Professional Jeweler Archive: Simply Platinum

June 2000

Feature


Simply Platinum

Lighter weight styles, gemstone diversity, open links and contrasting finishes mark this year's platinum trends


Platinum – pure and simple – is stretching beyond bridal and becoming a metal of choice for many jewelry aficionados. Its cool, understated demeanor is contemporary yet timeless, one reason consumers are willing to make the investment in this most expensive of precious metals.

“When people invest in higher priced jewelry, like platinum, they don’t want trendy; they want a clean tailored look that is timeless,” says Leslie Resio, president and general manager of Ed Levin Jewelry, Cambridge, NY. Platinum jewelry design trends fulfill this desire in substantial but sophisticated jewelry with minimal detail.

Size

This demand for substance is reflected in all types of jewelry, but platinum can be a challenge because it’s the heaviest and most expensive precious metal ($490 per ounce vs. $275 for gold and $5.10 for silver at press time).

Designers find ways to get around weight and cost by creating big jewelry using filigree, die-struck or extruded tube techniques.

Earrings are a particular concern regarding weight. If a customer insists on larger platinum earrings, suggest clip backs so the weight of the earring doesn’t tear a larger hole in the ear lobe. “However, they must fit majestically on the lobe for customer satisfaction,” says Charles Krypell, designer and owner of Charles Krypell Inc., New York City.

On the Surface

Much of today’s platinum jewelry is all white, but this doesn’t mean it’s stark and boring. Designers create two-tone looks by combining matte, brushed, satin and hammered finishes. Occasionally, they add a hint of color with 18k yellow gold accents.

Gems

Platinum is traditionally the metal for the best diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald jewelry. But many of the world’s top designers also introduced platinum jewelry with other colored gems at Basel 2000, the world’s largest jewelry trade show. As the look finds its way into more mainstream jewelry design, consumers will find platinum maintains its cool while serving as a canvas for color, particularly black pearls, all blue gems, rubellite and even the warmer colors of peridot and citrine. The important thing to remember is quality: only the very best qualities of these gems find their way into platinum.

Round and square or emerald cuts of 1-4 carats are the classic gem shapes for platinum jewelry. “The emerald cut is full of self-confidence,” says Scott Kay, owner/designer of Scott Kay Platinum, Hackensack, NJ. “It doesn’t say, ‘Here I am, I have to be loud.’ Like platinum, it is very refined.” Used properly, straight and tapered baguettes offer modulating forms and create movement when combined.

Trends by Category

Designers shared the following thoughts on what consumers want in each of the following platinum jewelry categories. Consider each when planning your inventory for the important fourth quarter of the year.

  • Earrings. Hoops should be small, classic, contemporary and clean; a hammered or shiny finish is popular. For customers who want a bigger look, suggest stud earrings bezel-set with diamonds or colored gems. For fashion-forward customers, stock sculpted earrings that flair out a bit.
  • Necklaces. They should have movement, but should be kept delicate and feminine. Multilayered chains are making a comeback. Pendants, slides and toggle clasps add texture and versatility.
  • Rings. In bridal jewelry, move beyond matched sets; women are interested also in the flexibility afforded by rings of different designs that can be used together or separately. For other platinum rings, customers tend toward the bold and dramatic. Design interest stems from pavé, big colored gems, textured finishes or 18k yellow gold accents.
  • Bracelets. Choose lightweight bracelets with open links that seem to swim on the wrist. Gold accents are highly desirable.

– by Lorraine M. Suermann

Naming It

If customers are confused by platinum quality markings, here’s a quick guide, based on the fact pure platinum is 1,000 parts or 100% platinum:

  • Pt999 is 999 parts platinum and 1 part other metal.
  • Pt950, 950Plat or 950Pt is 950 parts platinum and 50 parts other metal (usually ruthenium, iridium, cobalt, copper, tungsten, palladium or a combination of cobalt and copper).
  • Pt900, 900 Plat or 900Pt is 900 parts platinum and 100 parts other metal (usually iridium or palladium).
  • IRIDPLAT or 10%IridPlatinum is 900 parts platinum and 100 parts iridium.
  • Pt850, 850Plat or 850Pt is 850 parts platinum and 150 parts other metal (usually palladium).
  • 585Plat415Pall or 585Plat365Pall is 585 parts platinum and 365 parts palladium.

Selling It

Here are some qualities and characteristics of platinum to share with customers:

  • Platinum jewelry sales have increased 1,000% over the past seven years, says the Platinum Guild USA-Jewelry.
  • Platinum’s color enhances diamond and colored gemstones.
  • Platinum is highly durable because of its density, which is 60% more than gold.
  • Platinum is hypoallergenic and will not tarnish.

The top platinum ring has 2.72 carats of square and baguette diamonds and is $7,190 suggested retail. The middle ring features a 1.36-ct. sapphire surrounded by 1.32 carats of diamonds and is $5,560. The bottom ring showcases a 1.86-ct. ruby with 0.58 carat of oval diamonds and is $4,360.

Carl K. Gumpert and Pacific Gem Cutters, Los Angeles,CA; (800) 843-3998 or (213) 626-6531, fax (213) 627-4406, www.ckgumpert.com.

Satin-finished platinum with diamond accents is the focus of the Rapunzel Collection. Suggested retail, $16,500 for the necklace, $3,895 for the earrings.

Rudolf Erdel Platinum, New York City; (212) 633-9333, fax (212) 242-7678.

Swirl platinum french-back earrings are $420 suggested retail.

Ed Levin Jewelry, Cambridge, NY; (518) 677-8595, (888) 677-8597.

3mm hoop earrings feature 0.15-ct. bezel-set diamond drops.

Scott Kay Platinum, Hackensack, NJ; (800) 487-2724 or (201) 487-2729, fax (201) 487-2119.

Platinum ruffle brooch is woven by hand and features a 12mm-by-7mm blue chalcedony stickpin attachment. Suggested retail, $3,050.

Barbara Berk Designs, Foster City, CA; (650) 349-4137, fax (650) 349-4042, bmberk@usa.net.

Omega necklaces are rendered in .950 platinum.

Bhamra Chain Manufacturing Corp., Union, NJ; (908) 686-4555, fax (908) 686-4556.

Heart-shaped center cutouts define these platinum pendants.

Pasquale Bruni, New York, NY; (212) 218-7858, fax (212) 218-7855.

Platinum heart pendant is set with 0.30 carat of full-cut round diamonds. Suggested retail, $1,575.

Infinity Line Mfg. Inc., Los Angeles, CA;
(213) 689-1767, fax (213) 689-1742.

Jewelry from the Celebration collection. The bracelet features 5.15 carats of brilliant-cut diamonds and is $17,150 suggested retail. The ring has 1.35 carats of diamonds and is $5,020. 1.85 carats of diamonds circle these earrings, which are $7,040.

Aaron Henry Designs, Los Angeles, CA;
(213) 623-4228, fax (213) 623-7891.

Platinum rings (from left) feature 1.26 carats of diamonds with 1.20 carats of sapphires, 0.32 carat of diamonds with 2.73 carats of rubies and 1.99 carats of diamonds. Suggested retail, $9,300-$10,200.

James Breski & Co., Chicago, IL; (312) 782-6591.

Platinum ring at left features sprinkles of white diamonds while the other platinum ring holds yellow and white diamonds.

Sholdt Design, Seattle, WA; (206) 623-2334, fax (206) 682-6204.

13mm black pearl rests in a platinum setting with 0.10 carat of diamond accents. Suggested retail, $4,450 including the chain.

Jeffery Pratt Fine Jewelry, Dallas,TX; (972) 386-8955, fax (972) 392-4471.

Ruby, sapphire, emerald and diamond are the key elements in these platinum slide pendants on platinum omega necklaces.

Charles Krypell Inc., New York City; (212) 752-3313, fax (212) 688-4967.

Platinum and 18k gold double-sided pendant is set with a heart-shaped diamond and gold rivets. It hangs on a handmade 18k gold and platinum chain.

Catherine Iskiw, New York City; (212) 794-6392.

Heliconia bracelet is crafted in platinum and set with diamond pavé.

Jeannette Fossas, San Juan, Puerto Rico; (787) 722-4154, fax (787) 722-3858.

Platinum bracelet is set with 4.0 carats of diamonds. Suggested retail, $15,100-$16,700, depending on the diamonds.

Memoire Paris, Skaneateles, NY; (315) 685-1343, fax (315) 685-0403.

Hand-fabricated platinum bracelet has 7.0 carats of diamonds and is $35,000 suggested retail.

Ellie Thompson & Co., Chicago, IL; (312) 263-2264.

A set of antique-inspired platinum and diamond earrings is $6,500 suggested retail.

Superior Diamond Cutters Inc., New York City; (800) 342-0036, fax (212) 355-6708, www.superiordiamond.com, diamonds@ingress.com.

Platinum bracelet features 0.84 carat of G/VS1 diamonds. Suggested retail, $6,600.

MD Jewels, Rochester, NY; (716) 271-4386, fax (716) 442-9487.

The platinum ring at top has 0.33 carat of diamond accents. The other platinum ring has 0.13 carat of diamonds.

Jeanne Cole Signature Originals, Van Nuys, CA; (818) 988-5398, fax (818) 988-6398, info@jeannecole.com, www.jeannecole.com.

This jewelry suite is crafted in .950 platinum set with Tahitian pearls and 1.50 carats of F-G/VS diamonds.

Cede GmbH, Pforzheim, Germany; (49-723) 146-3091, fax (49-723) 146-3095.

Platinum bangle has 0.26 carat of burnish-set diamonds and is $1, 775 suggested retail. Matching hinged hoop earrings with 0.27 carat of diamonds are $900.

Barnett Robinson Inc., New York, NY; (800) 223-0240 or (212) 682-1086, fax (212) 682-1848.

Platinum ring features 0.55 carat of yellow sapphires and 1.35 carats of round and princess-cut diamonds. Retail, $7,145.

Jack Kelege & Co., Los Angeles, CA; (213) 622-1290, fax (213) 622-0363.


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