Platinum is often the choice of metal for wedding and engagement rings and heirloom pieces on account of its rarity. And, it is rightly called the king of metals. It has an elegant and regal look. Also, it is the most expensive of all precious metals.
Identifying Platinum at a Glance
One who is unaware of the variety of precious metals used to make jewelry often believe it is easy to identify platinum as a glance. It is distinguishable from gold because of its silver white color and from silver first because of its sheen and second by its weight. However, there are other metals with a similar white pallor and hence are often confused as platinum. These metals include sterling silver, white gold and palladium.
So, then how is it possible to tell the difference between these metals? It needs a careful observation. The king of metals has a pure white color with bluish sheen while white gold is pure white but has a yellowish undertone. The former has a harder texture.
Weigh to Test
Weighing a piece of jewelry is a better and foolproof method to tell whether the metal is pure platinum or a cheaper, semi-precious metal. Platinum weighs more than most of its counterparts including gold; 65% more than gold.
The Heat Test
Platinum has a high melting point. Also, it is not easily oxidized at high temperature. If you want to test the authenticity of this metal, you can place it in a spoon and submit it to high temperatures. The spoon will change color but the ring or earring won’t.
The Iodine Test
The iodine test is another simple method to test the purity of platinum. Drop a drop of iodine on the ring you want to test and allow it to dry. If it is pure platinum, it will stay clear. However, if it is white gold or palladium it will take on a brown or black color.
The Purity of Platinum
Whether you’re at a jewelry store to buy a platinum engagement ring or a necklace, it’s the purity content of the metal that matters most, even before you get down to choosing a design and gemstone embellishment. There are many varieties of platinum based on the proportion of metals (cobalt, iridium and ruthenium) used in the alloy. Metals such as cobalt and ruthenium are added to make it hard and increase durability. A pure variety contains cheaper metals in very minute quantities. Hence, it is expensive, has a greater value and offers long-lasting wear. It also has a better sheen.
The purity of platinum jewelry is expressed as parts per thousand. The symbol is either Pt or Plat. Thus jewelry with a Pt950, 950Pt or 950 Plat marking is 95% pure. 85% and 95% is regarded high-quality. Jewelry with a lower purity percentage is no doubt cheaper, but it is dull in appearance, less durable and gets easily dented and scratched.