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Platinum is a heavy, malleable precious metal, resistant to corrosion; in addition to its use in exclusive jewellery, it is also used in laboratory equipment and dentistry.
In the 18th century, the rarity of platinum was brought to the attention of King Louis XV of France, who declared that it was the only metal fit for a king. In the 19th century, due to its rarity, difficulty to work with and sheer expense, it was used in a very limited manner in the jewellery industry. This changed in the 20th century when the metal became popular for expensive Diamond engagement rings.
Platinum is a third heavier than 18k gold and is the most expensive metal used in making jewellery (other than the rhodium used in plating). Pure platinum has been known to be twice the price of pure gold. Since 1975, it has been a legal requirement in the UK to hallmark platinum jewellery. The current standards of fineness are 850 (85% pure), 900, 950 and 999, with 950 (95% pure) being the most common.
To help comprehend the rarity of platinum, it was once suggested that if all the platinum in the world was poured into an Olympic swimming pool it would not even cover your ankles! It is also said that all of the gold in the world would only fill approximately three or four pools.
So when you see two identical band rings, one made of 950 platinum and one made from 18k gold and wonder why one is four times the price of the other, remember there are three factors: the price of the raw material is double; more weight is used because it’s a third heavier; and the purity is higher.
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