Platinum Origin & History

Though platinum was officially discovered in the 18th Century, references to it have popped up throughout ancient history.

In ancient Eygpt, the Casket of Thebes was adorned with platinum along with gold and silver.    The ancient indigenous population of South America also used platinum in items such as nose rings and other ceremonial jewellery.    Some speculate these ancient peoples may have thought platinum was a natural mixture of gold and silver.

The Spanish word “Platina”, meaning “little silver”, evolved into the English word “Platinum”.

16th Century

Platinum resurfaced when the Spanish mined for Gold and silver in the New World.   They considered it a nuisance and threw it back in the water to ‘ripen’.

18th Century

Antonio De Ulloa was credited with discovering platinum.

Platinum in Canada

Platinum in Canada was first discovered in 1888 in Sudbury, Ontario alongside copper and nickel deposits.  From the end of WWI to the early 1950’s, Canada was the world’s largest platinum producer.

World War II

The US declared platinum a strategic metal and its use in non-military applications (like jewellery) to be disallowed.

South African Reefs

In the mid-1920’s the game-changing discovery of platinumn the reefs of South Africa occurred by Hans Merensky and Andries Loombard.

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