Platinum - The Precious White Metal

September 21, 2023

Platinum is one of the rarest and most precious metals on Earth. With its beautiful white luster, durability, and rarity, platinum has become a highly coveted metal, especially for fine jewelry. As the premier metal for engagement rings and wedding bands, platinum signifies enduring love and commitment. Let's explore the unique properties and appeal of this remarkable white metal.

What Makes Platinum So Precious?

Platinum is one of the rarest metals found on Earth. It has a brilliant white color and does not tarnish, making it ideal for fine jewelry. Here are some key facts about platinum that make it so precious:

  • Rarity: Platinum is extremely rare, occurring at lower concentrations than gold or silver in the Earth's crust. Annual global platinum production is only around 130 tons per year.
  • Density: Platinum has a density of 21.45 g/cm3, making it one of the densest precious metals. This density lends it great durability.
  • Purity: Platinum jewelry is typically 90-95% pure platinum. The remaining 5-10% consists of other platinum group metals like iridium and ruthenium added for hardness.
  • Hypoallergenic: Pure platinum is hypoallergenic as it does not tarnish or cause skin irritation. This makes it ideal for those with sensitive skin.
  • White luster: Platinum has a beautiful, brilliant white color that does not fade or change over time. Its luminous finish enhances the sparkle of diamonds and gemstones.

Platinum's rarity, purity, density, and white luster make it a highly coveted precious metal, reflected in its price. Platinum costs more per ounce than gold.

Platinum Jewelry

Platinum's qualities like durability, strength, and tarnish-resistance make it the premier metal for fine jewelry. Here are some of the uses of platinum in jewelry:

Engagement Rings and Wedding Bands

Platinum is the most popular metal used for engagement rings and wedding bands today. Its white color symbolizes purity while its strength signifies enduring commitment. According to the Platinum Guild International, about 80% of engagement rings and wedding bands sold in the US are made of platinum.

Platinum makes the ideal setting for diamonds. Its hardness and density securely hold diamonds and its bright white color enhances their brilliance and fire. As an enduring metal, platinum engagement rings and bands reflect everlasting love.

Jewelry Settings

Platinum is commonly used for settings that hold precious gemstones and diamonds in rings, pendants, earrings and bracelets. Its densities make platinum ideal for securing prongs and bezels. As a noble, non-corroding metal, platinum provides a secure and protective setting for jewelry stones.

Platinum Alloys

While pure platinum jewelry exists, most platinum jewelry consists of platinum alloys. Platinum is alloyed with other platinum group metals like iridium, palladium, ruthenium, rhodium, and osmium to increase its durability, hardness, and workability. Common platinum alloys include 95% platinum with 5% ruthenium or iridium added.

Platinum Care

Platinum jewelry requires minimal maintenance. It does not tarnish and retains its luminous white finish for decades. Gentle cleaning with mild soap and warm water is all that is required to restore its shine.

Ultrasonic and steam cleaners are also safe for platinum jewelry. As platinum is highly resistant to chemicals and corrosion, harsh chemical cleaners are unnecessary.

The Platinum Advantage

Here are some of the key advantages that make platinum a first choice for fine jewelry:


Platinum is a tough, durable precious metal. In jewelry use, platinum can withstand hard knocks and scratches while retaining its shape. The density of platinum makes it resistant to warping and deformation as well. Platinum jewelry keeps its structural integrity and does not bend or crack easily.


Platinum is both malleable and ductile while also being extremely strong. Its tensile strength is over 150 MPa (MegaPascals). This allows platinum to be worked into intricate jewelry designs while retaining strength as settings for stones. Platinum makes very secure prongs and bezels for diamonds.


The white, reflective surface of platinum enhances the brilliance and "fire" of diamonds and colored gemstones remarkably. Platinum creates the perfect backdrop to maximize the light performance and sparkle of jewelry stones.


Platinum retains its white luster and does not tarnish due to oxidation or corrosion. This allows platinum jewelry to keep its brilliant finish for decades without needing re-plating or rhodium dipping.


Pure platinum is hypoallergenic as it does not cause skin discoloration or irritation. This makes platinum jewelry ideal for those with sensitive skin.


Platinum is one of the rarest metals in the world, with annual production around 130 tons. Its rarity adds to its cachet and intrinsic value as a precious metal.

History of Platinum Jewelry

Platinum has a relatively short but fascinating history as a coveted jewelry metal:

  • Discovered: Platinum was first discovered in 1557 in Ecuador by Spanish conquistadors. Due to its silvery-white appearance, they called it "platina" meaning "little silver".
  • New metal: Platinum was considered an impurity and nuisance metal until the 18th century. French and Spanish chemists found they could not melt it, adding to its mystique.
  • First use: King Louis XVI of France declared platinum the only metal fit for royalty in 1788. Platinum jewelry first became fashionable among European nobility.
  • Tiffany & Co: In the late 19th century, Tiffany & Co pioneered platinum jewelry in the US, supplying it to elite clientele like Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan.
  • 20th century popularity: Platinum engagement rings soared in popularity in the 20th century. The De Beers company marketed platinum as the ideal stone setting. By the 1930s, platinum became the preferred diamond ring metal.
  • Today: Platinum reigns supreme as the premier jewelry metal today, especially for bridal sets, high-end designer jewelry and exclusive watches. Modern platinum jewelry typically consists of 90-95% pure platinum.

Platinum Engagement Rings and Wedding Bands

Platinum engagement rings and wedding bands are the most popular choices for couples today. Here are some of their key advantages as symbols of everlasting commitment:

Unchanging White Color

Platinum retains its luminous white color and does not need re-plating. This makes it the ideal metal to represent purity and fidelity in marriage. Its color does not tarnish or fade over decades of wear.

Strength and Durability

Platinum wedding rings are both strong and durable, capable of withstanding the wear and tear of daily life. Like enduring relationships, platinum grows more beautiful over time. Some couples even have platinum rings passed down through generations.

Secure Diamond Setting

Platinum's density and hardness make it the most secure precious metal for holding diamonds. Diamond rings set in platinum are less likely to loosen or incur damage to prongs.

Enhanced Brilliance

Platinum maximizes the brilliance and fire of diamonds because of its reflective white surface. Diamond rings shine and sparkle beautifully against platinum's luminous metal backdrop.

Finest Quality

Platinum wedding rings represent quality and exclusivity. Platinum is synonymous with luxury, perfection, and prestige. It makes the ultimate ring for expressing one's commitment.


Although extremely durable, platinum is also highly workable. Jewelers can craft platinum into intricately designed rings with delicate motifs, engraving, and stone settings.


The rarity of platinum adds to its value. Knowing one's wedding ring is made of a precious metal that occurs scarcely on Earth makes it more special.

For all these reasons, platinum reigns as the preferred choice for engagement rings and wedding bands today.

Platinum Fashion Jewelry

While best known for elegant bridal jewelry, platinum is also increasingly used for designer fashion jewelry. Here are some examples:

Platinum Necklaces

Platinum neck chains and pendants have a luxurious, understated look. The platinum metal has a subtle luster that does not compete with the necklace stones. White diamonds and other light-colored gems look beautiful when set in platinum pendants, necklaces, and lockets.

Platinum Earrings

For earrings, platinum offers the bright white foundation needed to make translucent diamond studs shine. Platinum also makes secure wire settings for dangling diamond or gemstone accents in stylish platinum earrings.

Platinum Bracelets

Platinum bracelets exude modern elegance. Platinum maintains its silvery finish and withstands knocks and scratches that can damage gold bangles. Tennis bracelets set with round diamonds are a popular platinum style.

Platinum Rings

Fashion rings made of platinum are perfect for women who love a contemporary, monochromatic look. Platinum rings set with emeralds, sapphires, or rubies complement nail polish and formal wear. Stackable platinum bands are also hot fashion trends.

From everyday fashion to red carpet elegance, platinum jewelry adds sophistication and luxury. The luminous white metal allows the jewelry stones to take the spotlight.

Platinum Jewelry Care

Caring for platinum jewelry is simple. Here are some tips:

  • Clean platinum routinely with a soft toothbrush and warm, soapy water to restore its shine.
  • Ultrasonic cleaners are safe for cleaning platinum jewelry when needed.
  • Steam cleaners and ammonia-based cleaning solutions can also be used safely as platinum does not oxidize.
  • Take care not to scratch platinum. It can develop very fine scratches over time.
  • Store platinum pieces separately in soft cloth pouches to avoid scratches.
  • Avoid exposing platinum to chemicals like bleach, hydrogen peroxide, or chlorine which can cause changes to its surface.
  • Resizing or repairing platinum rings should be done by jewelers experienced with the specialized techniques needed for this precious, durable metal.

With occasional cleaning, platinum jewelry will retain its like-new shine and luster for generations. This makes it a wonderful heirloom metal.

Unique Platinum Jewelry Pieces

Platinum allows for some dazzling, one-of-a-kind jewelry creations. Here are some examples of spectacular platinum jewelry pieces:

Cullinan Diamonds

Some famous diamonds like the Cullinan I and Cullinan II are featured in exquisite platinum jewelry settings. The Cullinan I is a 530-carat diamond set in the British Sovereign's Royal Scepter while the 317-carat Cullinan II diamond is set in the Imperial State Crown's platinum mount.

Elizabeth Taylor's Jewelry

Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor owned phenomenal platinum jewelry like the 33-carat Krupp diamond and the 69-carat pear-shaped Taylor-Burton diamond, both set in platinum. Her collections auctioned for record prices.

Platinum Chains

Heavy platinum chains are a men's jewelry trend. Platinum's density allows for chunky curb and Figaro chains, flat platinum necklace ropes, and bold platinum bracelets that make masculine fashion statements.

Platinum Watches

Prestigious platinum watches embedded with diamonds and gems are the ultimate luxury timepieces. Brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet craft bespoke platinum watches that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

While available for all budgets, platinum is most renowned for one-of-a-kind, haute couture jewelry pieces of incomparable beauty, value, and workmanship.

The Future of Platinum Jewelry

What does the future look like for platinum jewelry? Here are some predictions:

Sustained Popularity

Platinum jewelry shows no signs of declining popularity, especially for bridal sets. If anything, demand for platinum engagement rings and bands has increased as platinum became the dominant metal. That trend should continue.

Rising Value

As platinum reserves get more difficult to mine, platinum prices will likely keep rising, increasing the intrinsic value of platinum jewelry. Items like platinum engagement rings may be seen as investments.

Eco-Friendly Status

Consumers concerned about sustainability will value platinum's green credentials and mines with ethical, eco-friendly practices. This will further boost platinum's prestige.


Jewelers will keep innovating with platinum, coming up with new ultra-strong but featherweight platinum alloys, cutting-edge settings, and radical contemporary designs.

Men's Platinum Jewelry

Men's platinum jewelry like chains, bands, watches, and accessories will grow as male shoppers look for alternative metals to gold. Platinum has an understated masculine appeal.

Global Demand

As the middle classes modernize in populous regions like China and India, demand for platinum bridal jewelry could skyrocket. Those markets remain largely untapped.

Thanks to its unchanging qualities and aura of exclusivity, platinum jewelry will continue shining brightly for decades to come.

Platinum Jewelry Shopping Guide

For buyers looking to invest in platinum jewelry, here are some tips:

  • Quality: Seek reputable brands and established jewelers with expertise in fine platinum jewelry. Platinum work requires great skill.
  • Purity: Look for platinum jewelry with a purity stamp of 90%, 95% or even 99% platinum. Higher purity means more value.
  • Design: Platinum can be worked into incredible designs. Find a piece that matches your personal style.
  • Diamonds: If buying a platinum diamond ring, examine the quality of diamonds closely. Platinum shows off flaws.
  • Comfort: Try on platinum rings and bracelets to ensure the sizing is right and the piece feels comfortable. Platinum has heft.
  • Price: Being rare, platinum costs more than gold. Expect to pay a premium but remember you are buying enduring value.
  • Certificates: Request any certificates and appraisals that come with high-end platinum jewelry pieces. This verifies authenticity.
  • Insurance: Insure valuable platinum jewelry appropriately. Platinum engagement rings should be insured for replacement cost.

By following these tips, you can be confident you are investing in a genuine platinum jewelry piece that will become a family treasure.

Why Platinum Jewelry Makes the Perfect Gift

Platinum jewelry items also make wonderful, meaningful gifts. Here's why:

  • Luxurious - Platinum jewelry conveys luxury, wealth, and only the finest things. It makes a lavish gift.
  • Timeless - Platinum gifts like pendants or rings will be valued forever and never go out of style.
  • Wearable - Jewelry gifts are very personal. Platinum jewelry gets worn daily and appreciated.
  • Sentimental - Platinum's durability associates it with lasting memories and relationships.
  • Milestones - Platinum jewelry makes the ideal gift for major milestones like weddings and anniversaries.
  • Heirlooms - Platinum heirlooms, especially rings, can be passed down for generations, telling a story.
  • Appreciates - Platinum jewelry may appreciate in value over time rather than depreciate.
  • Utilitarian - Surprise loved ones with platinum jewelry gifts they can use and wear every day.
  • Status - Nothing conveys one's taste and status like a gift of platinum jewelry.

So for the most special occasions like proposals, weddings and anniversaries, consider platinum jewelry gifts. Your loved ones will cherish these precious items forever.

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