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A Brief History of Platinum

While gold has been exchanged in wedding and engagement ceremonies for many centuries, platinum has only really been in the public eye since the 1800s. However, the last decade has seen platinum engagement rings become the most popular choice in wedding jewellery, challenging the more traditional gold. But where did this precious metal originate from?

The chemical element platinum was first mentioned in Europe in the 16th century, although there is evidence to suggest it was used in jewellery making in early South American civilisations and even as far back as Ancient Egypt. In 1557, the Italian humanist Julius Caesar Scaliger made a note about the metal and it was subsequently named ‘platina del Pinto’ in Spanish, meaning silver-like substance from the Pinto River in Colombia.

Platinum was recognised by various scientists for its high melting point and strength, but since it is quite complicated to extract pure platinum, its use was delayed until the end of the 18th century. Pierre-Francois Chabaneu was the first person to successfully extract a substantial amount of platinum in 1786. He went on to present a platinum chalice to Pope Pius VI three years later and set up a production company, beginning what is known as ‘The Platinum Age’ in Spain.

Since this time, it has been used in everything from utensils to British royal crowns, military aircraft and, of course, platinum engagement rings. As a designated precious metal, it remains one of the rarest substances on Earth, which, coupled with its prolonged extraction process, makes it also one of the most valuable.

Gold and platinum wedding rings continue to rival each other in terms of popularity but the price of platinum often rises to almost twice that of gold during economic boom periods. It’s no wonder that so many celebrity couples are choosing platinum engagement rings as both a status symbol and romantic gesture!

Today, the low-maintenance and high-quality finish that comes with platinum continue to keep it at the top of the list when choosing wedding bands. With their hypo-allergenic properties, platinum engagement rings are also a favourite of those with sensitive skin who have problems wearing other metals.

For more information on the classic range of 4mm platinum wedding rings offered by the Platinum Ring Company, as well as the latest trends in engagement ring design, please explore the site further.