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jewelry glossary

Antique jewelry glossary

Welcome to our extensive antique jewelry glossary with around 1,500 jewelry related entries.If you feel you are missing an explanation, feel free to let us know and we will add it.

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Platinum

A valuable, rare, metallic element that is very heavy, silvery-white, non-corroding, malleable, ductile, and of high tensile strength.

As its price exceeds that of gold, it is used in jewelry only for fine articles, but in the form of platinum alloy. It is fusible with great difficulty (its melting point is 1773.5° C., 3190° F.), hence requiring great heat for annealing or soldering.

It is regarded by some as a desirable setting for diamonds, as it does not readily tarnish and the colours are harmonious.

Platinum was known by the Indians in Columbia and Ecuador before the 15th century, and was used there, for some articles of pre-Columbian jewelry, as almost pure platinum or mixed with gold (not as an alloy but by sintering it into a hammered composite mass).

Not until the mid 19th century was platinum used in Europe, when methods were found to make it fusible. Its principal user in jewelry today is Japan.

From: An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry, autor: Harold Newman, publishers: Thames and Hudson

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