Platinum is used in a lot of industries including jewelry, currency, science and medicine, dentistry, and electricity, among many others. Its rarity and durability, not to mention its lustrous silvery-white appearance, make platinum one of the world’s most precious metals.
Faberge is the famed 19th century Russian jewelry maker famous for its jewel-encrusted “Faberge egg.” For years it held platinum as its most prized metal, as did Cartier. Tiffany is also known for its diamond-and-platinum solitaire engagement rings.
In other words, a catalytic converter is a device inside a motor car that is used to convert harmful vehicle emissions into less harmful substances. Platinum’s active pollution-fighting properties prove to be useful for fighting emissions in factories, dry-cleaning operations, bakeries and a lot others industries.
As platinum is the rarest and heaviest among all the other precious metals, all the platinum explored and mined would be the equivalent of an average-sized living room.
Yes, you’ve heard that right! Platinum can also be obtained artificially as a by product of nickel ore processing. South Africa is the world’s largest platinum producer, due to its immense quantities of nickel ore in the Merensky Reef, a layer of igneous rock in the Bushveld Igneous Complex.
The first European reference to this then-largely unexploited metal occurred way back in the 16th century. However, it was not until in 1748 that Spanish general and explorer Antonio de Ulloa discovered this new metal from Colombia, and published a report about it. And this led to platinum becoming the subject of investigation and research by scientists.
Platinum has the atomic mass of 195.084 u, melting point of 1,768 °C and boiling point of 3,825 °C. It is a malleable, ductile metal which is resistant to corrosion. Platinum belongs to the “platinum-group metals” which also includes ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, and iridium.
So how rare is platinum? It is quite rare compared to gold and silver. All the platinum discovered and exploited can fit into your average-sized living room. Unlike other metals such as gold and silver, platinum is more valued for industrial uses (other than ornamental, although it is also used for jewelry).
This fact further proves platinum’s status as a rare precious metal!
Platinum has a fairly high melting point (the fourth highest after ruthenium, iridium, and rhodium).
Platinum had already been used by pre-colonial Indians in what is now Colombia, but it wasn’t until the early 18th century that western scientists discovered it. Spanish general and explorer Antonio de Ulloa is usually credited for the modern discovery of platinum.
Since platinum is quite rare, it is not surprising why this metal is chosen by several big names in luxury watches to make limited-edition watches. Vacheron Constantin’s Patrimony Contemporaine, Rolex’s Cosmograph Daytona, and Patek Philippe’s World Time Watches are some of their famous “platinum watches” collections.