Platinum Quality Markings

April 1998

For Your Staff

Platinum Quality Markings

Use your platinum knowledge as a sales tool

by Caroline Stanley, Manager of Communications Platinum Guild International USA

Quality marks and alloys in platinum jewelry can raise questions in consumers' minds. Why different alloys? Can my customers tell the difference? Should I stock one over another? Does my bench jeweler care? Here are some answers.

Q: Why have different platinum alloys?
A: The manufacturer/designer selected a particular alloy based on the method of manufacture the piece required. If it was fabricated, perhaps it was a 90% platinum/10% iridium mix. If it was cast recently, it may be a 95% platinum/5% cobalt mix.

Q: Can my customers tell the difference in alloys?
A: No. They will just notice how beautiful the white metal is and how wonderful it feels. Q: Should I stock one platinum alloy over another? A: Don't use alloy composition as a criteria to stock platinum jewelry. Concentrate on what's salable in the 95% and 90% range and don't worry about the rest.

Q: Does my bench jeweler care?
A: Only if the alloy is cobalt. The 95% or 90% alloys technically are the same. Working with the cobalt mix requires additional knowledge. [Fax PGI on your company letterhead at (714) 760-8780 for details.]

Q: How do I know the difference?
A: The accompanying chart offers a quick overview of platinum alloys and markings. Some of the marks are new and some are old, but you should know what they mean and what alloys they represent in case you see them on jewelry a customer brings to you. Post the chart in your store and make sure all of your sales associates understand the differences.

Guide to Platinum Quality Marking

The platinum standard is different from other metals. Gold purity is a familiar subject: 24 karat gold equals 99.99% pure gold, 18 karat is 75% pure and 14 karat is 58.5% pure. In the platinum world, 1,000 parts of platinum equal 100%. All other alloys are derived from these 1,000 parts.


 Common Quality Marks

 Alloy Composition



999 parts per thousand platinum and 1 part other metal


950 parts per thousand platinum and 50 parts other metals (usually ruthenium, iridium, cobalt, copper, tungsten, palladium or a combination of cobalt and copper)


900 parts per thousand platinum and 100 parts other metals (usually iridium or palladium)

IRIDPLAT is 900 parts per thousand platinum and 100 parts per thousand iridium



850 parts per thousand platinum and 150 parts other meatls (usually palladium)


585 parts per thousand platinum and 365 per thousand palladium

30% lighter that high-purity platinum

Caroline Stanley is a past-president of the Arkansas Jewelers Association and the Southwest Guild of the American Gem Society. She now travels for PGI, training retailers across the U.S, and manages a variety of projects.

Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


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