Often taking a back seat to its better known cousins of gold and silver, platinum has its own unique story to tell. It is one of the most rare and valuable metals available today and has many uses that keeps it in constant demand.
The tale of platinum dates back to the early days of the Egyptians. The Egyptians used precious metals for all manner of reasons and this can be witnessed by the famous casket of Thibes, adorned in platinum, gold and silver. Seeing platinum take a prominent place beside the better known gold and silver makes an important statement regarding how the ancient Egyptians viewed platinum. South american tribes were also found to have discovered and made use of platinum in their jewelry, converting it much like the other precious metals.
In the 16th century, when the ‘New World’ was being discovered, the Spanish were introduced to platinum for the first time. At the time the Spanish did not understand the full scope of what platinum represented and were often found during silver and gold exploration. They coined the term "platina" which is a derivative of the word "silver: in Spanish which is "plata".
Platinum was not recognized as its own element until 1751 when its properties were researched and understood. With no corrosion and lack of pliability the metal was used primarily as decoration once its melting point was discovered. Over time, platinum began to gain interest and use from jewelers and metal workers - suddenly platinum was showing up in buttons, chains and even high-end cutlery.
Nations of the world began to adopt platinum for various industrial, investment and business purposes. After World War 1, Canada was the largest producer of platinum however today South Africa lays claim to the country with the largest amount of platinum deposits. Today, we see platinum show up in many common items like cars, jewelry and computer electronics. It hasn’t always been easy however platinum holds a top spot beside gold and silver as precious metals that we would not know what to do without it, it is that important to society. And with platinum consumption increasing globally, the trend does not appear to be coming to an end anytime soon.