As said by Elizabeth Taylor, “Jewelry has the power to be the one little thing that makes you feel unique.” Indeed, ornamentation can make anyone shine through. And when that ornamentation is platinum? Cherry on top. However, to keep your jewelry looking like new maintenance is important.
While platinum is highly stable, low-maintenance, hypoallergenic, and does not rust, it does require attention. Platinum jewelry, just like any other piece of jewelry requires maintenance. You must protect it from scratches, bending and tarnishing. If you clean your platinum jewelry once every month, you should be good. If it is a piece that you only wear sometimes, it would require lesser cleaning and maintenance.
But, what kind of upkeep does platinum requires and what is the right way to clean it? Let’s find answers to all these questions in the following sections.
Is platinum jewelry valuable?
Yes, platinum jewelry is considered quite a valuable to posses, even more so than gold. There are many reasons for that. Some of them are:
- Platinum jewelry is not widely known to tarnish or oxidize with ease.
- Platinum is denser as a metal which makes jewelry made out of it more durable.
- It can also resist corrosion up to a great limit.
- Platinum is a hypoallergenic metal, making it suitable for people allergic to 14-carat alloyed gold.
- Platinum makes use of higher quantity of metal to be molded into jewelry which further makes a piece more expensive and valuable. This implies, a ring in a particular design would require lesser amount of gold (in terms of weight) than platinum to be made.
- Since the demand is greater than the supply, platinum thus holds the place for the most valuable type of jewelry.
White gold vs platinum - which is better?
Both white gold and platinum have a similar appearance and make amazing jewelry pieces. It is difficult to say which one is superior. If one is better than the other would be determined by what are you looking for in your jewelry. If you are looking for jewelry with intricate designs, go for white gold. This is the reason why platinum is usually used in band style rings, white gold is used to craft finely crafted designs. If you are looking for something more timeless that requires lower maintenance, go for platinum.
Let us compare some of the characteristics of both the metals.
|Pure metal, you will get the shine of the patina, remains that way for a long time
|Comes with plating, therefore very shiny in the beginning. The shine wears off over time
|Does not tarnish easy
|Tarnishes easily in comparison to Platinum
|Highly durable. Does not lose metal over time.
|Durable but the metal wears away and the jewelry becomes thinner over decades
|Allergies with white gold are not common. However, some people may be allergic to certain constituent metals. It may have nickel!
|Lower than platinum
|Does not retain intricate shapes and fine designing
|Amazing with retaining designs and engravings
|Heavier as it is denser and jewelry uses more metal. Try it on to see if it too heavy for you before you buy
|Considerably lighter in comparison to platinum
|Appears white due to mixing of multiple metals with gold
|more than 95% pure platinum
|70-75% Gold (25-30% other metals for color)
|Requires maintenance in form of replating every 12-22 months as the top layer gets removed with regular wear
|When scratched, the metal gets displaced. IT can be brought back by polishing.
|When scratched, the metal gets lost
|Platinum is rarer.
80 tons are mined per year
|Less rare than platinum
2700 tons are mined per year
Does platinum jewelry lose it's shine?
Yes, platinum loses it’s shine over time and the process is gradual. Although it does not change color drastically or tarnish, but becomes duller. This is due to the patina that develops over the jewelry. This patina protects the underlying metal from becoming dull. Good news is, the shine can be bought back very easily. You just need to polish your jewelry and it will be as shiny as new. Cleaning it with warm water and polishing it with a soft muslin cloth can do the trick.
It is interesting that a lot of people prefer this frosty look. It gives it an antique and royal appeal. It also makes the stones embedded in the jewelry look shinier and brighter.
Does platinum jewelry need maintenance?
Yes, everything that is beautiful needs maintenance, as a rule of thumb. But, platinum is a low maintenance metal and platinum jewelry requires minimal maintenance in comparison to other jewelry like gold or silver. Having said that, a well cared for or maintained piece of jewelry will stay vibrant for longer than a neglected piece of jewelry. So yes, your platinum jewelry needs appropriate attention and care. It needs-
- Cleaning- mild washing in warm water
- Protection against sharp objects
- Protection against harsh chemicals
- Regular upkeep- attention from your jeweler
- Safe Storage
THE RISK FACTORS TO WADE AGAINST
What should you not do with platinum jewelry?
While platinum is highly durable, there are several things that you should be careful of while wearing your platinum jewelry:
- Avoid doing household chores like laundry, dishes, cleaning while adorning platinum.
- Don’t bring your platinum jewelry in contact with harsh chemicals, like bleach and acids like vinegar.
- Be careful with your makeup. Products like perfumes and hair sprays can damage platinum.
- Do not do gardening as it makes use of heavy equipment that can lead to scratches
- If you wear your platinum jewelry daily, remove it before going to bed, and wear it after you get ready for the day (prevents damage caused by bath, perfume or other products you use)
- Be very careful in storing your pieces. Avoid storing all platinum pieces together or even with other metals. Store each piece separately to avoid scratches or worse, dents in the jewelry. Jewelry storage boxes with cushioning and lining work really well.
- Do not polish platinum frequently. Due to its purity and soft composition, platinum tends to lose its shine when rubbed continuously.
- This applies to all jewelries, valuable or costume, wear it in the end, once you are ready. Put on your makeup, throw on your fragrances, let it all settle and absorb, and then, right before you are about to leave, put on your jewelry.
Does platinum jewelry have water damage?
Like we discussed above, platinum’s shine is impacted when you shower wearing it. Swimming in the pool and sea water also impact it. It is important to take care of your platinum jewelry through the extreme ends of the water temperature spectrum.
- Remove it before you take a shower. Exposure to water can dull it faster.
- Do not wear it to the beach as sea water may also have a damaging effect on it.
- Chlorine can discolor platinum to some extent in hot tubs
- Chlorine in pools can also have a dulling effect. Do not wear your jewelry in the pool.
What causes platinum jewelry to develop cracks?
While cracking in platinum jewelry is not common, it can happen. However, and whenever it occurs, cracking is a troublesome inconvenience and comes at an undesirable cost. In most cases, cracks in your jewelry reflect adversely on the jeweler’s reputation. There can be various reasons why platinum jewelry pieces develop cracks. It is mainly because of manufacturing defects or applying too much heat and pressure.
- The raw metal might be too old or of inferior quality. E.g. metal from an old scrap jewelry has been used
- Usage of an overly oxidizing flame during casting.
- Using acetylene as the fuel in the casting torch.
- Adulterating the jewelry piece with another incompatible material, like steel or silica.
- The temperature maintained while handling the metal is too low.
- Either a dirty crucible or a contaminated tool has been used in manufacture. Inclusions caused due to this lead to cracking in the future. Inclusions may be incorporated while melting the metal. These can come from any old tools being used, any broken component, or even the lining of the furnace the metal is heated in.
- Inclusions on the surface can prove to be risky and pose a greater threat as far as cracking is concerned.
- Overworking on the metal while casting it into jewelry may make it brittle or harder than required. If overworked, platinum jewelry may develop cracks.
- Any mechanical damage or impact may also lead to cracks
The bad news is that once it cracks, platinum doesn’t usually stop until it breaks. The best thing to do, in such situations, is to report your jeweler or any known goldsmith from the first instance.
Does platinum jewelry need cleaning?
Yes, indeed, platinum jewelry does require regular cleaning. Accumulated dirt will not harm your platinum jewelry drastically, but can make it look dull and unclean. While you may clean a pure platinum jewelry at home with ease, you must get intricate designs cleaned professionally.
If your platinum jewelry has embedded stones, get it professionally cleaned every six months (for daily wear jewelry items). The same applies to platinum rings with prongs or other protrusions. This is because, you may damage these if you clean your jewelry at home and apply more than required pressure. While you will not lose any metal, the ring’s shape may get slightly compromised.
HOW TO GO ABOUT MAINTAINING PLATINUM JEWELLERY
How do you take care of platinum jewelry?
There are two aspects of caring for anything.
- Protecting it against damage, and
- keeping it clean.
Now that we already know what can damage our jewelry, we need to know how we can keep it clean. To take good care of your platinum jewelry items, clean it regularly.
Basic Everyday Care
Cleaning platinum jewelry is a very simple and straightforward process.
- Soak your jewelry in a diluted detergent solution for a few minutes.
- This helps in forming micelles and eradicating the dirt.
- While handling platinum that also contains added embellishments, such as pearl or topaz, do not let it soak in water.
- Use brushes with ultra soft bristles, or lint free fabric to clean the grimy corners.
- Follow by rinsing lightly in clean water and drying it with a soft cloth.
If looking for more advanced ways to clean and maintain your platinum jewelry, you may refer to the following methods:
- Liquid cleaners: These come in small jars or baskets, essentially being gentle cleaning solutions. Liquid cleaners help retrieve the pieces easily, in case of small items (rings, tops, etc.) Popular brands sell these cleaners ammonia-free, while others also provide soft brushes.
- Ultrasonic cleaners: Though these could only be used by professionals at one time, we have graduated into modern times. Ultrasonic cleaners are now available for the home purchase. The best part? They don’t need any manual effort! All you have to do is place the jewelry in the compartment with plain water and let the sound waves handle the rest. Later, dry the item with a cloth.
- Steam cleaners: These machines are used by professionals to quickly whip up the dirt and debris from platinum jewelry. Steam cleaners are also being sold for home use now.
How can I make my platinum jewellery shiny again?
The best and safest method to make your platinum jewelry shiny again, or to never let your jewelry go dull, is regular cleaning, once in a fortnight or so. You can follow any of the above cleaning methods starting from the basic ones. If you have tried those, and looking for other ways, here are three creative ways to clean your platinum jewelry.
Here are three creative ways to clean your platinum jewelry:
- Purchase a cleaning solution
Several cleaning solutions are available in the online market, which will essentially help your ornament regain its shine. These solutions contain polymers that clean out the blemishes from the crevices in your jewelry. When using a cleaning solution, make sure to first use warm water and soap. Then proceed for a deeper sweep with the liquid. Avoid brushing the small embellishments, if any, as they are more susceptible to damage.
- Vinegar solution
Take warm water, add a little salt and add half a tablespoon of vinegar to it. Let your jewelry sit in the solution for not more than 2 minutes. Vinegar proves to be just as effective and fast as a liquid cleaner from the market. However, you must be careful with the quantity and the duration in which your jewelry is dipped in it, for it can also cause damage to the jewelry item. Do not use this if your jewelry has any kind of gemstone in it as different gemstones react differently with vinegar. It has a damaging effect in most of the stones.
A no-scrubbing solution can be innovatively created. You would need tin foil. Line up a container deep enough to hold your jewelry with aluminum foil. The foil’s height should be enough to submerge your piece. Secure the side nicely with the shiny side facing up. Combine jewelry cleaning solution and a teaspoon of sugar. Separately mix one cup hot water and 1 teaspoon salt+ a pinch of baking soda, mix them well. Add it to the mixture. Pour this over your jewelry kept in the tin foil lined container. Add 2 spoons of vinegar to it and let your jewelry rest in the solution for about 5-10 minutes. Rinse it a few times and let it air dry.
The bottom line
Platinum is certainly a low maintenance metal for jewelry. It does not tarnish quickly, it is strong and does not lose metal over time. It is also much rarer than gold. Thus, can be a perfect heirloom piece. All these features make it a sought after investment. It is imperative to maintain it properly. Timely cleaning, proper storage and periodic professional visits is what will make your investment last for decades!
Don’t forget to see a specialized jeweler if you see any signs of damage in your jewelry.
I hope your platinum keeps shining like new through generations!