Since the 1780s, when King Louis XVI of France heralded platinum as being the only metal fit for kings, this outstandingly durable precious metal has been the virtual standard of quality. If you have made the wise decision to purchase platinum jewelry, consider these tips to maintain your investment and keep it looking beautiful for years.
Unlike other metals used to create fine jewelry, platinum will not fade, tarnish or turn color; however, it does take on a distinctive patina with age.
Like all precious metals used in the manufacture of jewelry, platinum does scratch with wear.
How to Care for Platinum Jewelry
- Remove platinum jewelry before using harsh chemicals such as bleach or abrasives, which may cause scratching or damage to gemstones.
- Avoid gardening and heavy labor while wearing platinum jewelry.
- Store your platinum in a separate compartment from other jewelry to avoid scratching.
- Have platinum jewelry checked by a professional bi-annually or after being subjected to hard impact. This precaution ensures that any gemstones will remain secure in their setting.
- When size alterations or repairs are necessary, make sure that your jeweler uses platinum stock to perform the work. Many bench technicians use white gold, which can cause dark markings along solder points.
Cleaning Platinum Jewelry
- Clean regularly with jewelry cleaner specially formulated for gold and platinum jewelry or a solution of mild soap and warm water. Click here to see a jewelry cleaner that can be used on platinum.
- Using a soft toothbrush, scrub the metal gently.
- Rinse thoroughly under warm water, avoiding the sink drain.
- Dry with a clean, lint-free cloth.
- Do not soak or brush delicate gemstones that are mounted in your platinum jewelry such as opal, tanzanite, emerald or topaz. Check with your preferred jeweler for detailed gemstone care information.
Does Platinum Wear Down?
The attraction of platinum, aside from its sheer beauty, is that because of the metal’s dense molecular structure, very little volume is lost when platinum is scratched. Practically, platinum does not wear down.
Put in perspective, a platinum band fashioned twenty years ago and worn daily weighs virtually the same as it did when it was first made.
Platinum and Patina
After time, the bright, highly polished shine of platinum jewelry takes on a soft aged patina.
The color does not actually change, but the jewelry may appear darker than when originally purchased. This effect is due to the way light interacts with fine scratches within the metal.
Many people consider this natural aging process one of the many fine attributes of platinum, adding beauty and character. If you prefer a more brilliant finish, two options are available:
A qualified jeweler can buff the fine scratches from platinum to bring out its original white luster.
Typically, restored platinum jewelry will maintain luster for six to twelve months, depending on your wear habits.
Be aware that most jewelry stores do not have the equipment necessary to perform this procedure in-house.
Many jewelers offer a rhodium plating service for platinum jewelry.
Rhodium is an intensely white metal closely related to platinum, with higher reflective characteristics, producing a mirror-like sheen.
Rhodium, like all plating material, eventually wears off. Expect to have to re-apply this finish every six months, depending on wear.
Platinum Characteristics Factsheet:
• 30 times rarer than gold
• 60% denser than gold
• Usually 95% pure
• Exceptionally malleable
• Outstanding tensile strength
• A thoroughly white metal
• Doesn’t oxidize