The perfect jewelry material for these understated times, many regard platinum as a “new” metal; however the fact that platinum is one of the most rare and purest precious metals in the world was discovered and revered long ago.
Dating back to 700 BC, when the ancient Egyptians mastered the techniques of processing platinum, to 100 BC, when the Indians in Pre-Columbian South America combined it with gold, platinum has played an important role in the culture of human existence. Though widely utilized since then, the true worth of platinum was relatively under appreciated until the mid-eighteenth century, when Europeans began to hold it in high esteem. Premier jewelers like Cartier and Tiffany owe much of their fame and importance to this period. The "Art Nouveau" jewelry that emerged from the fortuitous pairing of platinum and diamonds has indeed transcended the years.
Elegant and subtle, platinum never competes with the color of a gem. Its deep white luster complements the stone's brilliance.
The Duchess of Windsor, an expert and collector of jewelry, declared that platinum was the one and only jewelry choice for evening wear. The world's most legendary diamonds - the Hope, Jonker I and the Koh-i-noor are all secured in platinum settings. Today, given the variety of designs and combinations, platinum can be worn for every occasion.
World Events Impact Platinum Sales
During World War Two, the United States Government declared Platinum a strategic material and prohibited its use and trade in most non-military applications. During this time, white gold was developed as platinum’s replacement but could never offer the pure snow-white look only platinum offers.
Platinum has made an amazing comeback. Since the late 1990’s, demand for fine platinum jewelry has soared to all time highs. Grissom’s has specialized in fine platinum work specifically in bridal or anniversary jewelry for many years and can offer any style requested. Grissom’s has invested in state of the art equipment like our laser welder, hydrogen torches and sophisticated casting machines to insure the highest quality control available. Platinum does, however, remain five times more rare than gold and commands for many reasons quite a premium price.
The following factors cause this increase in value or price:
1. Platinum is one of the most rare natural materials on earth—five times more rare than gold.
2. It is used in a highly pure state 90-95 % generally compared to gold’s most popular alloys being 58.5% for 14k and 75% for 18k. Its incredibly high density, which adds to its lasting durability, makes a platinum jewelry item weigh about 50% more than the same item in 14k gold. This very high density also adds great time to any finishing process, greatly affecting labor cost. Platinum has a melting temperature of about 3400 degrees Fahrenheit compared to gold at about 1700 adding to energy cost for working and smelting or refining platinum.
3. The refining of platinum excess or scrap costs jewelers up to 10 times that of gold and only a few refiners offer this service, generally excluding the smaller trade shops from a lower cost.
Due to these factors, most accessory parts have to be handmade as opposed to being ordered like standard parts in gold or silver. Jewelry customers often are shocked when they find platinum jewelry at 2.5-3.5 times the cost of white gold for a solitaire band. However they usually find the cost compared to the diamonds, and other precious stones they hold, very worthy of consideration as it only adds $300-$900.00 to the cost of most rings. Bracelet, necklaces, and specifically fine watches can be 3-10 times the cost of similar gold items. Platinum watches are very rarely offered, generally reserved for the wealthiest of customers as they often cost upwards of $50,000. At Grissom’s we have been able to offer platinum watches from Breitling, Rolex, Longines, and Patek Phillipe on several occasions.