways. Platinum is used in jewelry, laboratory equipment, electrical contacts, dentistry, and automobile emissions control devices. The word platinum comes from the Spanish word ‘Platina’, meaning ‘Little Silver’.
The annual worldwide production of platinum amounts to some 160 tons, compared to about 1,500 tons of gold. The mining and refining processes are both difficult and time-consuming. For example, in order to extract a single ounce of platinum, about 10 tons of ore need to be mined and to get the ore, the rock is crushed, made into slurry, and then mixed with a detergent containing ‘collector’ molecules. After that, air is blown through the mixture enabling the grains of metal minerals to be separated from the rest of the mixture. This process of refining takes a full five months.
Platinum purity is expressed differently than gold. Instead of expressing purity in ratios of 24 parts, platinum standards are expressed as units of a 1,000 parts. The most regular platinum purities seen are:
950 – 95% pure platinum
900 – 90% pure platinum
850 – 85% pure platinum
Platinum Vs Gold
Platinum is also a very dense and heavy metal, so a platinum ring will feel heavier than an 18kt gold ring. Platinum is, however, significantly more expensive than gold. With all other things being the same, a platinum ring will be approximately twice the price of an 18kt white gold ring.
Platinum is extremely long wearing and is very white, so it does not need to be rhodium plated like white gold does. Platinum is normally not used in the full range of jewelry products due to its higher price. Platinum is mainly used in ladies engagement rings, ladies wedding rings and men’s wedding rings.