If you go shopping for platinum jewelry, you are going to find an awful lot of it. You’ll find it listed in online local ads and on online auction sites. You might even find platinum engagement rings listed in ads in local newspapers. And if you peruse the display cases at an antique store or mall, you might see that is labeled as platinum.
The problem is, a good number of those items might not be platinum at all. Sometimes sellers are not trying to deceive you and other potential buyers - they list an item as platinum just because it is white and shiny. They assume that it is made of platinum without ever testing the it to determine whether that is true.
But don’t fall for it. Here are some other white shiny metals that can be mistaken for, or misrepresented as, platinum.
- Base metal or pot metal - These are catch-all terms for all kinds of non-precious metals and alloys that contain nickel, tin, lead, zinc and even lead. These cheap alloys are used to make all kinds of inexpensive costume jewelry, often plated with a thin layer of silver to make it look more valuable than it really is.
- White gold - This is a white-colored alloy of gold that can contain silver, platinum and other metals. It is a precious metal, therefore valuable.
- Silver - It tarnishes, scratches and doesn’t look like platinum. But if freshly polished, it can fool the eye and look at lot like platinum.
- Silver and other metals that have been plated with platinum - These too can fool the eye. Because only the plating of platinum is visible, it is tempting to think they are made of pure platinum.
- Pewter - This is a soft white metal that is an alloy of tin that has been mixed with other metals that can be copper, silver, bismuth and even lead. Although it is greyer in tone than white, it can still be called a white metal. You know it is not worth too much because it is used to make inexpensive items like beer mugs and paperweights.
- Aluminum - Few people would ever mistake aluminum for platinum. It is soft, easily scratched, and inexpensive. That explains why aluminum, not platinum, is used to make soda cans. But because it is white and shiny, we are including it on this list of white metals.
How Can You Protect Yourself from Buying Items that Are Falsely Presented as Platinum?
- Don’t pay more than you should. Even if an item is bright and shiny and looks like platinum, resist the temptation to pay top dollar for it. If you are not sure if the item is being honestly or correctly presented for sale, don’t buy it unless you can get it for a give-away price of just a few dollars.
- Buy from reputable jewelers or other retailers who stand behind what they sell. Explain that you would like to have what you are buying tested by a qualified precious metals refining company like Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners. Have the seller sign an agreement in which he agrees to accept a return of the item for the amount you paid if it turns out not to be platinum.
- Look for stamped markings. Many platinum items - though not all - are stamped with either the letter P or with a mark like PLAT 999. (“PLAT 999” indicates that the item you are looking at is nearly pure platinum; other stampings, like “PLAT 950” indicate that the platinum the object is made of contains other metals and is less pure.)
Remember, We Are Here to Test What You Own and Confirm Its Metal Content
If you need to know what your metal items are really made of, give our precious metals consultants a call today. We are standing by at 800-426-2344 to offer honest advice and guidance about having your platinum items tested.
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