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Platinum Jewelry

Platinum Content and Platinum Marks


Diamond heart-shaped engagement ring, close-up
James Worrell/Photodisc/Getty Images
Platinum is a rare precious metal that's used to create fine jewelry. Its heavy weight and durability make platinum a metal that will not wear away with constant use. Platinum holds fine gemstones firmly in place for the life of the jewelry when used as prongs and other setting components.

Platinum's natural white luster provides a rich backdrop for diamonds, but it's a metal that's just as elegant when used all by itself to create a piece of jewelry, either a simple polished item or a design with engraved motifs. Platinum looks stunning when combined with contrasting touches of 18K yellow gold.

The Platinum Group of Metals

Six related metals belong to the Platinum Group of Metals, or PGM:

  • Platinum
  • Iridium
  • Palladium
  • Ruthenium
  • Rhodium
  • Osmium

Platinum Marks

Jewelry can contain different percentages of pure platinum. The US Federal Trade Commission, FTC, publishes guidelines for acceptable marking standards for platinum jewelry sold in the US.

Platinum content is usually expressed as the amount of pure platinum the jewelry contains in parts per thousand. Think about it like this... you mix up a huge bucket of fruit tea that contains 1,000 ounces--900 hundred of the ounces are plain tea and 100 are fruit juice. That makes the tea 900 parts per thousand of your mix. Another way to express that is to say that tea makes up ninety percent of the mix--900 divided by 1000.

  • Jewelry that contains at least 950 parts per thousand of pure platinum may be marked or described as "Platinum"

  • Jewelry that contains 850, 900 or 950 parts per thousand of pure platinum may be marked "Plat" or "Pt" if a number is used in front of the term to disclose the amount of pure platinum in the mix, such as
    • "850 Plat" or "850 Pt", or
    • "950 Plat" or "950 Pt"

  • Jewelry that contains at least 950 parts per thousand of platinum group metals, with at least 500 parts per thousand of the total pure platinum, may be marked as platinum as long as the numbers of each metal are disclosed. For instance,
    • "600 Pt. 350 Ir." or 600 Plat. 350 Irid." for 600 parts pure platinum and 350 parts iridium
    • "550Pt. 350Pd. 50Ir." or "550Plat. 350Pall. 50Irid." for 550 parts pure platinum, 350 parts palladium and 50 parts iridum

The FTC is currently considering a request to allow manufacturers to mark jewelry as platinum even if it contains metals that are not part of the platinum group.

Ask your jeweler to explain platinum content and markings if you are not sure which combination is the most suitable for your jewelry purchase.

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