World gold production is ten times larger (in tonnes) than platinum production each year. Platinum is therefore a very rare metal, which partly explains the relative price difference between these two precious metals. Gold and platinum are the most commonly used components in the manufacture of jewellery, as some of their properties such as brilliance, strength, durability and purity make them ideal materials for jewellery. Yet platinum jewellery is more expensive than jewellery made with other types of precious metals. We tell you why.
WHAT IS PLATINUM?
Grey-white in color, flexible and dense, platinum is a precious metal that represents balance, stability because of its immutability. In the collective imagination, platinum symbolizes 70 years of marriage. Pre-Columbian civilizations were already using platinum in metallurgy before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors. The Spanish conquistadors neglected the enormous potential of this metal and it was centuries later, in the 18th century, that Europeans finally took a real interest in platinum and used it in jewellery. South Africa and Russia are the two largest producers of platinum in the world, but South Africa alone holds nearly 80% of the world’s platinum deposits.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF PLATINUM?
As a safe haven like gold, silver, diamonds, etc., the many properties of platinum, to name but a few, its strength, its inalterability, and the fact that it is stainless, make it an essential ally of modern industry. It is used in the arms industry, the petrochemical industry, the automobile industry and the chemical industry. For the automotive industry in particular, platinum is an essential component in the manufacture of catalytic converters. In jewellery, goldsmiths use 95% pure platinum, or to a lesser extent at least 85% pure platinum. Platinum is a metal that is not chemically active, it is absolutely rustproof, hence its interest compared to other precious metals because a platinum jewel will not alter in any way over the years. One of the specificities of platinum, and which contributes to its success in jewellery, is that it is hypoallergenic and therefore there is no risk of epidermal reaction when wearing platinum jewellery.
WHY IS PLATINUM JEWELLERY MORE EXPENSIVE THAN OTHER METALS?
It is estimated today that the world’s supply of platinum will be exhausted within 200 years, so this metal is scarce and is set to disappear. All the more reason for the international market to get carried away and speculate on its price. Platinum is currently seen as more valuable than gold and is worth almost double its value even though its price fluctuates with the market. This has a significant impact on the price of a platinum jewel compared to other precious metals. Another factor affecting the price of platinum jewellery is that it is very dense, so compared to gold for example, for the same volume it will be heavier and therefore more expensive. Finally, in concrete terms, the price of a platinum jewel is higher compared to other precious metals simply because platinum is more laborious to work, particularly in terms of polishing, so labor will be more expensive, which will have a significant impact on the price of the final product.