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Guide to Platinum Jewelry

Platinum is a commonly found metal used in jewelry- along with silver and gold. Although it’s the most expensive of the precious metals due to its rarity, platinum is fantastic for everyday jewelry because of its strength and brilliance.

Learn more about this special metal type commonly used for engagement rings and wedding bands.



Why Choose Platinum Jewelry

Everything You Need to Know About Platinum Jewelry

1. Platinum is Pure

At most fine jewelers, platinum jewelry is pure platinum. Platinum’s purity makes it naturally hypoallergenic, which is ideal for people with sensitive skin or allergies.

What Makes a Piece Pure Platinum?

In order for a piece to be labeled as “pure platinum,” it must be 90 to 95% pure. Anything less than 90% would mean it’s mixed with another metal.

Pure platinum means you are getting more of the precious metal that you are paying for - as opposed to gold, which is generally 58.5 to 75% pure.

If the platinum is mixed (look for platinum alloy), the other 5 to 10% is commonly other precious metals still. This is why Platinum alloy rings are still hypoallergenic, and more expensive, than say gold rings, which are often alloyed with base metals such as nickel.

The Platinum jewelry’s purity also means it will always remain white, compared to gold that may tarnish over time.

How to Identify a Pure Platinum Ring

A platinum piece of jewelry will be stamped with some sort of marking on the inside of the ring or back of the pendant (for necklaces).

The stamp should have markings that denote the level of platinum used in the jewelry.

Common Platinum Jewelry Markings include:

  • Platinum
  • Plat
  • “Pt” followed by the level of purity- i. e. Pt900 or Pt950. 
    The number 900 denotes 90% pure platinum, and 950 denotes 95% pure platinum.
    There is no real difference in quality between 90% and 95% platinum.

2. Platinum is Rare

Platinum jewelry is 30 times more rare than gold.

Approximately 88 tons of platinum are made into jewelry each year, compared to 2,700 tons of gold.

To give perspective to this- if all of the platinum ever mined was melted and poured into an Olympic-sized pool, the platinum would barely reach your ankles.

Gold would fill three pools.

Platinum Rarity

Why is Platinum Jewelry So Rare?

Because of its non-corrosive nature and strength, platinum is in high demand in industries other than jewelry. Over 70% of the platinum mined goes to other industries, for items such as life-saving pacemakers, pollution-controlling catalytic converters, computers and flat screens.

It takes 10 tons of ore to produce just one ounce of platinum – making platinum a special, unique and valuable.

The good news is that because platinum is so rare, it will remain valuable and will hold its value over time.

3. Platinum is Eternal

Platinum’s weight and density make it one of the most durable precious metals available today. This means your platinum heirloom jewelry can be cherished for generations to come.

Like all precious metals, platinum may age with daily wear. Unlike most precious metals, platinum will not lose layers of metal or wear away. In fact, as the metal is worked by wear, the surface area actually gets harder.

Also unlike many precious metals, you will rarely need to re-shank or reinforce a platinum ring.

Does Platinum Tarnish?

Platinum does not tarnish.

Over time, your platinum jewelry may develop a rich finish, called a patina, but this is easy to remove through professionally ring cleaning or some DIY platinum cleaning methods such as a dish liquid + seltzer soak.

Does Platinum Scratch?

All precious metals scratch. It’s a natural part of everyday wear. However, one of the most unique qualities of platinum is that when scratched, the metal is merely displaced- i.e. very little of the metal is actually lost, it’s simply moved to the side.

Gold, on the other hand, loses slivers of metal with every scratch.

Platinum Stays White

Platinum is an authentically white precious metal that will stay white forever and never tarnish. Because it is a naturally white metal, platinum requires little maintenance to keep it’s beautiful white color.

Since it’s a white metal, platinum is perfect for any gemstone because it won’t reflect any color into the gemstone. It will simply enhance the brilliance of your diamonds and gemstones


4. Platinum is Strong

One of the densest of precious metals, platinum is 60% heavier than 14kt gold and 40% heavier than 18kt gold.

To give perspective, a six-inch cube of platinum weighs approx. 165 pounds.

Compared to other metals, platinum jewelry feels distinctly different when you hold it in your hand – meaning it doesn’t just look beautiful, it feels significant on your finger.


5. Platinum is Secure

The setting that holds the gemstone(s) and gives the ring its unique design is commonly either platinum or gold. The more durable the precious metal, the better protected and more securely held your gemstone will be.

Platinum’s strength, durability and corrosion resistance make it the most secure setting for diamonds and other precious gemstones.

A platinum prong offers better protection for diamonds than the more brittle gold prong, which may break when subjected to force.

When properly designed, even with the smallest, most delicate of prongs, platinum’s strength is unsurpassed in securing precious gemstones.


Platinum Engagement Rings

Engagement rings are subject to constant wear. These rings often sit higher than the wedding band and are therefore more will be exposed to stress, chemicals, bumps and bangs. Choosing an enduring metal that holds stones securely and protects your investment is important.

An engagement ring may be one of the most meaningful pieces of jewelry you can give the one you love, holding a valuable diamond. Platinum will hold the diamond most beautifully and securely, providing a long-lasting peace of mind.

The most expensive diamonds in the world, such as the Hope Diamond and the Taylor-Burton 60-Carat Diamond, are protected by platinum settings.


Why Choose Platinum for Wedding Bands?

Platinum is the most durable precious metal. This is vital for wedding bands that are often worn every day, enduring constant stress, chemicals and tough surfaces.

You and your partner will be wearing these bands for a long time. Even further, wedding bands may become an heirloom for future generations. Choose something that will endure over time.

Next time you’re at Cornell’s Jewelers, try holding two similar wedding bands in your hand, one platinum and one white gold. You’ll be able to feel the difference in terms of weight. This weight, due to platinum’s density, is part of what makes platinum extremely durable and perfectly suited for a lifetime of wear.


Metal comparison: Platinum vs. White Gold

Platinum vs. White Gold

Platinum and white gold are two very different metals.

Biggest Differences Between Platinum and White Gold

platinum is a naturally white metal, and is more dense and durable than white gold

Cost Comparison Between Platinum and White Gold

Platinum is more rare and more pure than white gold, and is therefore more expensive.

When comparing costs between platinum and white gold, keep in mind the following differences:

  • White gold requires more maintenance such as re-plating its rhodium plating to keep it white and reshanking or retipping the prongs.
  • When white gold scratches, it loses metal, while platinum does not
  • White gold may trigger allergic reactions as the pure gold wears away

Platinum may be a higher investment initially, but its enduring nature makes it the best value in the lifetime of your jewelry.


Find Platinum Jewelry at Cornell’s Jewelers

If you’re looking for a platinum wedding ring, engagement ring, or everyday jewelry, stop by Cornell’s Jewelry Store in Rochester, NY. Compare platinum, gold & white gold rings and get a free consultation on the metal type that may be best for you!

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