Why Platinum?

If you ask me, “what is your favorite metal for your designs?” and “what is your least favorite metal to work with?” I will probably give you the same answer, platinum.

You may have already noticed if a white color metal is desired for the design, my personal preference is platinum over white gold.

18k white gold is an alloy of 24k gold and other metals. The composition is 75% pure gold with the remaining 25% a combination of other metals. These metals, some of which have a white tone, help to manipulate the rich, yellow color of 24k gold to white. 

The resulting color is a warm, creamy gold. That's why most 18K white gold is plated with rhodium, which has a luminous silver-white look. But over time the plating wears off; Eventually, the warm gold color will peek through. At this point, the jewelry will need replating to restore the white metal color.  

Platinum does not oxidize and has a stark white color without any hint of yellow. My designs in platinum have a crisp appearance with no need for plating. I love working with platinum 950, which is hallmarked as PT950.  This stands for 95% pure platinum with 5% alloy content. The metal I prefer to use as the remaining 5% is ruthenium, which improves hardness. Platinum is a ‘dead’ metal with little spring-back memory. This in conjunction with the metal’s hardness, makes it ideal for setting diamonds. Prongs made with platinum will last much longer than gold, especially for heavy-duty engagement rings. 

So with all of the pros, why would I say it is my least favorite metal to work with? Platinum requires a temperature of 1,790°C  to melt or weld for fabrication.

This is a much higher temperature needed than when working with gold. Another ‘annoyance’ is that platinum is easily contaminated during the working process. A clean environment is essential. To avoid gold dust or metal filings melting into platinum pieces, you must use platinum-only tools. I have dedicated tools that are different from those that I use to create gold jewelry.

Polishing platinum is also more complicated than polishing gold or silver. To achieve a pristine final finish, many steps must be carefully performed at the bench. Even though the work is challenging, the result is amazingly beautiful. When platinum is finished the right way, the luster is impeccable. Want to explore our platinum work? Click here. (Does this part seems repeat with the ending? May be i should take it off here?)

Fun facts about platinum: 

  • Platinum is much heavier than gold with a density of 21.45 g/cm3. Let’s translate that…a six-inch block of solid platinum weighs about 167 pounds! 
  • The first written reference to platinum was in 1557 by an Italian physician named Julius Scaliger.  He described a specimen from Central America as a metal that wouldn’t melt during the processing of gold. (Remember the much higher temperature needed to work with platinum…) 
  • During World War I and II, platinum was declared a strategic metal by the US government. It was used to create rifle and engine parts as well as explosives. Platinum was not allowed to be used in jewelry making during that period. 
  • Today, platinum is a key metal used in fine jewelry but is still essential for many uses beyond adornment. Its resistance to oxidation from bodily fluids means it is perfect for components in pacemakers, catheters, and dental crowns. 

    Even with the challenges that come with this amazing metal, it is my first choice for creating my signature designs. I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about this truly “Noble” metal.