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hungphatusa-education-photo Platinum gets its name from the Latin word ‘platina’, which means ‘silver’. The gorgeous, natural white luster of platinum and its rare occurrence in nature has made it a metal more coveted than gold even.

History Of Platinum

Platinum was officially discovered in 1735 by Ulloa during an expedition in Peru. However, it has been known to be used by pre-Columbian Native Americans. In fact the Spaniards thought platinum to be an undesirable element in their quest for silver and more often than not, discarded it. The metal really gained popular acceptance only when it was used to make the frame of the Crown of Queen Elizabeth for her Coronation.

Attributes Of Platinum

Platinum is an extremely dense metal and much harder than gold. This makes it perfect for manufacturing jewelry since it does not have to be mixed with other metals to make it more durable. Additionally, since platinum is naturally white it does not wear away to a dull yellow color over time like white gold can. Platinum is also extremely resistant to wear and tear and does not rust or corrode. It scratches less easily than gold.

Since Platinum is far more rare than gold it is also far more costly. In fact, Platinum can cost you almost twice the cost of pure gold and even more than twice the cost of 14K gold. Of course, platinum is also more pure than 18K or 14K gold. Platinum contains 95% pure platinum while 18K gold contains only 75% pure gold and 14K gold contains only 58% pure gold.

Understanding Platinum Terms

Platinum jewelry can contain different quantities of platinum.

Jewelry that contains at least 950 parts per thousand of platinum is classified as pure platinum jewelry. It is marked as ‘Platinum’.

Jewelry that contains 950, 900 or 850 parts per thousand of platinum cannot be marked as ‘Platinum’. It is marked as ‘Pt’ or ‘Plat’ with the number to indicate its purity. Example: “850 Plat” or “900 Pt”.

One thing to beware of is that many jewelers mark jewelry that contains 950 parts per thousand of platinum and platinum group metals with a minimum of 500 parts of pure platinum. Platinum group metals include Platinum, Iridium, Palladium, Rhodium, Ruthenium and Osmium. The marking generally reads ‘Platinum’ with a further description of the exact mix of metals. This is however, not to be confused with pure 950+ Platinum.

Caring For Your Platinum Jewelry

    * Use a jewelry box to store your platinum jewelry. Ensure that the box is lined with velvet or has separate compartments for separate pieces. The pieces can bump into each other and scratch the surface.
    * If you are engaging in hardy physical activity take off your platinum jewelry.
    * Wash and clean platinum jewelry in mild soapy water using a soft brush.
    * If you own platinum and diamond jewelry, check the settings of your diamonds regularly. A loosened prong can result in the diamond falling off. You need to get this corrected immediately. However, since platinum is a hard metal it provides for a very secure setting for diamonds.

Thus, platinum is far more rare and precious than gold. However, while it is highly coveted the cost can be a hindrance to many buyers.