A Brief History of Platinum

Platinum

Derived from the Spanish word “platina” which means “little silver,” platinum is among the purest and rarest precious metals on Earth with a rich history. Check out a brief timeline below.

1557: Italian physician Julius Caesar Scaliger was the first to mention platinum in his writings. When he initially stumbled upon the foreign metal, it was described as “which no fire nor any Spanish artifice has yet been able to liquefy.”

1735: Spanish scientist, explorer and naval officer Antonio de Ulloa y Garcia de La Torre was leading a scientific expedition in Central America when he came across the metal. Upon discovering it, he described it as “a stone of such resistance that it is very difficult to break or shatter it on a steel anvil.” His writings were later seized by the British navy.

1741: British scientist Charles Wood published a study introducing the ‘new’ metal and describing its properties.

c.1748: Ulloa published a geological study which included his first scientific description of the platinum in 1735. Platinum was listed as a new element, and Ulloa was ultimately given full credit for being the first to find the metal.

1751: Swedish metallurgist Henrik Sheffer discovers that platinum can melt by adding arsenic and applying heat to the metal.

c.1780: French silversmith Marc-Etienne Janety was the first to work with platinum and fashioned the first platinum jewelry and ornamental pieces specifically made for King Louis XVI of France. King Louis professed that platinum was “the only metal fit for a king.”

c.1802: British chemist William Hyde Wollaston developed a technique that makes platinum much more malleable for manufacturing and selling of varies metal goods.

1884: Jeweler Peter Carl Fabergé utilized platinum to create some ornamental platinum pieces like his classic ‘Imperial Easter Eggs.’

c.1900: Well-known jeweler Louis Cartier infused the platinum and diamonds to design Garland Style jewelry which was made for royalty on a global scale.

Cartier made the bold decision to implement this ‘new’ metal into his jewelry designs and since then, it has been a staple metal in the jewelry industry. Platinum is associated with wealth and elegance due to its beauty, rarity and durability which makes it an ideal metal choice for timeless jewelry pieces.

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