When first panning for gold, no one realized how valuable the silver looking specks they occasionally found actually were. Platinum comes from the word “platina,” or “little silver.” When it was found, it was thrown back. Platinum would be discarded for thousands of years, until science had been refined enough to actually analyze this material thought to be silver. The discovery led to a new noble metal: platinum. It is the only noble metal which is both stronger than, and occurs less in nature than, gold. This means that platinum is actually more valuable than gold. By the 1800s, platinum was made into all kinds of jewelry, including platinum rings, platinum necklaces, and platinum earrings, and this “rich man's gold” was bought by European and Russian royalty.
Obtaining pure platinum is rare, and pure platinum is not used to create jewelry. Just as gold uses karats to measure the jewelry piece's gold purity, an approximate system has been created recently for platinum. The purity of a piece of platinum jewelry is measured in parts, with one thousand parts being the total. If a piece of platinum jewelry reads PT999, it means that the piece is made up of 999 parts platinum and 1 part alloy. The purity descends from there, with a little over half purity at the other end of the measurement range. While jewelry which contains more platinum means it is more valuable, depending on the wearer, PT999 platinum jewelry can sometimes be impractical. This is because platinum is heavy, and a piece with less platinum will sometimes feel lighter and more comfortable.
Recently platinum engagement rings, platinum wedding bands, and platinum anniversary bands have become popular. This is, of course, because platinum is the noble metal of noble metals, the most valuable and durable of them all. These characteristics are quickly coming to symbolize the eternal love of a couple in all stages of marriage. And while platinum is the most durable, it also needs special care. Platinum jewelry can be worn just about all the time, but should be removed when performing manual intensive tasks such as house cleaning or yard work. Each piece of platinum jewelry needs to be stored separately. Both of these recommendations are to prevent the platinum jewelry from scratches.