Platinum is an extremely rare metal, even rarer than gold. Due to its rarity, it is also an expensive metal and it has only been found in a few locations worldwide – Russia’s Ural Mountains, South Africa’s Merensky Reef and a few small mines in the US and Canada.

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 in jewelry is actually an alloyed group of six heavy metals, including platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium and osmium. These other metals are so similar to platinum in weight and chemistry that most were not even distinguished from each other until early in the nineteenth century.

Platinum Purity

Platinum, with its beautiful white luster, is the purest of all the precious metals used for fine jewelry. This grayish white to silver gray metal is harder than gold and very durable with a hardness of 4-4.5 on the Mohs hardness scale, equivalent to the hardness of iron.

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 is often alloyed with copper and titanium. As compared to gold, platinum requires very little alloy to be combined with it in order to make platinum jewelry. It’s the only precious metal used in fine jewelry that is 90% to 95% pure, largely hypoallergenic, and tarnish-resistant. Platinum jewelry maintains its color, brilliance and weight even when scratched, while other metals may lose their luster or become blemished or discolored.

Platinum Vs Gold

Although platinum is quite a new metal as compared to gold but due to its unique properties, it is getting popular very rapidly. Despite its strength, platinum is a very flexible and workable material, making intricate designs and details far easier to achieve than with gold. Since platinum jewelry contains very little alloy, it is a good choice for those who are sensitive to metals or alloyed 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.