|Now that we have been around the calendar and discussed all the birthstones, there are a lot of other related subjects to discuss. This month we will explore the precious metal Platinum and answer some of your questions.
Platinum; even its name sounds special. Platinum is a totally different metal than white gold with a different chemical makeup and density. It is more rare and difficult to mine and smelter. The amount of platinum produced in a year would fill an average living room, ceiling to floor and a six inch cube weights 165 pounds. It is used in a very pure form with only 5 to 10% alloy content and is naturally hypoallergenic. We have substantial deposits of platinum here in the United States, the largest in Montana. Because it is rare and so pure it makes the price on the average three times more expensive than gold.
Some of the uniqueness of platinum it is more durable in the long run but is easy to scratch and requires more time and attention to polish. Any alterations to a completed piece can be tricky. Conventional flame torch methods usually mean removing any stones in the mounting to prevent any damage to them since the metal must be heated to over 2000 degrees for sizing and repairs. Today laser welder technology has all but eliminated the need for use of a flame on platinum; unfortunately not all jewelers have this pricey piece of equipment. It is a time consuming and challenging metal to work with, this also makes platinum repairs more costly. Platinum has a brilliant white luster when new; with wear it can dull and have a more gray appearance.
Platinum was very popular for jewelry in the early 1900’s. The Duchess of Windsor was quoted saying “After 7p.m., all you can wear is Platinum.” During World War II platinum was declared a strategic metal and disallowed for use in non-military applications. It has only been released in the last ten or so years for civilian use. This has revitalized its popularity to be used in jewelry once again. Japan has developed a love for platinum jewelry and has become its largest consumer.
Once you know all the attributes of the metal you can make an intelligent decision about platinum and your particular needs when it comes to fine jewelry.
You have asked :
What other metal can I use to have the platinum look but less cost ?
White gold will cost less and be white but remember white gold is an alloy of yellow gold therefore it must be rhodium plated from time to time to insure the brilliant white color. Also the durability of platinum is much more substantial and it will take more wear with less maintenance. It is a matter of taste and what is most important to you, cost or durability?
I have a platinum ring that was my grandmothers and it needs work. I thought platinum never needed repair.
A lot of people think platinum will insure a lifetime of no maintenance. Because it is so durable and lasts for generations most feel it will perfect forever. Like all well used items in our lives, platinum needs occasional repair and reconditioning. A well trained and knowledgeable jeweler will keep your jewelry in top condition for years of enjoyment.