5 Things To Know Before You Buy Platinum Jewelry

Platinum has come a long way from being a metal affordable only by the elite, being accessible even to middle class patrons. Both industry experts and jewelry retailers are slowly changing their opinion about the exclusivity of platinum jewelry; especially because the trend is spreading from the metros to other parts of the country as well. Platinum Guild International (PGI), an industry body supported by South African platinum producers and refiners, has stated that the demand for platinum jewelry is poised to grow over 35% during this calendar year. The industry has grown from 2 manufacturers and 15 retailers in the year 2000, to 17 manufacturers and over 800 retailers in the present date.

If you are planning to adorn your jewelry box with platinum, here are a few things you should know.

Platinum cannot be considered an investment
If you are planning to buy platinum jewelry as an investment, think again. The consumption of platinum, though on the rise, still isn’t as popular as gold and diamonds in the country. Presently, the consumption of gold stands at about 850 tons, while the consumption of platinum is only about 40 tons in comparison. Therefore, if you are planning to pick up platinum from an investment point of view, the market doesn’t seem mature enough for that just as yet. If people want to pick up gold as an investment, they can choose between jewelry, bars, biscuits or coins. But with platinum, since none of the other options are readily available, people are compelled only to buy jewelry.

Always check for certification
For any precious metal, the price you pay is directly related to its purity. The purity and type of the metal is defined by a hallmark. Platinum hallmarks are displayed differently in different countries. For instance, platinum jewelry in India is stamped with a Pt950 mark, which denotes 95% purity. Be sure to keep an eye out for tamper-proof quality assurance cards. Besides this, each piece of jewelry also has a Unique Identification Number stamped on it to indicate the maker of the piece.

The hallmarking of gold and platinum are very different. The testing process that is used for gold cannot be applied to platinum. Therefore, Platinum Guild India Pvt. Ltd has appointed Underwriters Laboratories to check the authenticity of platinum jewelry; monitor and audit the quality assurance scheme; and to assure purity across authorized retail outlets.

Keep the making charges in mind
Making charges refer to the amount you would need to pay for the labor involved in making a piece of jewelry. Usually, labor charges are a percentage of the current platinum price. These charges are normally higher than that of gold. Therefore, the higher the price of the platinum jewelry you buy, the higher the making charges would be.

Why are these making charges so high, you ask?
Well, the reasons are many. The first one being that platinum, being a hard metal, requires a high melting point for detailed carving and milling. Now this can only be done in factories with expensive manufacturing facilities and skilled craftsmen. The second reason is that India does not have platinum reserves, and usually imports the metal mainly from South Africa. All these factors contribute to high making charges.

Making charges in India range between 11% and 25% of the cost of platinum. On an average, plain bands have the least making charges, whereas designer bangles and necklaces cost more. Remember to bargain with your jeweler on making charges.

Compare prices
While the prices of platinum were at a premium to gold in the past, today, they seem to be almost on par. The international prices of gold on 27 October ended at $1,226.55 per ounce while platinum ended at $1,257.25 per ounce.

Gold prices change every day depending on the market rate. These rates are displayed by most jewelry stores on that day. However, there is no standard pricing as far as platinum is concerned. It used to be sold at a fixed price until 2002-03, but now, every jeweler has their own price of the day, which varies between 4-5%. This makes calculating the price fairly difficult.

The best way to get the bang for the buck is to check the labour charges and the pricing of the metal separately. Some retailers have been known to decrease the platinum pricing and increase the labour charges. Thus, it makes sense to compare prices before you buy platinum to ensure that you are getting the best deal.

Talk to your jeweler about buy-back schemes
You may never want to part with your ancestral jewelry, but there might be an instance when you want to exchange a few pieces of platinum jewelry you have recently bought. If you would like to explore that option, be sure to keep the receipt of the piece that mentions the certificate of purity and the weight of the platinum. If you go to the same jeweler from whom you purchased the piece of jewelry, you may be able to wrangle the entire amount for the weight mentioned. Just like with gold jewelry, jewelers deduct making charges at the time of buying back platinum.

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