Platinum. It is more precious than gold and nearly as hard as a diamond. It is used in the production of many common products as well as heirloom jewelry. Whether it is an elegant piece of platinum jewelry or a coin, platinum is an asset. The bonus is, the precious gem which is secured with platinum prongs will never fall out.
Platinum and other precious metals as well as gemstones, such as diamonds, are weighed using the Troy ounce of 5.760 grains or 480 pennyweights per ounce. The Troy pound is 12 ounces. All precious metals are not equal. Pure gold is very soft, scratches easily and melts at 1948°F. Platinum, however, is much harder. It does not tarnish nor scratch easily, and it melts at 3225°F. All platinum designs, in fact all fine jewelry designs, contain an alloy in addition to the precious metal. The percentage of precious metals is commonly denoted in numbers such as 18kt and 950. The most precious platinum is 99.95% or 999 PL.
The informed buyer is not easily fooled. All fine jewelry is stamped or marked. This stamp, also called a Hallmark, can be found on a necklace clasp, the back of a pin, or inside the band of a ring. Sometimes the country of origin is included. A ring marked 18Kt It. was made in Italy. Platinum quality is graded by content. The only metal in the United States of America that may be marketed and sold as platinum must carry a Hallmark of 950 or above. A Hallmark less than 950 must also include the alloy. An 850 IRID/PLAT Hallmark, for example, would indicate the metal contains 15% iridium alloy. Every piece sold as "Platinum" is platinum regardless if it is a platinum watch or a piece of platinum silver. It must be graded at 950 or above and easily identified by a PL, PLAT or PLATINUM Hallmark.
Jewelers hate to reveal trade secrets. A jeweler can tell you the names of the design and the designer, the country of origin, the percentage of platinum in each piece, the total weight of the piece, the diamond count, if the diamonds are matched or not, the facet number of each stone, plus the color, cut, clarity and carat weight of each stone. Jewelers generally resist giving greatly detailed information due to the amount of paperwork involved. Nevertheless, the persistent and informed buyer can find the best platinum designs and the right platinum store with little effort.
Platinum prices are based on grade and trade. Buyers can't control the market, for it is volatile. However, subtracting the Hallmark number from 100 will disclose the amount of alloy in the metal. If the piece is marked PLATINUM, this is usually not necessary.