A Brief History of Platinum

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A Brief History of Platinum

A Brief History of Platinum

Platinum is one of the primary precious metals with a rich history from its discovery to gaining value in the market. Platinum is rare in nature. Only about 190 metric tons of platinum have been extracted from the earth’s core. This is because this silver-like precious metal is obtained through a strenuous extraction method. This supply shortage makes it one of the most profitable precious metals investments globally.

Platinum – A History

Platinum is still considered a new type of precious metal compared to gold and silver—even though it has always been there. Catalytic converters are the most common application for this precious metal.

Given its lack of familiarity, the limited history of platinum is a fascinating story that shows how it became one of the key members of the precious metal family.

Early Discovery

According to certain historians, platinum was perceived as a natural blend of silver and gold at the time of its early discovery. Platinum was first discovered in the Casket of Thebes located in Egypt. The element was found combined with silver and gold. Some South American indigenous societies utilized platinum to fabricate jewelry such as nose rings and other ceremonial ornaments.

Spanish Discovery

Some Spanish miners in the 1600s discovered platinum while mining for gold. The miners discarded the precious metal considering it an impure form of gold. This was the first instance when platinum was officially given recognition. They termed the precious metal ‘Platina’, which translated to ‘little silver’.

Colombian Discovery

In 1736, a Spanish scientist examined platinum and wrote the first description in history about its features and distinct behaviors. This led to further examinations of its qualities and properties. The findings intrigued the scientists as it displayed different properties than gold or silver.

Further temperature experiments were held on the metal, which determined platinum’s ability to withstand corrosion and melting properties. This led to several industrial uses.

Uses in 1800

The famous family of Cartier started using platinum in the form of jewelry in early 1800.  

At this time, Colombia was the only producer of platinum. Russia then came forward with its discovery, which Canada followed in 1888. Canada became the largest supplier of platinum after World War I.

In 1924, South Africa discovered its riches of platinum and has since become its largest producer and supplier. The country mines about 75% of the total platinum supply in the global market.

21st Century Price Hike

The world nations had already begun forging platinum into bullion bars late 20th century. However, the precious metal was still sold at a lower price than gold. Platinum saw an erratic increase in its prices during the great recession from 2001 to 2008. Since then, platinum prices have been considered volatile and uncertain in the trading market.

A close up of a platinum wedding ring

If you’re looking to buy platinum bullion coins or bullion bars, contact us at Orion Metal Exchange.

We’re one of the top precious metals investment companies in the United States, with headquarters in Los Angeles. We’ve provided reliable consultation services for our clients for over 50 years in precious metal IRA, gold and silver storage, investing in gold, and many others.

Learn more about us by giving our experts a call. 

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