What is Platinum

Platinum is a rare, lustrous, and silvery-white metal that belongs to the platinum group elements (PGEs). It is one of the densest and most ductile metals known, with excellent resistance to corrosion, high melting and boiling points, and catalytic activity. Platinum has a rich history and diverse applications in various fields, including jewelry, industry, medicine, and technology.

As an element, platinum has the atomic number 78, symbol Pt, and a relative atomic mass of 195.08. It is a transition metal that belongs to group 10 of the periodic table, along with nickel and palladium. Platinum is a soft and malleable metal that can be easily shaped into thin wires or sheets without breaking. It is also a good conductor of electricity and heat, making it useful in electrical and thermal applications.

The majority of the world's platinum supply comes from South Africa. Platinum is found in the earth's crust and is typically mined from platinum ore. The process of refining platinum can be complex and involves the use of chemicals like aqua regia and hydrochloric acid.

History of Platinum

Platinum was first discovered in South America in the 16th century by Spanish conquistadors, but it was not until the 18th century that it was recognized as a distinct element. The name "platinum" comes from the Spanish word "platina," meaning "little silver," due to its resemblance to silver. Today, most of the world's platinum is produced in South Africa, Russia, and Zimbabwe.

Characteristics of Platinum

Platinum has an extremely high melting point of 1,768 degrees Celsius and boiling point of 3,825 degrees Celsius, which make it suitable for high-temperature applications. Additionally, platinum has a low reactivity with other elements, such as oxygen and hydrogen, which allows it to resist corrosion and tarnishing. These characteristics make platinum a popular choice for making jewelry, especially engagement rings and wedding bands.

Platinum has a density of 21.45 grams per cubic centimeter and a hardness of 4-4.5 on the Mohs scale, which measures the scratch resistance of minerals. Platinum is a good reflector of light, and it's color varies depending on its purity and the other metals it is alloyed with. For example, platinum alloyed with copper is pinkish, while platinum alloyed with cobalt is bluish.


Platinum is a naturally occurring metal with a distinct silvery-white color that sets it apart from other precious metals. Its color is often described as a cool, neutral tone, which makes it an appealing choice for those who prefer understated elegance in their jewelry. The natural luster and shine of platinum make it an ideal choice for showcasing gemstones, particularly diamonds, as it does not cast any color onto the stones. Additionally, the hue of platinum remains consistent over time, unlike other metals like white gold, which may require periodic re-plating to maintain its appearance.


One of the most notable characteristics of platinum is its remarkable durability. As a dense and strong metal, platinum is highly resistant to scratches, dents, and other forms of wear and tear. This makes it an excellent choice for jewelry that is worn daily, such as engagement rings and wedding bands. While no metal is completely immune to damage, platinum's ability to withstand the rigors of everyday life ensures that it maintains its beauty and structural integrity for generations. Furthermore, when platinum does get scratched, it loses very little metal, allowing it to retain its weight and value over time.

Weight of Platinum

The weight of platinum is another distinguishing feature that sets it apart from other precious metals. Platinum is significantly denser than gold or silver, giving it a substantial and luxurious feel when worn as jewelry. This increased weight can be especially appealing to those who appreciate the heft and solidity of a piece of fine jewelry. The density of platinum also contributes to its durability, as it is less prone to bending or warping compared to lighter metals. When choosing a piece of platinum jewelry, the added weight can be seen as a symbol of enduring quality and value.

The Facts on Platinum

    Purity of Platinum

  • In the United States, platinum jewelry generally contains 85-95% pure platinum, with the remaining percentage consisting of other alloys such as palladium, copper, iridium, or cobalt. By comparison, 14-karat gold is only 58.3% pure gold. Jewelry marked only “Platinum”, “Pt” or “Plat” contains at least 95% pure platinum.
  • Platinum Patina

  • Scratches to the surface of platinum can develop what's known as a "patina." A platinum patina is a satin sheen of tiny scratches and changes in the finish or texture that can develop over time. Many people enjoy this as a unique haracteristic of platinum, but if it's not your style, a simple polishing will help to regain platinum's luster.
  • Platinum is Rare

  • Known as “King of Metals”, Platinum is more than 30 times rarer than gold.

Platinum vs Gold

Platinum's silvery-white color and luster make it an attractive alternative to gold, particularly white gold, which was created to mimic the look of platinum. While platinum is more expensive than gold due to its rarity and durability, it requires less maintenance over the years, potentially making it a cost-effective option in the long run.

Is Platinum Better than Gold?

White gold is a popular alternative to platinum, but the two metals have some significant differences. White gold is an alloy made by mixing gold with other metals like nickel and palladium. Platinum, on the other hand, is a pure metal. Mens platinum wedding bands tend to be more expensive than white gold rings, but they are also more durable and require less maintenance in the long run.

Platinum Ring Benefits

The Benefits of Platinum What to Know about Platinum
Rarity and Beauty: Platinum is mined at a rate of 1/10 that of gold, making it a special and luxurious choice for wedding bands. Higher Cost: Platinum tends to be more expensive than non-Palladium White Gold by about 40-50% due to its rarity, higher density, and purity.
Durability: Platinum has true staying power as it never fades or tarnishes, and retains its shape over time. Heavier Weight: Platinum is heavier than other metals, which may cause discomfort for some people.
Resistance to Wear: Platinum is more dense than gold, making it resistant to wear and ideal for holding gemstones securely. Scratches: Platinum is slightly softer than white gold alloys, making it more prone to scratches.
Hypoallergenic: Platinum alloys are very pure and do not trigger skin allergies, as most platinum jewelry does not contain nickel. Resizing and Repair Costs: It can be costly to resize or repair a platinum ring due to its higher material cost and specialized expertise required.

Caring for a Platinum Ring

Although platinum is incredibly durable, it is still essential to care for your platinum ring properly. Avoid wearing it during manual work, sports, or when handling abrasive substances or strong acids. Store your platinum ring in a fabric-lined box away from other jewelry pieces to prevent scratches. If needed, have your platinum ring polished by a professional jeweler to restore its original shine.