Platinum Facts

What is Platinum?

Platinum is a precious metal that is used in alloyed form to create jewellery – especially rings. Despite being more abundant than gold in the earth’s crust, almost 13 times as abundant, it sometimes costs more than gold because of the relatively higher cost of mining and extracting platinum from ore. Currently (late 2020) platinum costs less than gold. One tonne of ore must be processed to produce 1 gram of pure platinum. Just imagine, a 9 gram platinum wedding ring requires 10 tonnes of ore to be processed (allowing for platinum waste during ring production)! More on Platinum Mining & Production.

All the rings listed on are Platinum 950, meaning a platinum alloy which is Platinum Bars950 parts-per-thousand platinum. The other 50 parts-per-thousand can be comprised of other precious metals in the platinum family such as Iridium, Palladium and Rhodium, and other metals such as Copper, Cobalt, Gallium. In other words the alloy is 95% platinum by weight. The particular alloy used will depend on the method of manufacture eg Machining, Casting etc. There are also other alloys of platinum available.

950 Platinum is a popular alternative to 18k white gold and at the moment (late 2020) a platinum ring generally costs about the same as an 18k white gold ring. It has a greater heft, i.e. its specific gravity is higher – by about 30% – so you can feel the weight of a quality ring. For example an 10 gram 18k White Gold ring will weigh 13 grams if made in Platinum 950.

Platinum is durable and strong and due to these and other properties it is often used for very delicate and intricate jewellery. Being a noble metal it resists chemical reaction, will not corrode, and it is not easily attacked by acids. Platinum is the least reactive metal.

Polished platinum’s luster will change over time developing a softer yet richer look known as patina. Some people like this look and leave their ring as is, – others like to have their ring re-polished every few years. There is never a need to re-rhodium plate a platinum ring as you would an 18k and 9k white gold ring.

When Platinum 950 is polished it looks the almost identical to rhodium plated white gold and sterling silver.

Important Platinum Facts

  • Platinum is more abundant than gold in the earth’s crust
  • Various alloys of platinum are used in the jewellery industry
  • Platinum is the least reactive metal
  • Platinum is used in the automotive industry, jewellery industry, for industrial use and as an investment
  • The Platinum Group Metals are Platinum, Palladium, Rhodium, Ruthenium, Iridium and Osmium
  • Most platinum is produced in South Africa
  • On average, 25 tonnes of ore will produce one ounce of platinum
  • The name Platinum derives from the Spanish word “platina” meaning little silver

Platinum Technical Stuff

Atomic Symbol: Pt
Atomic Number: 78
Atomic Weight: 195.1
Melting Point: 1768.4 °C
Boiling Point: 3825 °C