Platinum is an extremely rare and precious white-grey metal that can sometimes be misidentified as silver. It has been found naturally in the alluvial sands of rivers, and at first was considered to be a nuisance to the gold panning Spaniards who had conquered parts of the New World in search of treasures and new resources.
With its extremely high melting point, many scientists did not know what to make of platinum for many years. It was not until the 19th century that new refining techniques increased availability of this precious metal.
Initially, Colombia was the major source for the world’s platinum, but large deposits in Russia, Canada and Africa were found and these regions supply most of the world.
Platinum jewelry exploded in the second half of the 1900s as it became the standard in diamond settings. Platinum is the strongest of the precious metals used in jewelry design and it is among the heaviest as well; almost twice as heavy as 14K gold. But ultimately it’s platinum’s beautiful white-grey luster that makes it so desirable as a fashion accessory.
In recent years, the value of platinum has skyrocketed and it’s even more costly than gold, partly due to its beauty and partly to its scarcity. About 160 tons of platinum are produced annually compared to around 1,500 tons of gold. Platinum is valued for its aesthetics, its luster, and its lucrative history.