Good Platinum Ring?
Q: I am in the market for a quality platinum mens wedding band. I've read
from some of the experts, and appreciate you folks posting on here.
Some questions I have are what should I ask jewelers to ensure I'm
getting the best quality material and craftsmanship?
My jeweler mentioned his platinum is "lighter" than most because is
contains more platinum and less of other metals used in lesser quality
rings. What does he mean by this?
What are some of the tell tale signs of superior quality platinum
rings (material and craftsmanship)?
A:This sounds like your jeweler doesn't actually know as much about platinum alloys as he should. Platinum jewelery sold in the U.S. is most commonly either 90 percent platinum (in which case the alloying metal is usually iridium, another of the platinum group metals, used to harden the alloy, and which is more expensive than the platinum itself), ir it's 95 percent platinum (to allow it to meet stamping laws letting it be marked just as platinum, instead of indicating the alloy percentage, and to allow sales in europe meeting those same standards). The 95 percent platinum alloys are often alloyed with cobalt, or ruthenium, and a few other choices and combinations. There is also one small group of platinum alloys that can be heat treated to exceptional hardness and durability that are alloyed with a rather more exotic cocktail of other metals, but their platinum content is still in these ranges. The kicker to your jewelers statement is that platinum is denser than those less costly metals that may be alloyed with platinum. So if his platinum is actually lighter, then something is very very wrong here. My guess is that it's not his platinum that's wrong, but rather his understanding of platinum. for quality issues, it depends a lot on what design your looking for. If you want just a plain unadorned band, then almost any commercially die struck band will be fine quality. Die struck pieces are a bit denser (less porosity in the metal) and harder, and thus more durable, than cast metal. but about all you can get that's made this way are plain traditional half round, flat, comfort fit, and millgrain edged wedding bands. Some may also have been "diamond cut" with various machined in patterns. More more exclusive designs, a greater percentage of platinum jewelry is either hand made from rolled and drawn sheet metal and wire (just as dense as die struck, but may have solder seams showing where it's assembled), or most commonly, it's cast. Casting allows great efficiencies in manufacturing, and is cheaper than hand fabricating a piece. The metal MIGHT be a bit softer, however, depending on the alloy and how the casting is later worked into the ring. things to look for would be thicker cross sections, since platinum's softness can make it easier to bend and distort, so a heavier band will be less likely to get out of shape. Also, if the piece is high polished, look carefully for tiny pits and defects in the metal, especially right at the bottom of the shank (if the design has such), or at thick sections. If the piece is hand fabricated, look to see if the solder seams are overly visible. Depending on the types of solder used, they can range from visibly greyer lines, or even slightly softer and thus depressed lines in the metal, to totally invisible. the latter is of course, better. If the piece is set with diamonds or other stones, examine the settings for uniformity and for enough metal holding the stones. If its' engraved or otherwise ornamented, look at the precision and uniformity of that work too. The important thing to look for on a piece of platinum jewelery is the 'Quality Stamp'. It's a 3 digit number stamped in the metal someplace. It'll usually be something like.9xx. The xx will be some other number. This denotes how many parts per 1000 are platinum. The higher the number the more platinum. Platinum is sometimes alloyed with one or more of the following metals; cobalt, palladium, iridium or ruthenium. Each of the other metals gives the alloy a different caharacteristic & is used in a very small percentage (less than 10%) of the total weight. In my book, it looks like your jeweler has a problem explaining things or maybe he doesn't know what he's talking about.
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