The richness of platinum jewelry stands out on its own, whether from an ornate pair of cuff links or a men’s wedding ring. It’s also a gorgeous metal since it lasts forever and doesn’t change color or fade.
Platinum by some has been referred to as the rich man’s gold, basically because it is more scarce.
Here are other reasons why:
2. It can only be mined in large quantities in two places in the world
The platinum spot price as of January 10, 2014 was $1,428 per ounce, an ounce of gold was $1,246.20 and the price was $20.18 per ounce of silver. Only the XIS (formerly known as the USSR) and South Africa hold the largest reserves of this especially precious metal. It is interesting to note that South Africa holds more reserves in platinum than all the Arab nations control in reserves in crude oil.
Record shortages in platinum as well as palladium have been continuing to rise recently. This has been due to stronger demand from car manufacturers as well as the South African platinum miners strike that began earlier this year.
Zimbabwe has an interest in becoming a contender for platinum mining as well. There are substantial reserves there also, but it make take awhile before any plans can be finalized to set up production. They are considering a proposal for the construction of a refinery along with one of their major producers, Impala. There has been some disagreement regarding this since industry insiders claim the amount of platinum produced in Zimbabwe does not justify the $2-3 million cost of building a refinery.
3. It costs more to make it into jewelry
Also platinum jewelry is more expensive due to the manufacturing process. Although platinum and gold are similar in price per gram, platinum is actually more dense so more of it has to be used in order to make a wedding ring. In addition platinum rings are usually made of 95% platinum while 14K gold is about 58.5% pure gold and 18K gold is about 75% actual gold. This is part of what drives the big difference in pricing.
4. The extraction process is lengthy
About 10 tons of ore must be mined to produce the “white gold” while often digging at least a mile underground at temperatures that exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Also this extraction process takes approximately six months to complete.
5. Platinum weighs almost a ton
Even though its weight doesn’t really contribute to its value, platinum is much heavier than gold. It’s about 11% more dense than gold and weighs a little more than 1330 pounds per cubic foot. That’s HALF A TON! That means a six inch cube of this metal weighs about as much than the average man.
6. It has more industrial uses
Relative to amount of platinum that get mined it has many more industrial uses than gold or silver. More than half of the annual production of platinum is for manufacturing of products like laboratory equipment, electrodes and electrical contacts, dentistry equipment and more.
7. None of it above ground
Unlike gold there are no above ground sources available to obtain platinum. That also means any problems concerning the ability to mine this metal from the two main reserves would cause a huge spike in price. This is currently an issue due to strikes by platinum mine workers in South Africa.
Platinum and gold are both very durable metals, but platinum is the stronger of the two. Prongs holding a center stone in an engagement ring with a setting in gold is more likely to break than one made with platinum.
Even though platinum is more durable, it also will scratch easier than a gold ring. The good news is that you can easily get your platinum or gold ring to look practically like new by having it polished.
Palladium is also a possible alternative to a gold or platinum ring. It’s naturally white in color and hypoallergenic like platinum, but closer in price to 14K gold. Also palladium is also lighter weight than platinum and doesn’t require plating for protection.
If you’re wondering whether to opt for a platinum or gold ring, go for platinum if your budget allows. Don’t worry, if gold is more affordable it’s also a very durable metal and makes a good choice for any type of jewelry. Remember that all rings require at least a minimum amount of care and upkeep. Purchase them from a dealer that offers a warranty as well as polishing and plating.