The appeal of the shiny, silvery white platinum is undeniable, and it’s one of the main reasons it is integral to the jewelry industry.
The Mayans used it as jewelry. But for the early European explorers, it was rather a nuisance. It was regarded as an impurity when they mined gold in the Americas. However, by the 1700s scientific interest in the new metal grew, and scientists found interesting characteristics that made it valuable.
Aside from the fact that it had its own beauty that’s distinct from gold and silver, it was also heavier than the other two metals. What fascinated the scientists was that it was very durable. It didn’t react much to other elements, and it is resistant to corrosion, tarnish and wear. It also had a very high melting point. It was more ductile than even copper, and next to gold and silver it is the most malleable of all metals.
Below is the historical Platinum price per troy oz.
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Price History of Platinum
In March of 2016 the price of platinum has hovered around the $1,000 per ounce mark. This metal is one of the most expensive commodities in the market today for two main reasons that involve supply and demand. The supply is always on the low side, as it is very rarely found in the Earth’s crust. It’s also not easy to obtain the pure metal by extracting it from deposits. Usually, it’s commercially obtained as a by-product resulting from the mining and processing of copper and nickel.
The annual worldwide production is only a few hundred metric tons. In 2010, only 192 metric tons were produced worldwide. Supply lines can easily be disrupted because the main producer is South Africa, which accounts for 77% of the supply. Russia is a distant second at 13%, but together these two countries produce 90% of the world’s supply of this metal.
The other reason for its high price is the great demand for the metal. It has numerous industrial uses, and most notably as a catalyst. Thus, the demand for the metal is tremendous in the automotive industry, because all new automobiles have a catalytic converter that contains this metal. The catalytic converter is necessary because it helps the gasoline burn more efficiently, and it reduces the amount of dangerous substances released in the air. Right now, the growth of the automotive industry in emerging markets such as China has boosted the price of the metal.
That’s not to mention that it is also very popular as jewelry. It’s called “white gold” for a reason. While the traditionalists hold fast with their fascination for gold and silver, the younger generation distinguishes itself by opting for platinum in their jewelry instead. It’s why in markets like India, this type of jewelry is on the rise.
Platinum as Investment
This metal can be a very attractive investment for several good reasons. It can be a safe haven for currency, so it can function as a backup against inflation. Another reason is that the price of the metal can undergo spikes in either direction, so profits can be made if the investor can correctly predict the future increase or decrease in the prices. Finally, the metal is heavily tied in to the state of the automotive industry and to jewelry trends, so it shouldn’t be difficult to anticipate higher demand.
You can invest in platinum in several ways. You can own the metal directly, and this is feasible because it comes with a very high price per ounce. That makes storage affordable, and you can buy bars and coins. You can also engage in futures trading, as you try to anticipate the price movements in the future.
It is also possible for you to buy stocks in mining companies. The best-known ones include the Stillwater Mining Company, Anglo Platinum, and Impala Platinum. Finally, you can also buy shares in ETFs that invest in these kinds of trading methods.
Purposes Used For
As we’ve said, its most common use is in catalysts. Aside from its use in the manufacture of catalytic converters, it’s also used in other ways. A platinum catalyst is widely used in the petroleum industry. It makes it possible for the crude oil to be converted to petroleum products like fuel oil and gasoline. In addition, these catalysts can also be used to make various compounds that are sold as plastics, fertilizers, drugs, and other everyday items.
And then there’s jewelry. It’s very popular for several reasons, aside from the fact that it is expensive and therefore valuable. It’s quite fashionable among the trendy set because it is not as ubiquitous as gold and silver, and it comes with its own understated elegance. It’s also durable, so it can be worn safely every day. It resists tarnish, and it’s even hypoallergenic.
Buying platinum jewelry makes a lot of sense. It adds to your overall fashion style and it is also great as an investment.