Platinum, the newly found treasure

By March 12, 2021 No Comments

The origin of the name

In the name of things we often find their history and platinum is no exception.

Its name derives from the Spanish platina, diminutive of plata, meaning silver. The Spanish Conquistadores met it for the first time in Colombia, where Platinum and its alloys had long been known to create ceremonial rings and jewels.

Initially, the Spaniards considered Platinum to be an inferior metal, an “unripe gold”, and often threw it in the rivers of Ecuador to become mature.

The first mention in European documents is from 1557, by the Venetian humanist Giulio Cesare Scaligero (1484-1558),  who describes it as “a mysterious metal found in the mines of Panama and Mexico … so far impossible to melt according to the methods known to the Spaniards “.

Fragments of meteorite

But if Platinum is a recent metal for Europeans, the same cannot be said for more ancient cultures.

The ‘new metal’, in fact, is much older than one might think. Fragments of platinum have been found in the meteorites that crashed into the earth two billion years ago. Since then, this rare and seductive metal has appeared sporadically throughout history. Sometimes it disappears for centuries, but it’s always fascinating to those who had the opportunity to see it.

Platinum in the Egyptians

Around 1200 BC the Egyptians imported gold that contained traces of platinum from the ancient kingdom of NUBIA and made it into jewels and ornaments using the two metals mixed. The counselor of the king of Thebes, the high priestess Shepenupet, was buried in a precious sarcophagus decorated with gold and platinum hieroglyphs. A small platinum casket (pictured on the left) was also placed in his grave. Platinum subsequently disappeared for two millennia, forgotten for hundreds of years, only to reappear briefly when European explorers set out to discover the new world.

Nel XVIII secolo, il platino cominciò ad arrivare in Europa e diventò presto un ingrediente altamente apprezzato dagli alchimisti. Per le sue qualità chimiche il platino veniva utilizzato per pozioni di intrepidi inventori che cercavano di trasformare il piombo in oro.

The ingredient of the alchemists

In the 18th century, platinum began to arrive in Europe and soon became a highly prized ingredient of alchemists. Due to its chemical qualities, platinum was used for potions by intrepid inventors who were trying to turn lead into gold. But it is from the 19th century that Platinum became a popular metal, thanks to the King of France Louis XVI who declared it the only metal suitable for kings. His court goldsmith Marc Etienne Janety forged numerous table objects for him, including a beautiful sugar bowl.

Fabergé’s masterpieces

In 1884. Peter Carl Fabergé, goldsmith of the Russian tsars, created a jeweled egg for Alexander III, who gave it to his wife Maria. Fabergé’s jewels became legendary masterpieces, adorned with platinum and precious stones. The making of each piece was a closely guarded secret.

Elizabeth’s crown

In 1936-7, King Edward VII of England abdicated to marry the divorced Wallis Simpson and George VI became king.

At the inauguration ceremony, his wife Elizabeth (the late Queen Mother) was crowned with a precious platinum crown that bore the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond. Edward, now Duke of Windsor, married Wallis Simpson and exchanged a pair of platinum wedding rings with her. Wallis, the Duchess of Windsor, was a great expert and collector of jewelry and claimed that platinum is the only possible metal for jewelry to wear with evening dresses.

Giansante, heir to the culture of platinum processing

Today, Platinum can be found in different areas of the world like the USA, Australia, Russia, Germany, England, Brazil, Colombia and South Africa.

Platinum is an ancient treasure, the metal preferred by stars, worn on the occasion of the most prestigious events and preferred by illustrious personalities in the world of culture.

Giansante Gioielli, thanks to the great skill and technical precision, is able to shape this precious metal by transforming it into unique jewels, able to create timeless emotions.

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