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All You Ever Wanted to Know about Platinum Alloys but were afraid to ask!

Platinum in all of our Wedding Bands is 95% Pure.

Platinum Group Metals

Six Platinum Group Metals (PGM’s): Platinum, Palladium, Ruthenium, Iridium, Rhodium, Osmium

PGM's are used in many different ways:

  • Rhodium is used in plating solutions.
  • Osmium is used in the manufacture of expensive pen points.
  • Palladium, iridium and ruthenium are commonly alloyed with platinum.
  • Combining alloying elements creates "purpose alloys" which can further enhance particular properties or functions; e.g. a combination of 3% cobalt and either 2 or 7% palladium may be used to combine good casting properties with a particular polishing ability and color.
  • In its pure state, platinum is quite soft, so it is necessary to alloy it, taking just 50 parts per thousand (5%) of an alloy metal to give platinum the hardness, the fluidity or the work characteristic to do just any task.

Some of the most common alloys for platinum are:

  • 950 platinum with 50 parts per thousand of ruthenium, creating a good alloy for the making of tubing, then sliced off and machined for machine-tooled, or die struck wedding rings. Pt/Ru has a Vickers hardness of 130. When it is cold hammered, or die struck, the hardness increases to 210. It melts at 1795 C – 1780 C and is widely used in the US, Europe, & Hong Kong. This is the preferred alloy according to the Platinum Guild and is the alloy that we use in our bands.
  • 950 platinum with 50 parts per thousand of cobalt, creating a good flowing alloy best suited for casting. Pt/Co has a Vickers hardness of 135, and can be hardened through cold hammering to 270, and it is slightly ferro magnetic. This has a melting range of 1770 C – 1680 C This alloy is still used in the US, Europe, & Hong Kong.
  • 950 platinum with 50 parts per thousand iridium. This system has a Vickers hardness of 80 and that can lead to castings that are quite soft. As a fabrication alloy, however 95/5 Pt/Ir can be made reasonably hard through cold-working. It is still used in Germany and Japan for safety catches and pins.
  • 900 platinum with 100 parts per thousand iridium-creating with its added hardness an American favorite for the hand fabrication of fine jewelry. This alloy has a melting range of 1800 C – 1780 C. This alloy has a Vickers hardness of 110.

Platinum Alloy Standard

In the United States of America, an item to be described as “platinum" it must be comprised of a fineness of no less than 95% platinum and 5% PGM’s. Above 95%, the item can be stamped “PLATINUM” or “PLAT”; whereas from 75-95% Platinum, the PGM’s also must be stamped; e.g. IRIDPLAT for 10% Iridium alloy. Only the USA allows “carat platinum” alloys. The most common alloys in America are 95% Platinum with 5% Ruthenium or 5% Cobalt and 90% Platinum with 10% Iridium.

General Platinum Info 

The world's most precious metal

For its beauty and value, platinum has always been the ultimate expression of celebrations of all kinds: from weddings and anniversaries to birthdays, holidays and other special occasions.

One of the rarest precious metals on earth, platinum is found in only a few locations in the world.

Platinum has a rich and noble history. It was first used by the ancient Egyptians about three thousand years ago. Eight hundred years later, the South American Incas worked with platinum. The first platinum fine jewelry in Europe appeared around the year 1780, at the court of Louis XVI of France.

It may surprise you that, although platinum has been around for centuries, it has only been used to fashion fine jewelry for less than two centuries. It is both an ancient and a young metal.

Platinum is among the finest, purest and rarest precious metals on earth, and has an understated elegance that appeals to both men and women.

Platinum is strong. Platinum, one of the strongest and most enduring metals in the world, is also one of the heaviest: it weighs 60% more than karat gold. It is ideal for fine jewelry worn every day because it exhibits little material loss, even after prolonged wear.

Platinum is pure. In the U.S., platinum fine jewelry generally contains 90% or 95% pure platinum. By comparison, 18 karat gold is 75% pure gold and 14 karat gold is 58% pure gold. Platinum is hypoallergenic and resists tarnish.

Platinum is rare. To produce a single ounce of platinum, a total of 10 tons of ore must be mined. In comparison, only three tons of ore are required to produce one ounce of gold. Rarity lends platinum its cachet.

Platinum is lustrous. Platinum's rich, white luster perfectly complements diamonds and other precious gems. Its neutral color enhances a stone's brilliance and depth.

Platinum is fashionable. Platinum fine jewelry appeals to many people today because of its subtle beauty and elegant understatement. Many platinum fine jewelry designs are accented with 18 karat gold, creating a sophisticated, versatile and fashionable look.

Platinum jewelry

Many fine jewelry designers and manufacturers feel that platinum is best suited for both diamond and colored stone fine jewelry because of its strength and durability. Platinum prongs show little wear, and thus offer precious stones greater protection.

Platinum is also one of the most enduring fine jewelry metals. That's why the world's most famous diamonds, like the Hope, Jonker Diamond Number One, and the Koh-i-Noor, are all secured by platinum settings. Faberge, the famed nineteenth century Russian jeweler, prized platinum, as did Louis Cartier of Paris and many of the great fine jewelers throughout history.

Choosing a stone is only part of the fine jewelry-buying process. Its setting is just as important, and platinum fine jewelry offers unusual strength and durability. Fine platinum jewelry endures. Classic design outlives the whims of fashion and retains its character forever.

Platinum & weddings... the perfect marriage

As platinum's pure white luster, strength and durability are recognized and admired, bridal couples worldwide are rediscovering platinum as the metal of choice for bridal jewelry.

A diamond and its setting should be forever. Because platinum is superior to other metals in strength and durability, it offers a diamond greater protection. The breathtaking radiance of a diamond fused with the timeless elegance of platinum creates a rare and enduring symbol of lifelong love.

Buying platinum jewelry

Whether you are choosing a ring, pin, bracelet, necklace or bridal jewelry, new and sophisticated designs have created a wide range of fine platinum jewelry. Many current platinum designs feature 18-karat gold accents. This combination of metals enhances the unique qualities of each.

In the U.S., fine platinum jewelry usually contains 90% or 95% pure platinum. If a piece of platinum jewelry is marked "iridplat," then it generally contains 90% platinum and 10% iridium, a platinum group metal. If it is marked "plat," then it is at least 95% platinum and another platinum group metal, most likely ruthenium.

Owning a piece of platinum fine jewelry is a distinct pleasure. You can feel and see the difference; platinum is heavier and denser than other metals and it has an elegant, rich white luster. Buying platinum fine jewelry is a wise investment. Platinum is one of the rarest, purest and most enduring metals available.

An experienced jeweler can assist you in selecting a fine piece of platinum jewelry that will bring pleasure to you and the recipient for years to come.

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