Written by: Sharon Wild
The earliest known use of platinum dates back to 7th Century BC, when it was used to craft caskets in Egypt. Its use for this purpose shows that even the earliest civilizations valued platinum as an important and precious metal. Today, platinum is one of the most demanded metals in the bridal market. It’s popularity is beginning to surpass white and yellow gold in engagement rings, and is growing increasingly favoured as the metal for both men’s and lady’s wedding bands.
But what is it about platinum that makes it so popular, and also so expensive?
Platinum is very popular because of its many advantages. Unlike white gold, which has to be rhodium plated to achieve its brilliant white shine, platinum is a naturally white metal that will never require re-plating. Platinum is also a little harder wearing than gold, making it less susceptible to, though not completely impervious to, the signs of everyday wear and tear.
There are three reasons why platinum jewelry is relatively expensive as compared to gold or white gold jewelry.
The metal platinum is a more expensive metal than gold as it’s a more rare metal and there are difficulties involved with mining it, which also adds to its price. Platinum is also used in a much higher concentrations in jewelry than the proportion of gold used in jewelry. The platinum alloy used in jewelry consists of 85% to 95% platinum, that’s 850 to 950 parts platinum for every thousand parts. Gold jewelry conversely generally uses a maximum of 75% or 750 parts gold per thousand parts for 18ct jewelry, or less gold for 14ct, 10ct or 9ct jewelry.
Whilst traditionally platinum was mixed with an alloy of gold, it is now combined with another member of the platinum family such as palladium or iridium which helps to retain its whiteness. Palladium is also more expensive than gold and it has a metal price more comparable with platinum than gold. This change in alloy mix has also contributed to raising the price of platinum.
Platinum is also a denser heavier metal than gold, making a ring design made in platinum heavier than the same ring design made in 18ct gold. As the metal price is calculated based on gram weight, this density or heaviness, also contributes to making platinum more expensive than 18ct gold.