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While gold has long been the most popular metal for jewelry, other options certainly exist, particularly silver and platinum. In recent years, platinum has gained momentum as the jewelry metal of choice among some customers. That sentiment is echoed by some jewelry makers, too, as platinum possesses a host of properties that make it ideal for jewelry.
Platinum as a Precious Metal
One of the reasons why platinum has become a popular choice for jewelry is the same reason why gold and silver are popular choices: rarity. In fact, as rare as gold is, platinum is 30 times more rare! For those buyers who are looking to dazzle and impress, this rarity is certainly reflected in pricing, with platinum jewelry being noticeably more expensive than gold jewelry.
Why Jewelry Makers Love Platinum
One of the properties of gold and silver that make them difficult to work with is that they are very soft. In the majority of instances, gold and silver have to be mixed with other metallic elements such as nickel and/or copper to add strength to the jewelry. This strength not only helps provide ample resistance during the jewelry-making process, but it also results in a final product that is more resistant to scratches and other damage.
Platinum is not as soft as gold or silver. This means that it does not need to be mixed with other metals to remain sturdy enough for shaping into jewelry. The ensuing jewelry is heavier and more resistant to nicks or tarnish. And since the final product is not mixed with a “more plentiful” metal, the finished product has a higher overall value.
Why Buyers Love Platinum
In some cases, platinum may be mixed with an alloy metal, but to be considered platinum, the alloy metal cannot comprise more than 10% of the overall mix. When you see platinum jewelry stamped 900 Plat or 950 Plat, this denotes platinum that is 90 percent pure and 95 percent pure respectively.
Over time, everyday wear leads white gold to require another rhodium dip to restore the white color. With platinum, however, everyday wear leads to a lovely and desirable patina that is often sought by collectors. Standard maintenance is also minimal, consisting of a simple soak in a mild solution of soap and water and rubbing with a soft-bristle brush, such as a tooth brush.