Uncovering the allure of Platinum (Pt): Exploring the exceptional properties of this precious metal

Platinum, a lustrous and rare metal, has a rich history dating back thousands of years. It was first discovered by ancient Egyptians in the 7th century BC, who used it to create decorative objects and jewelry. However, it wasn’t until the 18th century that platinum gained recognition as a valuable metal. Today, platinum is highly regarded for its unique properties and is widely used in various industries, including catalysis, jewelry, healthcare, electronics, and more.


  • Platinum (Pt) is a rare and valuable metal that has been used for centuries in jewellery, medicine, and industry.
  • Its distinctive physical and chemical properties make it an ideal catalyst for many chemical reactions, and it is widely used in the production of fertilisers, plastics, and other materials.
  • Platinum (Pt) is also a popular choice for jewellery due to its durability, lustre, and rarity, and it is often used in engagement rings and other high-end pieces.
  • Mining and extracting platinum (Pt) is a complex and expensive process, and it is primarily found in South Africa, Russia, and Canada.
  • Platinum (Pt) has a range of applications in medicine and dentistry, including in chemotherapy drugs and dental implants, and it is also used in electronics and other modern technologies.

Physical and Chemical Properties

Platinum possesses several distinctive physical properties that make it highly sought after. It is a dense metal with a silvery-white color and a high melting point of 1,768 degrees Celsius. Platinum is also highly resistant to corrosion and tarnish, making it an ideal choice for jewelry and other applications where durability is essential.

Chemically, platinum is known for its inertness and stability. It does not react with most acids or bases and is highly resistant to oxidation. This property makes platinum an excellent catalyst in chemical reactions, as it can facilitate the reaction without being consumed or altered itself.

Platinum as a Catalyst

One of the most significant applications of platinum is its use as a catalyst in various industrial processes. As a catalyst, platinum speeds up chemical reactions by lowering the activation energy required for the reaction to occur. This property makes platinum invaluable in industries such as petroleum refining, automotive manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and many others.

In the petroleum industry, platinum catalysts are used to convert crude oil into gasoline and other valuable products through processes such as catalytic cracking and reforming. In the automotive industry, platinum catalysts are used in catalytic converters to reduce harmful emissions from vehicles. Platinum is also used in the production of fertilizers, plastics, and pharmaceuticals.

Platinum in Jewellery

Year Platinum Price per Gram Platinum Jewellery Sales (in grams) Platinum Jewellery Market Share
2015 £23.50 1,500 5%
2016 £28.20 2,000 7%
2017 £31.80 2,500 9%
2018 £27.90 2,000 6%
2019 £32.10 2,800 8%

Platinum has long been considered one of the most prestigious metals for jewelry. Its rarity, durability, and natural white color make it a coveted choice for engagement rings, wedding bands, and other fine jewelry pieces. Platinum is also hypoallergenic, making it an excellent option for individuals with sensitive skin.

Compared to other precious metals such as gold and silver, platinum is denser and more durable. It does not wear down easily and retains its luster over time. Platinum jewelry is often alloyed with other metals such as iridium or ruthenium to enhance its strength and durability.

Rarity of Platinum

Platinum is one of the rarest elements on Earth, with an estimated abundance of only 0.005 parts per million in the Earth’s crust. It is primarily found in a few countries, including South Africa, Russia, and Zimbabwe. The mining and extraction process for platinum is complex and costly, further contributing to its rarity.

Platinum mining involves deep underground mining operations, as platinum deposits are typically found in hard rock formations. The extraction process involves crushing the ore, separating the platinum-containing minerals, and refining them to obtain pure platinum. This process requires significant energy and resources, making platinum a highly valuable metal.

Platinum in Health

Platinum has several applications in the field of healthcare due to its biocompatibility and resistance to corrosion. It is commonly used in medical devices such as pacemakers, stents, and dental implants. Platinum-based drugs are also used in chemotherapy to treat various types of cancer.

In dentistry, platinum alloys are used in dental crowns and bridges due to their strength and resistance to wear. Platinum’s biocompatibility ensures that these dental restorations are well-tolerated by the body and have a long lifespan.

While platinum has many benefits in healthcare, it also has some drawbacks. The high cost of platinum can make medical devices expensive, limiting their accessibility to some patients. Additionally, some individuals may have allergic reactions to platinum, although this is relatively rare.

Platinum in Electronics

Platinum plays a crucial role in modern technology, particularly in the field of electronics. It is used in various electronic devices and components due to its excellent electrical conductivity and resistance to corrosion.

Platinum is commonly used in the production of electrodes, connectors, and sensors for electronic devices. It is also used in the manufacturing of hard disk drives, where it is used as a thin film coating to enhance the performance and durability of the drives.

Environmental Impact of Platinum

The mining and extraction of platinum can have a significant impact on the environment. Platinum mining operations can result in habitat destruction, soil erosion, and water pollution. The use of chemicals such as cyanide and sulfuric acid in the extraction process can also have detrimental effects on ecosystems.

Efforts are being made to reduce the environmental impact of platinum mining and usage. Sustainable mining practices, such as responsible land reclamation and water management, are being implemented by mining companies. Additionally, research is being conducted to develop more environmentally friendly extraction methods for platinum.

Platinum Investing

Platinum is considered a valuable investment due to its rarity and various industrial applications. The price of platinum is influenced by factors such as supply and demand, economic conditions, and geopolitical events.

Investors can gain exposure to platinum through various means, including purchasing physical platinum bullion or investing in platinum exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Platinum futures contracts are also available for those interested in trading platinum on commodity exchanges.

The Future of Platinum

The future of platinum looks promising, with ongoing research and development efforts focused on exploring new applications for this versatile metal. Innovations in catalysis, electronics, healthcare, and other industries are expected to drive the demand for platinum.

In the automotive industry, the shift towards electric vehicles may increase the demand for platinum due to its use in fuel cell technology. Platinum is also being researched for its potential use in renewable energy technologies such as hydrogen fuel cells and solar cells.

In conclusion, platinum is a remarkable metal with a wide range of applications and properties that make it highly valuable. From its use as a catalyst in industrial processes to its role in jewelry, healthcare, electronics, and more, platinum continues to play a vital role in various fields. As research and development efforts continue, the future of platinum looks promising, with potential advancements and innovations that will further enhance its importance and versatility.


What is Platinum (Pt)?

Platinum (Pt) is a chemical element with the symbol Pt and atomic number 78. It is a dense, silvery-white metal that is highly valued for its rarity, durability, and resistance to corrosion.

Where is Platinum found?

Platinum is found in small quantities in various parts of the world, including South Africa, Russia, Canada, and the United States. It is often found in association with other metals, such as nickel and copper.

What are the uses of Platinum?

Platinum has a wide range of uses, including in jewellery, catalytic converters, electrical contacts, laboratory equipment, and dentistry. It is also used in the production of fertilizers, petroleum refining, and the manufacturing of glass and electronics.

Is Platinum rare?

Yes, Platinum is considered a rare metal. It is estimated that the total amount of Platinum ever mined would fit into a cube that is just 25 feet on each side. This rarity contributes to its high value.

What is the price of Platinum?

The price of Platinum varies depending on a number of factors, including supply and demand, economic conditions, and geopolitical events. As of August 2021, the price of Platinum is around £800 per ounce.

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