Platinum was discovered by Europeans in the mid-18th Century in South America, although it was not used commercially for jewellery until the very end of the 19th Century. It is now mined in Colombia, the former Soviet Union, Alaska and South Africa.

Platinum is a silver-grey colour, extremely durable and malleable. It is the rarest and most expensive of the three main metals, and thus only used in very fine jewellery.

The white metal gained popularity during the Edwardian period as a perfect setting for diamonds. It was also prized for its strength, which allowed for settings to look delicate but be extremely strong. Because platinum does not tarnish or corrode it needs little cleaning.



Before 1975 platinum jewellery was simply marked “PLAT”, but pieces made after this date bear a mark in the shape of an orb. Sometimes pieces were made with a mixture of platinum and white gold, and these are marked “PLAT & GOLD”.