Platinum is a pure, silvery-white metal prized for its rarity and beauty. The name "platina" came from Spanish explorers in 1735 and, ironically, means "silver with little value."
Heavier, and more durable than gold, platinum is VERY expensive and is alloyed with other precious metals for added strength. Platinum jewelry is usually produced from an alloy of 90 percent platinum and 10 percent iridium, two of the precious metals in the platinum family. The other members include palladium, ruthenium, osmium and rhodium (also used for plating because of its extreme whiteness).
Because of its purity, platinum is excellent for people who are allergic to other metals. Platinum will never tarnish or wear out, and its light color makes it popular for jewelry. Like white gold, platinum settings make white diamonds appear very bright; however, platinum is whiter in color and heavier than white gold.
Used extensively in jewelry throughout the first half of the 20th century, platinum was banned for use in non-military applications during World War II. However, it has enjoyed an enormous resurgence in popularity in recent years. Mined in Africa, Russia and the United States (Montana), platinum is not sold according to karat weight. Platinum jewelry that is stamped with a quality mark also shows the percentage of platinum used in the alloy - for example, Pt1000, 1000Pt or 1000Plat for pure platinum; or Pt950, 950Pt or 950Plat for 950 parts per thousand platinum and 50 parts other metals.