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Platinum Rings: the King’s Heavy Metal

Italian humanist Julius Caesar Scaliger described platinum in 1557 as an unknown noble metal found between Darién and Mexico, “which no fire nor any Spanish artifice has yet been able to liquefy”. King Louis XV of France declared platinum the only metal fit for a king in the 18th century. Today, platinum is still considered the most exclusive of all precious metals.

December 2008: platinum traded at nearly the same price as gold, as the rare metal plummeted to $823 per ounce, with gold closing at $822 per ounce on the same day.

While it is the perfect time to pick up that platinum diamond wedding ring for your bride-to-be, there are several reasons why it is unimaginable that platinum jewelry prices will ever breach gold’s vastly affordable price:

  • Platinum is a pure metal, with platinum jewelry usually being crafted in 950 grade platinum (95% pure platinum, 5% precious alloys, such as iridium, ruthenium, or palladium). Gold is usually made of 14k or 18k gold (58.3% or 75% pure). When considering precious metals’ prices, metal prices are determined at 100% purity (pure platinum and 24k gold).
  • Platinum jewelry is approx. 60% denser than 14k gold. Since weight plays a determinant role in pricing fine jewelry, platinum remains more expensive than gold.
  • Since platinum is 30 times rarer than gold and is found in only a few parts of the world, mostly South Africa, with a smaller portion in Russia and Canada, transporting platinum is more costly than gold.
  • Platinum mining is a difficult and time-consuming process. Ten tons of ore (rock containing gemstones and precious minerals) must be mined to produce 1 ounce of platinum.
Solid Platinum Cross Pendant from Apples of Gold Jewelry

With platinum prices down 65% since March, Apples of Gold Jewelry has lowered prices on all of its platinum wedding bands and added new designer platinum jewelry to its extensive line-up, such a new version of its best selling men’s solid gold cross in platinum.  Apples of Gold expects to add more platinum jewelry to its collection in 2009 and 2010; especially since platinum is–for now–exhibiting signs that it will adhere to Apples of Gold’s value-based jewelry pricing methodology.

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