Millions of weddings take place all over the world, which implies that millions of engagement rings and wedding rings are sold! Gold may be the most popular choice yet, the recent years have witnessed an alarming growth in the silvery-white metal-Platinum. A spectacular metal, platinum is 30 times more rare than gold, significantly harder and much difficult to work with. Given the uniqueness and the superior quality of the metal, highly experienced and specialized jewelers are required to work on it and create timeless designs. More and more women are favoring platinum over gold these days and even though the former is more expensive than the latter, they are even ready to personally pay more to have a platinum. Needless to say, they are the most coveted metals for engagement rings and wedding bands.
Features of Platinum:
The term platinum comes from the Spanish word ‘platina’ which means ‘little silver’. The word ‘platina’ also throws much light on the fact that the metal was discovered in the early 18th century in Latin America. Platinum’s true colour is a shiny, silvery-white and unlike the white gold, it does not require any rhodium plating to make it appear whiter. In fact, platinum will always stay white and one need not have to re-polish or re-plate it occasionally. Platinum belongs to the group 10 of the periodic table of the elements. It is basically a data that displays the relation of chemical elements with one another. It also belongs to the group of metals-platinum (named after itself) with other platinum metals being rhodium, ruthenium, osmium, palladium and indium.
It is a ductile and malleable metal with the third highest density. It is said to be more ductile of the pure metals like silver, copper and gold. Though air and water has no major effect on platinum, it definitely does dissolve in hot aqua regia, in molten alkali and in hot phosphoric and sulphuric acid concentration. It shares its resistance capacity with gold, being as resistance to corrosion and tarnishing. Platinum is classed under precious metal- taking into account the fact that they are rare and desirable.
Discovery and History of Platinum:
Platinum traces were apparent in the gold found as early as the 1200 BC in the ancient Egyptian tombs and hieroglyphics. The 7th century BC Egyptian casket, dedicated to Queen Shapenapit, was decorated with specimen of platinum. How much they knew about the metal still remains a matter of doubt. It may even happen that they were not even aware that their gold contains traces of platinum. The pre-Columbian Americans near present day Esmeraldas, Ecuador also used platinum in artifacts.
The writings of the Italian physician, poet and scholar Caesar Scaliger (1484-1558) on platinum is considered to be the first reference to the metal in history. It was during his visit to Central America in the year 1557 that Scaliger came across the metal platinum. As per his description, platinum was found between Darien and Mexico and was considered a noble metal, “which no fire nor any Spanish artifice has yet been able to liquefy”. The Spanish deemed the metal useless and treated it as a kind of impurity in gold. As a result, it was often simply thrown away.
A comprehensive detail about platinum was given by Don Antonio de Ulloa (1716-95), Spanish military leader who collected platinum samples during his visit to South America. He even stated the possibility of discovering platinum mines. Owing to his detailed report on the metal, he is often credited for discovering platinum. Soon news of the new metal spread all through Europe. Platinum’s physical properties fascinated the scientists and its beauty amazed the common people. Within a short span of time, demand for the metal increased and led to what was popularly referred to as the ‘Platinum Age in Spain.”
Platinum is found in the company of other metals. Separating it from the other metals is a major problem. In nature, they do not occur in large quantity, but rather as byproducts of other metals like nickel and copper. Its total quantity is estimated to be around 0.01 parts per million under the Earth’s crust. South Africa is said to be the largest supplier of platinum in the world followed by Russia, Canada and United States.
Today, an immensely diverse variety of platinum jewelry is made along the length and breadth of the world. While they are a favorite of every jeweler, you will also find yourself falling in love with platinum every time you come across it.