We received a request this month asking about platinum is, so we’re taking this opportunity to explain about this fascinating metal.
Platinum is the densest and heaviest of all white metals used in jewellery manufacture. It is the scarcest metal mined in the world, is difficult to extract, and there are only two locations that have mines that hold ‘industrial amounts’ – South Africa and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), in particular Russia. Read more about the history and technicalities of platinum.
For us at PIKE, platinum offers some very unique challenges. It is the purest of the precious metals we use to hand make jewellery, and is the most labour intensive. It has an extremely high melting point, and as Matthew explains:
“There are specific processes that have to be followed when hand making jewellery with platinum. It’s very labour intensive, very unforgiving and you can’t take any shortcuts if you want to finish with a perfect piece of jewellery, which is what we aim for at PIKE.”
Some of the benefits include the strength of platinum – it has been historically used to make the settings for very delicate diamond rings and jewellery because of the strength it offers in fine designs. Because of its purity, it is also non-allergenic making it a good choice for people with sensitive skin. It resists wear and tear more than white gold and silver – what is interesting is that when a platinum ring is scratched, the metal is not removed from the ring but instead displaces. One of the downsides for some customers is the natural grey colour – platinum is not rhodium plated like 18ct white gold, and so retains its soft grey colour.
The cost of having a piece of jewellery made in platinum is significantly more because of the following reasons:
- It’s the most expensive metal for us to buy – the price per gram of platinum is nearly twice that of white gold.
- It’s virtually impossible to re-melt platinum and to re-use it to produce jewellery of high quality, so the wastage is high.
- The time spent manufacturing a platinum piece is significantly longer than when using white gold.
If you have any more questions about platinum or would like to see some of Nicholas’ platinum designs, email us at email@example.com or pop in and see us at the studio workshop.
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