As a pure metal, platinum is silvery-white in appearance, lustrous, ductile, malleable and its resistance to tarnishing make it ideal in fine jewellery manufacturer. It is 30 times rarer than gold which is why it is more expensive.
Brief Jewellery History
Platinum has been found in use as early as 700 hundred BC in Egypt as decoration for caskets and 2000 years ago by South American Indians who made simple jewellery from nuggets. However, in more ‘modern’ times, European court jewellers of the 18th century began using it to fashion fine jewellery for royalty and its use was developed further in the Edwardian and Art Nouveau periods (Cartier and Tiffany). Its use became more popular, particularly in America thanks to rich industrialists, however, with the advent of World War II, platinum’s use became strictly controlled for its many other uses and its use in jewellery declined. It didn’t become popular again until the 1960’s, its use mainly in Japan, where it still dominates the Japanese jewellery market. By the 1970’s and during the 1980’s its use spread to Europe, in particular, Germany and Italy, both renowned for setting trends for the rest of the world. It didn’t really become popular in the UK until the 1990’s where its use in fine quality bridal jewellery continues to grow, a trend mirroring that of the USA and China.
Platinum jewellery is rarely manufactured from 100 percent platinum because the pure metal is too soft to withstand the rigours of daily wear. Most jewellery is typically produced using platinum of 85 to 95 percent purity, alloyed with small amounts of other metals to increase its hardness. The platinum purity or “fineness” is nearly always measured in parts per thousand (ppt). A hallmark showing “Pt950” certifies that the metal is composed of 950 ppt (or 95%) platinum and 50 ppt (or 5%) other metals.
Why Choose Platinum?
There are various reasons why you may choose platinum over gold when considering fine jewellery pieces. Namely:
- Physically, platinum boasts strength, durability, corrosion resistance and because of its purity, it’s hypoallergenic.
- Aesthetically, platinum is a naturally white metal with a rich distinctive colour, the perfect host to showcase diamonds.
- Although not as reflective (shiny) as silver or white gold it will not fade or discolour unlike white gold, which must be periodically Rhodium plated if it’s to maintain its brilliant white colour.
It represents excellent value for money, the price is higher than similar items in gold, but given the qualities that platinum possesses, extremely hard wearing, pure, rare, valuable and classic, it is worth paying that little bit extra if your budget will stretch.