Platinum is the next diamond… only more useful [Video]

Platinum and diamonds are both used in jewelry – and they are both suited for use in industry.

They are also both used as investment vehicles – both are extremely rare and valuable.

Both are mined from the earth’s crust, and both have a long history of human use.

Globally, the annual production of platinum is just 192 tons. By comparison, 2½ thousand to 3,000 tons of gold is mined each year.

You can see from this chart how the price of platinum has increased over the last few years.

Because of its use in industry, the recent dip has been caused by lack of production over the pandemic lockdowns and curfews – but it is back on track to recover now.

Diamonds are also used in industry – so let’s take a quick look at them and then at the ways platinum can be used.

The World Diamond Council, reckons only around 30% of diamonds make the grade as gem quality. The rest are used for purposes like grinding, polishing, drilling, and cutting.

Diamonds are suitable for industrial applications because of their physical properties. The word ‘diamond’ is taken from the Greek ‘adamas’, which means ‘unbreakable’ and are the toughest natural material on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness – scoring a 10 out of 10.

Diamonds are perfect for jewelry as they resist scratching. This hardness at means that without damaging themselves, they can cut into most other surfaces with ease. That makes them an almost perfect industrial material.

Diamonds’ ability to conduct electricity or heat and hardness make industrial-grade diamonds sought after. Most of these diamonds are utilized for grinding and cutting tools such as saws and drill bits with diamond tips in industry. There is an incredibly high demand for diamonds to use in devices. High-performance bearings are also created using diamonds.

Some are used as heat sinks in electronic circuits. Blue diamonds which can conduct electricity because of their boron content may also serve as circuit components. Some diamonds are even used in semiconductors. One unusual and very specialized use of diamonds is the “anvil cell.” This is a device for experiments in high-pressure simulating environments deep in the core of a planet.

The majority of diamonds mined in nature go to industry, but artificial diamonds are also created synthetically for industrial use. There are around 570,000,000 carats worth of industrial diamonds Used each year, which equates to 110,000 kg.

As there is no objective measure of a diamond’s quality, the price is determined by demand and supply. This can vary so much that a gemstone-quality diamond can be relegated to an industrial one if demand is low.

Issues of supply and demand can impact the value of any given stone. The phrase ‘diamonds are forever’ may have been a marketing invention, but it has some basis in reality. Diamonds are an essential part of modern industry with practical value and utility.

Their use in circuitry is a bonus on top of the quality of hardness that makes them so perfect for material cutting.

So – how does this incredible usage compare with that of platinum?

They are very different materials with very different qualities and very different applications – but both have their place within industry-specific applications.

Platinum is a thick, solid, and uncommon metal that is often utilized in jewelry due to its appealing silver-like appearance and medicinal, electrical, and chemical applications due to its diverse chemical and physical characteristics.

  • Pt is the atomic symbol for platinum.
  • It is the 78th atomic number.
  • It’s a transition metal – which is a kind of element.
  • It is a dense metal – 21.45 grams per centimeter.
  • It has a melting point of 3214.9 °F (1768.3 °C) 
  • It has a boiling point of 6917 °F (3825 °C)
  • It is 4-4.5 on Moh’s scale of hardness – compared with the diamond’s hardness.

Platinum metal offers various valuable qualities, which is why it’s used in so many different sectors. It is one of the densest metal elements (almost twice as dense as lead) and one of the most stable, giving it excellent corrosion resistance.

Platinum is malleable (able to be shaped without breaking) and ductile (able to be bent without losing strength) as well as being an excellent conductor of electricity.

Because platinum is non-toxic and stable, it does not react with or adversely affect physiological tissues, making it a medically friendly metal. In a recent study, platinum has also been demonstrated to suppress the development of some malignant cells.

Francois Chabaneau was the first to synthesize a pure sample of platinum metal in 1783, even though it had been investigated by several English, French, and Spanish chemists from the mid-eighteenth century.

William Wollaston, an Englishman, created a technique for extracting metal from ore in 1801, which is similar to today’s procedure.

Growing demand led to the discovery of substantial deposits of this new resource in the Ural Mountains in 1824 and Canada in 1888. Still, it wasn’t until 1924 that a farmer in South Africa found a platinum nugget in a riverbank that platinum’s destiny was forever changed. As a result, geologist Hans Merensky discovered the Bushveld igneous complex, still the world’s biggest platinum deposit.

Although specific industrial uses for platinum (such as spark plug coatings) were in use by the mid-twentieth century, most of today’s electrical, medicinal, and automotive uses were only developed after 1974, when US air quality legislation launched the autocatalyst era.

Since then, platinum has grown in popularity as a financial asset, and it is now traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange and the London Platinum and Palladium Market.

South Africa is by far the most significant producer of platinum, providing over 75% of global demand, with resources concentrated in the Bushveld complex. The biggest individual producers of platinum metal are Anglo Platinum (Amplats), Norilsk Nickel, and Impala Platinum (Implats). Russia (25 tons) and Zimbabwe (7.8 tons) are other significant producers.

The good news is that not all platinum is created from primary sources. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), recycled platinum accounted for nearly 30% of the 8.53 million ounces of platinum produced globally in 2012.

The jewelry sector, which uses it mainly in the alloy that generates white gold, is the most significant user, accounting for around 40% of demand. Over 40% of wedding bands sold in the United States are thought to contain some platinum. Platinum jewelry is most popular in the United States, China, Japan, and India.

Platinum is suitable as a catalyst in chemical processes because of its corrosion resistance and high-temperature stability. Catalysts accelerate chemical processes without changing their chemical properties.

Catalytic converters for vehicles are platinum’s most crucial use in this industry, accounting for around 37% of overall demand. Catalytic converters minimize dangerous chemicals in exhaust emissions by triggering processes that transform 90% of hydrocarbons (carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides) into less toxic molecules.

Platinum is also used to accelerate nitric acid and gasoline reactions, resulting in higher octane values in gasoline. Platinum crucibles are used to create semiconductor crystals for lasers in the electronics sector. In contrast, alloys make magnetic disks for computer hard drives and switch contacts in-vehicle systems.

Platinum is in high demand in the medical business because of its conductive characteristics in pacemaker electrodes, aural and retinal implants, and its anti-cancer effects in medications (e.g., carboplatin and cisplatin).

Here is a list of some other main uses of platinum:

  • Manufacturing high-temperature thermocouples.
  • Flat, optically pure glass for TVs, LCDs, and monitors
  • Creating glass threads for fiber optics
  • In the alloys used to make the tips of spark plugs for automobiles and airplanes.
  • In electrical connections, as a gold replacement.
  • Ceramic capacitor coatings for electrical devices
  • For jet fuel nozzles and missile nose cones made of high-temperature alloys
  • In the field of dental implants,
  • To create high-end flutes
  • Detectors for smoke and carbon monoxide
  • In the production of specialist silicones
  • In razor blade coatings

As you can see from this list alone, platinum is here to stay – and like diamonds – will only become more valuable over time.

As part of a diversified investment strategy – you could do a lot worse…


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