| Silver | Platinum
Platinum has been used for thousands of years, but it was
not recognised as a chemical element until1735. Of three perecious metals,
gold, silver & platinum - it is the rarest and most valuable.Platinum is a
slightly more dense than pure gold and about twice as dense as silver. early
jewelers had difficulty acheiving the 1,773ºC (3,223ºF) needed to melt
platinum. It wasn't untill the 1920s that the technology was developed
sufficiently to work this metal.
Platinum forms in igneous rocks, usually as ores in which
the grains of platinum are often too minuteto be seen with naked eye. The main
occurrrances of platinum is in South Africa, Canada, USA and Russia.
During the latter eighteenth century, platinum had some industrial uses. It
was used to make durable laboratory instruments in Berlin in 1784. In France
crucibles for glass production used it, a significant use still today.
Platinum also began to impress jewellers and goldsmiths. Leading metal
workers, such as Marc Janety, Royal Goldsmith to Louis XVI, and Pierre
Chabaneu, of Spain, were using platinum to make expensive cutlery,
watch-chains and coat buttons.
Platinum jewelry remained rare until high-temperature
jewelers’ torches were developed. After this, jewellery makers made quick
advantage of platinum. As jewelers became more adept at using platinum, it
quickly became the diamond setting of choice.
|In November of 1983, The Isle of Man, a British Crown
Possession, issued a one ounce Noble platinum bullion coin. The highly
successful Noble enticed other mints to issue their own platinum coins.
During the second half of 1988, Australia (the Koala) and Canada (the Maple
Leaf) introduced platinum legal tender bullion coins within three months of
each other. Despite the proximity of the launches, both introductions were
enormously successful, bringing the level of investment demand to new highs.
For nearly ten years, Australia’s Koala and Canada’s Maple Leaf were among
the leading platinum coins
in annual sales. Not until 1997 was the platinum American Eagle released.
New uses for platinum are being discovered almost
daily amidst a supply that is extremely restricted. Remarkable
difficulties exist in its mining and production, with between 5 and 6
million ounces of new platinum reaching the world market each year, less
than 5% of gold production. Estimates of all of the platinum ever mined
would fill a room measuring less than twenty-five feet on each side.
Mining and refining the metal is an intricate process of extraction that
takes about six months.
and scope of platinum’s industrial uses have skyrocketed during this
century to include neurosurgical and dental apparatus, drugs for cancer
computer and automotive equipment. Indeed, one of every five goods
manufactured either contains or is produced using platinum. One of
its most ess ential uses is in auto catalytic converters. Within
autocatalysts, platinum converts harmful emissions into carbon
dioxide and water. Nearly one third of newly mined platinum is used
in this fashion.