Platinum is a precious metal that makes some of the best rings for men and women. It is a precious metal, but this also means that platinum rings are among the most expensive rings on the market.
The fact that the rings are made of precious metals also means that you may end up buying a ring that’s not made of platinum even though it’s marketed as a platinum ring. What this means is that you need to learn and understand the different ways of identifying platinum rings. It can be confusing at first, but we’ll help you avoid some expensive mistakes. In this article, we’ll look at everything you need to know about platinum rings, the platinum ring stamps, and the meaning of the stamps or hallmarks.
But before we look at the platinum hallmarks, let’s look at some basics.
Does a platinum ring have a stamp?
Yes. Platinum rings have a stamp or hallmark sign. Platinum rings could, however, have different stamps depending on their constituent metals.
Platinum is one of the heaviest metals on earth. It is a precious metal that is naturally grey-white and also non-corrosive.
Out of these metals, platinum is the most common metal, and it’s used in the jewelry and consumer markets from the USA to China and Japan.
While platinum rings are quite popular today, rings and ornaments made of platinum have been around for more than 2,000 years. In fact, the culture of ring making using platinum dates back centuries, and these traditions are what led to the versatile jewelry making practices of today.
What hallmarks or stamp on platinum rings or platinum jewelry?
How, then, do you identify jewelry made of platinum? Well, there are platinum content marks, as mentioned above. And in most of the countries that manufacture platinum jewelry, the highest (purest) platinum content is 85% minimum.
The most common platinum alloys include the PGM metals, with iridium, palladium, and ruthenium being the PGM metals that are used often.
In addition to the PGMs, cobalt and copper are the other two metals that are often alloyed with pure platinum. Note that just like silver and gold that rely on alloying for hardness, platinum is also only hardened when these metal alloys are incorporated.
And the good news is that you only need about 5% of the metal alloy to harden platinum and for the use of platinum in making rings and other types of jewelry.
So, how is platinum marked?
The Federal Trade Commission notes that the content markings for platinum depend on the purity of platinum, in parts per thousand.
That said, the ‘Platinum’ mark, without any other extra qualifications, is used to describe the fact that the rings are made of a minimum of 950 parts of pure platinum. Besides the ‘Platinum’ designation, these rings could also have the ‘Pt’ or the ‘Plat’ stamp, 95% Plat, 950 Plat, or even 950 Pt.
Then you have the platinum rings that only have 850 parts of pure platinum. These rings are often described as platinum rings, especially if they have the 85% or 850 marking, which symbolizes that the piece of jewelry qualifies to be called a platinum piece. Generally, the 850 Plat. label is used for the pieces containing 85% platinum.
The next category of platinum rings features the 800Pt.200Pd. symbol represents the 80% content of pure platinum plus up to 20% palladium, which is incorporated as the metal alloy. This product is, however, 100% in the platinum group of metals.
Then you have the 75% Platinum and 25% copper alloy rings. Such rings are made of 75% pure platinum and only 25% copper. For these jewelry pieces, the total percentage of pure platinum plus the other metals in the platinum group of metals is 95% or less.
Lastly, there are ‘platinum rings’ with No platinum label. If you come across this type of jewelry, it often means that the ring you are purchasing contains less than 50% pure platinum.
How Much Platinum Is in your Jewelry or rings?
To ensure that they meet their bottom line and make sales, marketers mark or describe platinum in jewelry using the value of the platinum’s purity in the jewelry piece. And for a piece of jewelry to be referred to as platinum, it must have a minimum, pure platinum percentage of 50% or 500 parts per thousand platinum.
And if a piece of jewelry is marked as a platinum piece without any specific qualification, the piece must have a minimum of 95% pure platinum, which translates to 950 parts per thousand.
For the platinum jewelry that’s sold in the US, the jewelry is often made of 85% pure platinum, and the 15% is made of other metals from either the platinum metal group and/or from other base metals like copper or cobalt.
What this means is that 850Plat contains 85% pure platinum, while 900Pt means that the jewelry contains 90% pure platinum.
But that is not all, and the pieces of jewelry that have between 50% – 85% pure platinum and are combined with the metals in the platinum metals group category. So, the 800Pt.200Pd has 80% pure platinum plus 20% palladium; 750Pt.250Rh is 75% pure platinum mixed with 25% rhodium; while 600Pt.350Ir is made of 60% pure platinum and 35% pure Iridium.
There also is the jewelry of base metals in the 15% – 50% range, and these pieces may also have the “Platinum” label. In such cases, the jewelry is made of platinum and base metal alloys ranging from 50-85% the value of pure platinum. However, it’s important to remember that the overall value of pure platinum and the other platinum group metals in even the purest of platinum jewelry is always less than 95%. For such high-purity types of jewelry, the name of the jewelry will feature the full name of the metal with the highest purity in the jewelry. This means that no abbreviations or even parts per thousand will be used for the high-purity platinum jewelry pieces.
And for platinum jewelry made of platinum and other base metals like copper, the designations will have percentages. For example, 75% Platinum 25% copper means just that – 75% pure platinum mixed with 25% copper. The other common label for platinum jewelry features 60% Platinum 35% Cobalt/5% Rhodium to represent the fact the piece contains only 60% pure platinum mixed with 5% rhodium and 35% cobalt.
How can you tell if it’s real platinum?
This is the big question because the real world is different, and most of the pieces of jewelry sold as platinum pieces won’t have the percentages. Below are some of the simple ways of identifying real platinum jewelry.
- Check the color – If you are looking at silver and platinum, side by side, platinum will feel and look dense, with more of the gray color rather than a white finish.
- Platinum marks – Authentic platinum jewelry will have the following words or abbreviations – “Platinum,’ “PLAT,” or in other cases, “PT.” These will be preceded or followed by these numbers – 950 or even 999.
- Magnet Test – Pure platinum isn’t magnetic, meaning if the platinum jewelry has some magnetic properties, then it means that it’s allotted with cobalt – cobalt has weak magnetic properties, hence the apparent magnetism of the platinum piece of jewelry.
- Acid Test – platinum will not react with nitric or hydrochloric acid.
- Hydrogen Peroxide test– since platinum is one of the strongest hydrogen peroxide catalysts, pure platinum jewelry will bubble in the presence of hydrogen peroxide.
There you have it – everything you need to know about the markings for identifying platinum rings and what they mean. For more jewelry metal posts, please visit this page for more or visit our latest posts!
Tiger is a fashion&jewelry lover. He is also a fashion jewelry manufacturer that help thousands of small business to grow and also do business with some big fashion jewelry brands. He is a truly metal expert and he will share some information you are looking for.