Wednesday, April 15, 2015
More than Silver, More than Gold
We all know the color of gold, the look and the feel, seeing gold rings and chains immediately says value and beauty. Silver has it's place as well...the classic look of silver jewelry or antiques, the light-patina of aging. There's a reason why these are referred to as precious metals...but there is one metal that is overlooked with amazing properties and beauty all it's own. We're talking about platinum, the rarest and heaviest of all precious metals, and a metal that you really should get to know better.
Platinum is not only a rare precious metal, but on the periodic chart, it's classified as a transition metals, and shows up right before Gold. It's name comes from the Spanish word Platina (literally 'little silver') and it's dense, malleable (can be thinned), ductile (can be stretched), and a shiny gray-white in color. Pre-Columbian South American natives used platinum found in the alluvial sands of various rivers to produce artifacts of a white gold-platinum alloy, so even then they knew it's value.
So, There's Jewelry and...?
Platinum does not oxidize in air at any temperature, and it's resistance to tarnish makes it ideal for use in fine jewelry and many industrial uses. Nearly half of all Platinum produced (which isn't much, as you'll see later) is used in catalytic converters (these are devices which control harmful vehicle emissions). Platinum is also used in to make crucibles, special containers, as a catalyst, in dental crowns, as an anti-tumor agent and to make standard weights and measures. It is also combined with cobalt to produce very strong magnets.
Platinum anodes are used in cathodic protection systems for structures such as ocean-going vessels, pipelines and steel piers. As the element can handle high temperatures for long periods of time, it’s also used for coating missile nose cones, jet engine fuel nozzles and the like. Think about that if you're looking at Platinum jewelry...wearing a ring made from the same stuff as a missile's nose cone is pretty cool!
What Really Makes It So Special?
Most Platinum these days comes from South Africa and parts of Russia, but relatively speaking, it's not much. Annually, only about 133 tons of Platinum are mined, compared to about 1,782 tons of Gold. To put it another way, all of the Platinum ever mined would fit in the average size living room. Ten tons of ore and a five month process is needed to generate one ounce of Platinum Bullion, so you can see why Platinum is definitely a precious metal!
Platinum's beauty makes it worth it, though. Legendary jewelers such as Cartier, Faberge and Tiffany created their timeless designs in Platinum. In fact, nearly all of the world's famous diamonds, including the Hope, Jonker I and Koh-I-Noor, are secured by Platinum.
In addition to it's white-silver depth & beauty, Platinum is malleable yet still very rugged. As with all precious metals (Gold, Silver, etc.), Platinum can be scratched. However, with Platinum, there is actually no material lost from the scratch as there is with Gold. Don't you think it's about time to really get to know Platinum in person? Stop by either of our stores, in Gainesville or in Alachua, and check with us online to see what Platinum pieces we have to offer...and be sure to ask an associate about creating your own Platinum piece of jewelry! TBGoods can make it happen.