Why is Platinum Jewelry More Expensive than Gold?

Platinum jewelry is more expensive than gold… It’s a well-known fact. Aside from assuming that platinum is a superior metal, have you wondered exactly why platinum gets the higher ticket price in the jewelry industry? Currently, gold costs around $1,300 per ounce, while the going price for platinum is $850 per ounce.

Let’s discuss why you’ll still pay more for jewelry set in platinum, regardless of the price per ounce.

Purity

The platinum and gold price per ounce is based on both metals being 100 percent pure. When shopping for jewelry, you do not buy pure platinum or gold bars. Instead, you buy jewelry that includes metals that have been melted, molded and mixed with alloys.

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24k Gold Grains

“In jewelry form, platinum is 95 percent pure with only 5 percent alloys, and 14k gold is only 58.5 percent pure and 41.5 percent alloys,” said Mike Burnette, director of gemology at Gem Shopping Network. “Platinum is alloyed with other metals in the platinum family that have a similar cost to platinum. Gold is usually alloyed with metals like, silver, copper, and zinc which cost less than the gold itself.”

Density

Platinum is a much denser metal than gold. Because precious metals are sold by weight and not by volume, one ounce of platinum is smaller in size than one ounce of gold.

If you have identical rings in both platinum and gold, the platinum ring will weigh approximately 50 percent more than the gold ring, Burnette said.

Melting Point

Gold has a melting point of 1949 degrees Fahrenheit. However, Platinum melts at 3214 degrees Fahrenheit. The higher the melting point, the more sophisticated the equipment must be to safely meet the high temperatures during the smelting process.

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Stamped platinum bars commonly used in platinum jewelry modifications.

Rarity

Gold is much more abundant than platinum. Platinum is primarily found in very small amounts in South Africa and Russia. Commenting on its rarity, Burnette said, “Only about 160 tons of platinum are mined annually compared to approximately 1500 tons of gold!”


King Louis XVI of France stated that platinum was the “only metal fit for kings.” Though it carries a lower price-per-ounce, the labor-intensive processes and equipment needed are factored into the jewelry price. The element’s high purity, metal density, and melting point, coupled with its rarity make owning platinum jewelry the highest honor.

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