Oh surprise! You got stunning silver jewellery as a gift! Or was it platinum? Well, the joke’s no longer on you with these surprising facts on how to identify platinum.
When looking to spot the difference of platinum and silver, have a look at these key spots:
- Don’t rely on colour
The colour of platinum and silver jewellery are very similar so that the people who have not enough knowledge on them will be easily dazzled and have difficulty identifying them.
- Look for markings
Identify the jewellery through the stampings and markings on the piece. If the jewellery shows the marks of “PT” or “PLAT”, it is platinum. If it is marked with “S” or “SILVER” that means it is silver. An “S925” mark represents the jewellery which includes 92.5 percent pure silver. The 925 silver jewellery is actually the most popular jewellery among silver accessories. If the jewellery shows “SF,” it means this kind of jewellery contains 7.5 percent copper metal.
It is possible that there are no markings. If the item is void of stamps or marks, it could be that the jewellery could have been made in a country where hallmarks or metal stampings were not required. If the item is quite old or vintage, it could date from a time when markings were not required. Lastly, the jewellery could have been made by a semi-professional craftsperson, which usually means that the item is made of silver, not platinum or white gold.
- Weigh it
It’s possible to identify the jewellery through its weight. Platinum will be weighed with a proportion of 21.40 and silver will be weighed at a proportion of 10.49.
- Settings are telling
If you are looking at a piece of jewellery in which precious stones have been set, you are almost certainly looking at platinum or white gold, not silver. That’s because jewellers would not bother to set diamonds, rubies or other precious stones in silver jewellery.
- Check the hardness
Compare the hardness with the appearance. Carefully observe the platinum: it is bright white but with slightly grey, hard texture and will have no scratches if pricked. Its Mohs hardness is 4.3. While silver is great white and smooth texture, it will change into grayish-white or black after oxidation which could wipe out. Its Mohs is 2.7 – that’s softer than platinum.
- Bring out the big guns
If you are still stuck, it’s possible to identify jewellery through heat and chemicals. These tests can damage some or all of the jewellery piece.
Identify them through burn method. Platinum has a good resistance of high temperature oxidation. Its melting point reaches as high as 1770 ℃ and the colour will not change by burn with high temperature and cooled, but silver has a lower melting point so that it will change to red, black or corvinus which depend on the amount of silver.
Identify them through chemical method. Silver has no excellent resistance to corrosive, while platinum has stronger stable, corrosion-resistant chemical properties and there will be no reaction when platinum meets any acids or alkalis.