Platinum's Striking Beauty
Precimet, a leader in making die-struck rings, expands to reach retailers directly
One hundred tons of pressure finally pounds out the platinum wedding band blanks at Precimet, completing the last step in the production process of die-struck rings. The rings are such high quality that jewelers and consumers show their appreciation through silence.
Thats the sound consumers make when theyre happy they dont complain that these platinum bands scratch easily or that the plating is wearing out. For one thing, there is no plating ever. Platinum is so polished, I think its silly to plate it, says Geordie Lambros, Precimet vice president. Because we die-strike ours, the polish is extremely high, and the rings are strong, durable and without porosity.
Precimet is already a well-known name among manufacturers, because it supplies them with die-struck ring blanks and other mill products. In the past 18 months, it also started selling direct to retailers and is expanding into designer platinum wedding bands through its GCL Jewelry division.
Rare U.S. Manufacturer
Only a few companies make die-struck platinum bands in this country, says Lambros. Instead, manufacturers often make platinum rings from extruded tubing or by casting processes. Some also plate the final results with rhodium to create the polished look some jewelers deem necessary.
Plating is done so often with white gold that some feel platinum needs it too, says Lambros. But if the ring is die-struck, its so dense and the molecules are so tightly packed that the platinum is easily polished and will retain that polish extremely well. Sizing die-struck platinum rings is also simpler for bench jewelers theyll stretch two sizes without cracking, he says. By contrast, cast pieces or rings made from tubing might not be so densely packed. This may explain why consumers may see scratches on platinum jewelry made using these processes.
Remember, though, all platinum rings show scratches more readily than gold. Ironically, the reason is because when platinum scratches, the metal is merely displaced, not lost, but when gold scratches, the scuffs tend to wear away along with the metal. So while jewelers can assure customers their platinum rings will never wear down as gold rings do, platinum will show the scratches more. The Platinum Guild International advises retailers to remind consumers that platinum can be repolished without a loss of metal if the patina that develops on a ring isnt acceptable (gold can also be repolished, but metal is lost during the process).
Precimets alloy and manufacturing process make scratches less likely to occur, says Lambros. The molecules in the metal are packed at several stages in the operation. Starting with bars of its own 952 platinum alloy (which contains 4.8% ruthenium), Precimet hammers the metal with a 20-ton press and rolls it into plate, which compresses it into an even tighter structure. The company then makes the ring blanks using a 100-ton press.
Lambros grandfather, George, graduated from the engineering, architecture and art school Cooper Union in New York City and then earned a masters degree in metallurgy at Columbia University. He founded a refining company on Fulton Street in Manhattan in 1938. Then he went on to play a key role in developing rhodium plating used in precious-metals manufacturing.
After working for decades in many areas of the metals business, Georges son, Dean (currently CEO), continued the companys expansion and operation. In 1994, Geordie Lambros helped the company as it started to focus on platinum bands. The platinum business skyrocketed at that time, and Precimet was among its engines, supplying top jewelry houses with finely made rings. It remains a family-run, U.S.-based company thats a prime manufacturer for some of the worlds best-known brands.
For the manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer, Precimets complete list of services includes supplying rings in finger sizes 3 to 16 and in widths from 2mm to 10mm. Its styles include half-round, flat, low-dome, beveled-edge, millgrain, knife-edge, hi-low and tapered. Its manufacturing capabilities include drilling, channeling, azuring, computer numerical control-machining and comfort fitting. Retailers may order polished rings in needed sizes on a prompt-payment basis only. Wire and plate are sold to manufacturers also.
In addition the company offers its services to retailers through its GCL Jewelry division, of which Lambros is president and chief designer. He has designed many new styles for this division and will expand the line late this year and early next year. These are New Age designs for wedding bands, some with diamonds, says Lambros.
- Precimet; East Northport, NY; (631) 462-4490, www.precimet.com.
by Michael Thompson
||Precimet is one of a handful of companies making die-struck platinum wedding bands in the U.S. The process is credited with making the rings less likely to show scratches. Styles shown (clockwise from top left) are Park Avenue-flat, knife-edge, plain-flat, half-round double-millgrain, flat-step and beveled.