Unblemished beauty: Does platinum tarnish?
Platinum, with its silvery-white sheen, holds a special place of elegance and luxury in the world of jewellery. Although it came into fashion later than its gold and silver counterparts, its unique blend of rarity, durability, and beauty makes it a sought-after choice, especially for timeless pieces like wedding rings.
But as with all precious metals, there's a natural curiosity about how it ages, particularly in terms of its shine and colour. So, does platinum tarnish? Let's uncover the truth about this precious metal's longevity and lustre.
Does platinum tarnish?
One of the most frequently asked questions about this precious metal goes something like, "Do platinum rings tarnish?" or "Should I worry about my platinum jewellery discolouring over time?" The answer is simple: pure platinum does not tarnish. Like pure gold, its chemical composition makes it highly unreactive, ensuring that it retains its lustre even as time passes.
However, it's crucial to differentiate between pure platinum and platinum alloyed with other metals. While pure platinum remains steadfast against tarnishing, alloyed variations, particularly those combined with metals like copper or cobalt, can exhibit tarnishing over time. This is because the metal impurities in the alloy oxidise in contact with the air.
So if you're worried about tarnishing, always look for pure platinum jewellery.
What if I get water on my platinum jewellery?
Water is a nemesis of many metals. But for platinum? Not so much. If you're wondering whether platinum tarnishes in water, the answer remains the same as with air. Pure platinum is unaffected, even in high humidity or submerged underwater, maintaining its signature shine and elegance.
So, if you've accidentally worn your pure platinum ring in the shower or taken a dip in the pool with your platinum necklace, there's no cause for alarm. However, again, if your platinum is alloyed with other metals that are reactive to water, you may see some tarnishing.
Another word of caution: frequent exposure to water, especially chlorinated or salty water, can dull its shine over time.
Why is my platinum ring turning black?
Discovering a darkened hue on your cherished platinum ring can be disconcerting. However, before jumping to conclusions, it's crucial to understand the nature of platinum.
Pure platinum, in its unadulterated form, does not tarnish. So, if your ring is turning black, it might be due to the presence of other metals in an alloyed piece. These metals, when combined with platinum, can react with certain external elements, leading to a change in colour over time.
Another possibility is the formation of a patina, a natural process that can give your ring a more antique appearance. While some find this aged look appealing, others might prefer the original shine. We'll explore the nuances of patina and how it affects platinum in the upcoming section, offering insights and solutions to maintain or restore your ring's brilliance.
While the allure of platinum doesn't fade, its surface might evolve. Platinum is resistant to tarnishing and rusting, but it isn't immune to the formation of a patina.
A patina is a thin layer that forms on the surface of metals, including platinum, due to chemical reactions with the environment. In the case of platinum, this is primarily a result of its interaction with the oxygen in the air. This process is slow and subtle, leading to a gentle shift in the metal's appearance over time.
For some, a patina is a positive quality of platinum. Many jewellery aficionados cherish this transformation, seeing the patina as a testament to the jewellery's journey and the memories it holds. It's essential to understand that this change is purely superficial and does not compromise the integrity or value of the platinum. Instead, it adds a unique, antique charm, giving the piece a rich history and depth.
Removing platinum patina
If you have a penchant for the pristine, original shine of platinum and wish to remove the patina, here are some steps to consider:
Professional polishing: The most effective way to restore platinum's original lustre is to have it polished by a professional jeweller. They have the tools and expertise to safely remove the patina without damaging the piece.
Mild soap and water: For a gentle clean at home, immerse your platinum jewellery in a solution of warm water and mild dish soap. Gently scrub with a soft-bristled brush, rinse, and pat dry with a soft cloth.
Avoid harsh chemicals: It's crucial to steer clear of abrasive chemicals or cleaning solutions, as they can scratch or damage the platinum's surface.
Regular maintenance: To delay the formation of the patina, regularly clean your platinum pieces and store them in a soft pouch away from other jewellery to prevent scratches.
How to look after your platinum jewellery
Although tarnishing shouldn't be a problem if the metal is pure, like all precious things, your platinum jewellery deserves a touch of tender care. By following a few simple guidelines, you can ensure your platinum jewellery remains as captivating as the day it first graced your collection:
Regular cleaning: Use a soft-bristled brush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water to gently clean your platinum pieces. This will help maintain their shine and remove any accumulated dirt or oils.
Avoid abrasives: While platinum is durable, it can still get scratched. Avoid wearing it when doing tasks that might expose it to abrasive materials.
Store safely: When not wearing your platinum jewellery, store it in a soft pouch or a separate compartment in your jewellery box. This prevents it from getting scratched by other pieces.
Professional check-ups: Periodically, have your platinum jewellery inspected by a professional, especially if it has gemstones. They can ensure settings are secure and give your piece a professional clean.
Limit exposure: While platinum is resistant to most chemicals, it's a good practice to remove your jewellery when using harsh chemicals or entering chlorinated water.
Polish periodically: Over time, platinum can develop a natural patina. If you prefer the original shine, consider having it polished professionally.
If you're keen to understand the nuances of jewellery care, especially when it comes to maintaining that pristine appearance or addressing the occasional scratch, our comprehensive guides on how to remove and avoid scratches on jewellery and how to care for your gold and platinum offer invaluable insights.
Platinum's lasting legacy
Platinum's resistance to tarnishing, combined with the unique character it develops through patina, makes it a sought-after choice for those who appreciate both beauty and substance in their jewellery.
At 7879, we celebrate the enduring charm of platinum, understanding that its allure lies not just in its initial radiance but in the stories it tells over time. Each scratch, each hint of patina, narrates a chapter of the journey you've shared with your piece. And while its appearance may evolve, its essence remains unblemished.
Ready to embark on a journey with a metal that promises both elegance and resilience? Discover our platinum jewellery collection and let your story intertwine with the legacy of this exceptional metal.