Platinum has a rich and noble history. It was first used by the ancient Egyptians about three thousand years ago. Eight hundred years later, the Incas worked with platinum. The first platinum jewelry in Europe appeared around the year 1780, at the court of Louis XVI of France.
Many of the world's most famous diamonds, including the Hope Diamond, are set in platinum. Carl Fabergé, the famed 19th-century Russian jeweler, prized working in platinum, as did Louis Cartier of Paris and many other great jewelers throughout history.
Platinum is among the finest, purest and rarest precious metals. It has an understated elegance that appeals to both men and women.
One of the strongest and most enduring of metals, it is also one of the heaviest. A piece of jewelry containing 90 percent pure platinum weighs 60 percent more than a 14-karat gold piece of similar size. Platinum is ideal for jewelry that's worn everyday because it shows little wear. It's also hypoallergenic and resists tarnish.
Platinum jewelry is pure. In the United States platinum jewelry generally contains anywhere from 85 to 95 percent pure platinum. By comparison, 18-karat gold is 75 percent pure gold and 14-karat gold is only 58 percent pure gold.
If a piece of platinum jewelry is marked "Platinum" then it contains at least 95 percent pure platinum. Jewelry with 85 to 95 percent pure platinum is marked "950 Plat." or "950 Pt.," "850 Plat." or "850 Pt.," etc. Both the two- and four-letter abbreviation for platinum is used.
Jewelry containing at least 50 percent pure platinum and at least 95 percent platinum group metals (platinum, palladium, iridium, osmium, rhodium and ruthenium) is marked with the platinum content followed by the content of the other metal. For example: "600 Plat. 350 Irid." or "600 Pt. 350 Ir."
Jewelry containing less than 50 percent pure platinum content cannot be marked with the word "platinum" or any abbreviation thereof.
A professional jeweler can explain these platinum markings to you and assist you in selecting platinum jewelry that will bring pleasure to you and the recipient for years to come.
Platinum is rare. To produce a single ounce of finished platinum, a total of 10 tons of ore must be mined. In comparison, only three tons of ore are required to produce one ounce of gold. This rarity gives platinum its cachet.
Platinum is lustrous. Platinum's rich, white luster complements diamonds and other precious gems while its neutral color enhances a stone's brilliance and depth.
Platinum is fashionable. Platinum jewelry appeals to many people today because of its subtle beauty and understated elegance. Many platinum jewelry designs are accented with 18-karat gold, creating a sophisticated, versatile and fashionable look.
Whether you choose a ring, pin, bracelet, earrings, necklace or bridal jewelry, you can find new and sophisticated platinum designs. Some are all platinum for a sophisticated look, but many feature 18-karat gold accents.
As platinum's pure white luster, strength and durability are recognized and admired, bridal couples worldwide are rediscovering platinum as the metal of choice for engagement, wedding and anniversary jewelry.
A diamond and its setting should last forever. Because platinum is superior to other metals in strength and durability, it offers a diamond the greatest protection. The breathtaking radiance of a diamond fused with the timeless elegance of platinum creates a rare and enduring symbol of love.
Common Questions about Platinum Jewelry
Why is platinum's purity important to me?
Platinum, one of the world's strongest metals, is hypoallergenic, tarnish-resistant, and extremely durable.
Is platinum the same as white gold?
No, it is quite different. During World War II, the U.S. government prohibited platinum use in non-military applications, including jewelry. Because of strong consumer preference for platinum's pure white luster, white gold was substituted in platinum's absence. To create white gold, yellow gold is alloyed with other metals to achieve a white look. However, platinum is white to begin with and maintains its white luster permanently. Its purity, strength, rarity, durability and naturally rich, white color make it the best choice.
How should I care and clean my platinum jewelry?
Platinum jewelry should be cleaned the same way you clean other fine jewelry. Use a good prepackaged jewelry cleaner available at your local jeweler or have it professionally cleaned by your local jeweler. As with all precious jewelry, handle with care, not allowing pieces to touch or scratch each other.
Will platinum scratch?
Signs of wear, including scratches, will inevitably appear in all precious metals, even in platinum. However, due to platinum's durability and strength there is usually little metal loss when the piece is scratched. If your platinum jewelry does develop visible scratches, you should have the piece repolished by a professional jeweler.
Is platinum fashionable?
Will it coordinate with my gold jewelry? Platinum's white color beautifully contrasts with yellow gold and adds versatility to your existing wardrobe.
Where to Buy Platinum Jewelry?
Platinum jewelry can be worn over a lifetime and passed on to future generations, so where you buy it is important. But how do you know where to buy?
The answer is simple: buy from a professional jeweler, someone you can trust. Choose a retailer who has been serving the community for a number of years and has an established reputation.
Ask if the jeweler is a member of Jewelers of America, the national association for retail jewelers. Or look for the "J" mark on the door. JA jewelers are knowledgeable and provide a wide selection of fine jewelry that will make selecting your platinum piece a pleasure. Your JA jeweler will not only help you with this purchase, but can help you with all your future jewelry needs. Your professional jeweler will not only help you with your purchases, but with repairs, custom design or simply answer all you questions about jewelry.