Chem Explorers

Uncovering the Shiny Legacy: The Fascinating Journey of Platinum

Platinum is a dense, silvery-grey metal that is known for its high resistance to tarnish and corrosion. In this article, we will explore the characteristics and isotopes of platinum, its occurrence and sources, and the history behind its discovery and introduction to Europe.

1)to Platinum

Platinum is a chemical element with the symbol Pt and atomic number 78. It is one of the six platinum group metals, along with palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium, and osmium.

Platinum is a dense, malleable, and ductile metal that is resistant to corrosion and tarnish. It is a highly valuable and rare metal with a high melting point of 1,768.3 degrees Celsius.

Isotopes are varieties of an element that have different numbers of neutrons in the nucleus. Platinum has six stable isotopes, which means that they do not undergo radioactive decay.

These isotopes are Platinum-192, Platinum-194, Platinum-195, Platinum-196, Platinum-198, and Platinum-200. Platinum is also a naturally occurring element, and the largest reserves are found in South Africa, which produces more than 80% of the world’s platinum.

Other significant sources of platinum include Russia, Zimbabwe, Canada, and the United States.

2) History of Platinum

Platinum’s name comes from the Spanish word “platina,” which means “little silver,” and it was named by Spanish explorers in the 16th century. The Spanish initially considered platinum to be an unimportant metal and discarded it, but they soon discovered that it was extremely difficult to melt or shape.

The first recorded discovery of platinum was made by Antonio De Ulloa, a Spanish explorer who found it in the Choc region of modern-day Colombia in 1735. However, he did not realize the significance of his discovery and thought it was a type of silver.

In 1748, the French astronomer and geologist Jean-Jacques d’Ortous de Mairan examined a platinum sample and found that it was resistant to acids. He suggested that it could be used to make utensils for use in the laboratory.

The first European to recognize the potential of platinum was a Swedish chemist named Carl Wilhelm Scheele who began experimenting with platinum in the 1770s. He found that platinum could dissolve in a combination of hydrochloric acid and nitric acid, which he called “aqua regia,” and was able to isolate platinum from other elements in the platinum group.

Scheele’s discoveries paved the way for the use of platinum in a variety of applications, including jewelry, medical equipment, and catalytic converters in cars. In the late 18th century, platinum was introduced to Europe by Spanish colonial officials who brought it to Madrid to be fashioned into jewelry for the Spanish royal family.

In subsequent years, platinum jewelry became fashionable in France and England, and jewelers began incorporating the metal into their designs.


Platinum is a valuable and rare metal that has been used in a variety of applications throughout history. Its unique characteristics and isotopes make it a highly sought after element, and its occurrence and sources have been explored in great detail.

The history of platinum is also fascinating, with early explorers and chemists unlocking the potential of this metal through years of experimentation and analysis. Overall, platinum remains a vital element in modern life, and its value and importance are likely to continue for many years to come.

3) Identification of Platinum

Platinum has an atomic number of 78, which means that it has 78 protons in the nucleus of its atom. Its chemical symbol is Pt, and it has a relative atomic mass of 195.084 u.

Platinum’s CAS number is 7440-06-4. This is a unique number assigned to each chemical substance by the Chemical Abstracts Service to identify it among other chemicals.

Platinum is located in group 10 of the periodic table, a group that contains the six platinum group metals. It is situated between iridium and gold and directly above mercury.

Platinum’s position in the periodic table determines its electron configuration and, therefore, its chemical and physical properties.

4) Properties and Characteristics of Platinum

Platinum is a dense, malleable, and ductile metal that is resistant to corrosion and tarnish. It has a silvery-grey color and a high melting point of 1,768.3 degrees Celsius.

Platinum is also a good conductor of electricity, and it has a high resistance to wear and tear, allowing it to be used in a wide range of industrial applications. Chemically, platinum is a very stable metal and resists oxidation and tarnishing.

It exists in oxidation states of +2 and +4, but its most common oxidation state is +2. Platinum can also form complex ions with other elements and is an important catalyst for various chemical reactions.

Platinum is also a diamagnetic element, which means that it is not attracted to a magnetic field. A substance’s physical properties include its density, melting point, boiling point, color, and many more.

Platinum has a density of 21.45 g/cm^3, making it one of the densest metals. Since it is a transition metal, it has high melting and boiling points.

Besides, platinum is a good reflector of light with high corrosion-resistant nature and is non-toxic. Chemical properties of an element include its reactivity when exposed to other elements or molecules.

Platinum is highly resistant to corrosion and oxidation, making it a popular material for jewelry, coins, and other decorative objects. Platinum does not react with hydrochloric acid or sulfuric acid, but it can dissolve in aqua regia, a mixture of nitric and hydrochloric acids.

In summary, platinum is a rare and valuable element that has many unique properties. Its resistance to corrosion, density, and its wide range of useful chemical properties make it a highly sought-after element in many industries.

Being located in group 10 of the periodic table, platinum’s electron configuration and position play a vital role in determining its chemical and physical properties. With the increase in demand and its significant properties, platinum will continue to be a crucial element in many economies globally.

5) Uses of Platinum

Platinum is a vital metal that has many essential applications in various industries. Here are some of the primary uses of platinum.

Catalytic Converters: The most common use of platinum is in catalytic converters for automobiles. The platinum, along with palladium and rhodium, act as catalysts to reduce the harmful emissions from cars and trucks.

The precious metals catalyze the reaction of converting carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides into carbon dioxide and nitrogen. Jewelry and Chemical Industry: Platinum is widely used in the jewelry industry due to its luster and rarity.

Its exceptional properties such as resistance to corrosion and tarnishing and hypoallergenic nature make it an ideal choice for luxury jewelry. It is also used in the chemical industry, where it is applied in laboratory equipment, electrolytic plants, and in the manufacturing of silicone.

Other Applications, including Medical: Platinum is widely used in various medical applications, such as pacemakers, dental fillings, and chemotherapy treatments. It is also used in the aerospace industry, electrical industry, and in the manufacturing of LCD screens.

6) Safety and Interesting Facts about Platinum

Platinum is a non-toxic element and is generally safe for use in various applications. However, when exposed to high temperatures, it can release some toxic fumes.

One of the most interesting facts about platinum is that it is highly resistant to corrosion and tarnishing, making it an ideal material for long-lasting and durable products. It is also one of the rarest elements on the planet.

The majority of the world’s platinum comes from the Bushveld Igneous Complex in South Africa. Platinum is one of the most expensive metals, with a cost per gram that fluctuates depending on the market.

This rarity and cost have made platinum one of the most sought-after metals in the world and a symbol of luxury and elegance. Another interesting fact about platinum is that it has been used in some of the most important scientific advancements in history, such as the discovery of DNA’s double helix structure.

In 1962, researchers James Watson and Francis Crick were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their groundbreaking discovery while using platinum in their research. In conclusion, platinum has a wide range of applications, with its use in catalytic converters for automobiles being the most common.

Its applications extend beyond automotive use to other industries such as jewelry, chemical production, and medical sectors. Platinum is a safe, non-toxic material that is resistant to corrosion and tarnishing, making it ideal for long-lasting and durable products.

Its rarity and cost have made it a sought-after metal throughout history, and its unique properties continue to inspire research and innovation in various scientific fields.

7) Cost of Platinum

Platinum is one of the rarest and most valuable metals in the world. Its unique physical and chemical properties make it ideal for use in various industries, including automotive, jewelry, and electronics.

The cost of platinum can vary depending on the purity of the metal and market conditions. Pure Metal: The cost of pure platinum per gram can fluctuate depending on several factors, including supply and demand, global economic conditions, and geopolitical events.

The current price of platinum is around $1,200 per ounce or $41.65 per gram. This price can be affected by several factors, including the discovery of new mines or changes in government regulations.

Bulk Prices: Platinum dealers and buyers work with different prices depending on the quantity of platinum being traded. One configuration is by the Troy ounce, where one troy ounce of platinum is equal to 31.1 grams.

For example, in 2021, buying 100 grams of platinum could cost up to $4,100, while purchasing 1 kilogram of the metal could cost $41,150. Larger quantities can lower the cost per gram, considering the economies of scale.

Platinum’s cost is hinged on the delicate balance of supply and demand. South Africa produces close to 70% of the world’s platinum, while Russia, Canada, and the United States contribute to the rest of the supply.

These nations supply platinum to various industries and to investors in the form of bullion, with the price guided by daily trading activities on commodity exchanges. The market for platinum is diverse, with many investments such as bullion coins and bars, exchange-traded commodities, and futures contracts.

Precious metal markets experience sharp price changes, with effects trickling down on the final products’ prices, such as automobiles and jewelry. Platinum jewelry prices are not only impacted by the raw material price but also by design and labor costs.

The current cost of platinum is higher than that of other precious metals such as silver and gold. The reason for this is because platinum is a rare metal, and its mining process is expensive and complex.

Refining the metal to a high level of purity also requires significant investment, driving the cost higher. In conclusion, platinum is an important and rare metal that has many applications across various industries.

The cost of platinum can vary depending on several factors, including purity, market demand, and supply. Platinum is generally more expensive than other precious metals due to its rarity and complexity in mining and refining it.

Its value and importance to industrial processes and products ensure that it will continue to be a valuable and sought-after metal for years to come. In conclusion, platinum is a valuable and rare metal with a range of applications across industries.

It possesses unique characteristics and isotopes, and its occurrence is primarily found in South Africa. The history of platinum includes its origin of name, early accounts, and introduction to Europe.

Platinum is identified by its atomic and CAS numbers and occupies a position in group 10 of the periodic table. Its properties and characteristics, including its resistance to corrosion and oxidation, make it highly versatile.

Platinum is widely used in catalytic converters, jewelry, the chemical industry, and medical applications. It is non-toxic and has intriguing features such as being corrosion resistant and costlier than other precious metals.

The cost of platinum depends on purity, market conditions, and trading practices. The importance of platinum lies in its scarcity, usefulness, and importance in various technological advancements.


1) What are the primary uses of platinum? – Platinum is mainly used in catalytic converters, jewelry, the chemical industry, and medical applications.

2) Is platinum toxic? – No, platinum is a non-toxic element and is generally safe for use in various applications.

3) What makes platinum expensive? – Platinum’s rarity, complex mining process, and high refining costs contribute to its higher price compared to other precious metals.

4) Where is platinum found? – The largest reserves of platinum are found in South Africa, but it is also sourced from Russia, Canada, and the United States.

5) How is platinum identified? – Platinum has an atomic number of 78, a unique CAS number of 7440-06-4, and is located in group 10 of the periodic table.

Final thought: Platinum’s significance lies not only in its value and applications but also in its role in scientific discoveries and advancements. As a precious metal with unique properties, its scarcity and versatility make it a coveted element that continues to shape various industries and technological innovations.

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