Naturally white, its super power is strength, it’s hypoallergenic and perfect for holding gemstones in place. What is it? Platinum. The versatile metal that became the trending choice in jewelry right around the turn of the 20th century.
Platinum is revered for its natural white color that doesn’t wear away as a piece is worn. It maintains its color and develops its own special luster over time and did we mention that it doesn’t tarnish? Platinum is a very strong metal and is often chosen to hold the most important (big and expensive) diamonds and gemstones in place. While platinum is super strong, it is also highly malleable, making it possible to create lightweight, lacy jewelry — the Edwardian era was particularly known for this style. Platinum is a dense metal so when you hold it in your hand, it really feels substantial. If you hold a piece of platinum jewelry in one hand and another piece made from a different metal in the other hand, you’ll notice that platinum has a more hefty feeling, that’s the density. It’s also hypoallergenic so you don’t have to worry about a reaction to the metal when you wear it. Put all these elements together and you’ve got the ideal metal for jewelry.
“Platinum’s durability allows jewelry to stand the test of time, making it an optimal choice to be worn today, yet the perfect heirloom to pass to future generations in times ahead,” notes Jenny Luker, president, Platinum Guild International USA. “For example, pieces crafted in the 1920’s and 1930’s are still in great condition today because of platinum’s unique properties.”
Your First Platinum Jewelry
A lot of platinum jewelry was made in the very late 1890s into the early part of the 20th century, when technology was developed to easily melt the metal which has an exceptionally high melting point. Its use in jewelry came to a screeching halt when World War II struck and it was declared a strategic metal and was reserved for the war effort. By the 1950s this magical metal was back in fashion and it remains a popular choice for jewelry, especially engagement rings, which is a good place to start if you want to build a vintage platinum jewelry collection. The beauty of vintage platinum jewelry is that it mixes seamlessly with modern pieces fabricated from the noble metal.
So what exactly do you need to build a platinum jewelry wardrobe? Start with a ring. It can be your wedding and engagement ring, or if you already have that and need another point of entry, choose a fabulous cocktail ring to wear on your right hand for special occasions.
“Platinum’s density allows it to be worn on a daily basis without metal loss, making it ideal for a piece that will never be taken off,” explains Luker. “The intrinsic properties of the world’s most precious metal means it will hold diamonds and gemstones more securely than other metals, making it an ideal choice for engagement rings.”
Add to Your Platinum Jewelry Wardrobe
You may also want to consider a great pair of platinum earrings, which is a nice way to draw attention to your face. Platinum earrings can be as simple as a pair of diamond solitaires or they can be more elaborate. Try a pair of Art Deco dangling earrings dripping in diamonds that do double duty — remove the fringe and they become demure for daytime. If you have multiple ear piercings, platinum will complement any other earrings that you may wear.
Pair a platinum diamond line bracelet with a watch, or wear a more elaborate style on your other wrist. Platinum was a favored metal in the Art Deco era and there are a number of really beautiful bracelet styles available from simple diamond line bracelets to wider strap bracelets that are geometric in form or may have floral motifs, Egyptian or Asian themes.
A showy platinum and diamond or gemstone necklace is a no-brainer to wear for a dressy occasion. However, you can also consider pairing it with denim and a blazer to elevate your look when you’re going out. The nice thing about platinum is that it never interferes with the stones. “Platinum’s naturally white color accentuates the beauty of diamonds, adding no color to the stone, and allowing the fire and brilliance to be more evident. Similarly, colored gemstones pop against the metal’s ‘true white’ pallet,” notes Luker.
Brooches are one of the most fun pieces of jewelry to wear and vintage platinum pins are often unique designs that span the spectrum from witty and whimsical to more geometric and naturalistic forms. While it may seem that brooches are not wearable, the exact opposite is true. Try wearing a brooch on your coat lapel, on a denim jacket, on a shoulder, or even on a hat. They’re a wonderful way to express your personality.
“Platinum jewelry is created to be enjoyed for a lifetime, so whether modern or vintage, these timeless treasures will always be in style,” concludes Luker. “Mixing vintage and new platinum jewelry is a great way to showcase the versatility of the metal, with the high shine of a new piece playing off the patina of a much-loved vintage piece.”
Featured image (top of page): Platinum, ruby and diamond brooch, circa 1930s, courtesy J. & S.S. DeYoung.
Authored by Amber Michelle
All jewelry shown in this blog is on Jewelers Circle Pro.