Platinum is a valuable metal that some say is even rarer than gold.
While platinum is often used in jewelry, it also has several other uses in various industries due to its unreactive nature and ductility.
Whether you want to test if the platinum you have is real or you’re just curious, you may wonder if platinum is magnetic.
Here’s what you need about platinum and whether it’s magnetic or not.
Is Platinum Magnetic?
No, platinum does not have magnetic properties.
Platinum is paramagnetic which means its magnetic properties aren’t strong enough to actually be magnetic.
That said, platinum can become magnetic when combined with other alloys.
Some researchers have even used an electric field to make the surface of a platinum sheet magnetic.
However, on its own and in its pure form, platinum is not magnetic.
Can A Magnet Stick To Platinum?
No, a magnet will not stick to platinum.
For a magnet to stick to a metal, there has to be some sort of attraction between magnetic dipoles.
Since platinum doesn’t create a magnetic dipole on its own, there’s nothing to attract the magnet to it.
As such, a magnet will slide off anything made of pure platinum.
Can You Pick Up A Platinum Ring With A Magnet?
If you’re wondering whether your ring is made out of platinum or not, you may wonder if you can pick it up with a magnet.
No, you cannot pick up a platinum ring with a magnet.
If your magnet is picking up the ring, it isn’t made out of platinum, or, at the very least, it isn’t made out of pure platinum.
How To Test If Your Platinum Is Real
Platinum is an expensive material used in jewelry.
Because it’s rare and has several beneficial features for jewelry, it tends to come with a high price tag.
Before you buy something that claims to be platinum from a flea market or at an antique store, you may wonder if it’s real.
Here are a few ways that you can test platinum to ensure it’s real.
1. Check For A Hallmark
One of the first tests you should perform to determine if your platinum jewelry is real or not is to look for a hallmark.
A hallmark is either a logo, signature, or some form of stamp on the jewelry that details the jewelry piece’s purity.
On rings, you can often find the hallmark on the inside of the band.
For other pieces of jewelry, you’ll find the stamp in a less obvious place.
A hallmark for a platinum piece should have some number written on it along with the letters “PT” or “PLAT.”
You may even see the word “platinum” fully written out.
The number indicates how pure the piece is.
For example, you might see 85 PT on your ring.
This means that your ring uses 85% platinum.
If you don’t see a number, but you do see the word “platinum” on the piece, it means your piece is at least 95% platinum.
95% platinum is some of the purest jewelry pieces you can find.
If you don’t see a stamp, there might be a few reasons.
Older pieces of jewelry may not have this stamp.
Jewelry makers didn’t start on platinum until 1975.
If your piece is older than that, it won’t include a hallmark even if it is made of platinum.
Another reason you might not see the hallmark is that the piece is from another country.
Not all countries use hallmarks to indicate the purity of jewelry.
Finally, it may not show the stamp because its purity is less than 50%.
If there’s less than 50% platinum used in the piece, it won’t have a hallmark.
Looking for a hallmark can help you determine whether your platinum piece is real platinum or an alloy.
2. Inspect Color
Another distinguishing thing about platinum is its color.
Platinum has a brighter color than silver, palladium, and white gold.
It also tends to be whiter.
Because it can be difficult to compare without knowing what platinum looks like, it’s worth getting out a few pieces of metal to compare them.
You should start your test by getting out a piece that you know is silver.
This may be the hardest metal to distinguish from platinum.
Compare the two together.
If the jewelry piece is brighter and whiter than the silver piece, you know it’s platinum.
If the piece is about the same as the silver piece, there’s a good chance that it’s silver.
White gold is another metal that can be difficult to distinguish from platinum.
In fact, jewelry makers started to make white gold as a stand-in for platinum.
White gold uses gold mixed with either zinc or nickel to give it a white appearance.
Because it isn’t inherently white, however, there are subtle differences you can find between white gold and platinum.
Once more, you’ll need to get a piece of white gold to compare it directly to your platinum jewelry piece.
When comparing the two, you should find that white gold is a shade darker than platinum.
Platinum also shines a bit brighter than white gold.
If the sheen is higher, your jewelry piece is likely made out of platinum.
If it looks exactly the same as white gold, including its sheen, there’s a chance that the piece is white gold instead.
Looking at the color and sheen of your jewelry piece can help you determine if it’s real platinum or not.
3. Tarnish Test
One of the reasons platinum is so widely used in the jewelry industry is because it’s very unreactive.
Since it doesn’t react much with anything, it also doesn’t tarnish.
Tarnish is a problem that jewelry makers have with certain metals like silver.
When silver becomes exposed to certain elements, it starts to turn black.
This can cause the jewelry owner a good deal of distress.
To keep the silver from tarnishing, they have to regularly polish the piece to keep it shining and beautiful.
Platinum doesn’t have that problem.
Since it doesn’t react much with anything, you won’t see any blemishes on it.
For example, you won’t see rust or a black smear on any of your pieces.
You can test to see if your jewelry piece will become tarnished in a few different ways.
Keep in mind that if it isn’t platinum, you could potentially ruin your piece.
As such, it’s a good idea to proceed thinking that it may tarnish and only test a small area that is difficult to see.
One way you can see if your jewelry piece tarnishes is by placing it in water.
You can also use an eye dropper to drop a small amount of water in a specific place.
Once it comes into contact with the water, let it dry under the sun.
Some metals start to corrode or tarnish after exposure to water and drying.
Oxidation, in particular, is to blame.
You can also try something a bit heavier like vinegar or lemon juice.
If the piece continues to look at it always does, it’s made out of platinum.
However, if you see rust or a black smear, there’s a good chance that it’s silver or some other type of metal.
Testing to see if it becomes tarnished is a good way to determine if the platinum is real or not.
4. Scratch Test
Another excellent feature of platinum is that it’s usually scratch-resistant.
That said, because it is malleable, it also relatively soft.
If you were to scratch the piece very hard or with certain tools, then you’d probably scratch it.
That said, platinum jewelry pieces shouldn’t scratch easily.
It isn’t as soft as some other metals used in jewelry.
That’s why you can also use a scratch test to determine if the piece is real platinum or not.
To perform the scratch test, you should start with your fingernail.
Lightly run your fingernail along the surface of the piece in an area that’s difficult for viewers to see.
If it doesn’t scratch, you can proceed to the next step.
If it does scratch, then you should know immediately that the piece isn’t real platinum.
It should not be scratching that easily otherwise.
Next, you should apply a bit more pressure with your fingernail.
Again, if it doesn’t scratch, there’s a good chance that it’s platinum.
If it does scratch, it might not be platinum.
Finally, you’ll want to use something a bit more abrasive than your fingernail.
A nail, for example, might do the trick.
Apply gentle pressure to the nail against the jewelry piece.
Pressing too hard might scratch the piece even if it is platinum.
However, if you run it with just enough pressure along the surface, it shouldn’t have any scratches.
If it doesn’t, it’s platinum.
If it does scratch, it may have some platinum in it, but it isn’t pure platinum.
A scratch test can be useful in determining if the jewelry piece uses real platinum, an alloy of it, or another metal entirely.
5. Acid Scratch Test
If you want a more definitive way of determining if your jewelry piece is real platinum or not, you can use an acid scratch test.
An acid scratch test utilizes a scratching stone and various acids that react with specific metals.
You can find kits online.
The kit you’ll need should include, at the very least, an acid for platinum.
Some kits have other acids for different metals as well.
It may be useful to buy this kit if you want to determine what metal the jewelry piece uses if it isn’t platinum.
Using an acid scratch test is quite easy, but make sure that you’re following safety guidelines.
You’ll also need to ensure that you have a part of the jewelry piece that you don’t mind scratching up.
To get enough of a scratch on the stone, you’re going to need to use some pressure on the jewelry piece.
It will likely damage the piece in the process.
You’ll also want to make sure that you have safety gloves and goggles on when conducting the test.
Finally, be sure to read the instructions on how to dispose of the acid when you’re done testing with it.
You simply test your piece by first dragging it against the scratching stone.
You’ll need to create a scratch that you can visibly see.
It helps to make a rather wide scratch, too.
Once you’ve made the scratch, you’ll need to select the acid for platinum.
Drop the acid over the scratch mark on the stone.
If the acid dissolves the bits of metal left on the stone, it isn’t platinum.
However, if nothing seems to happen and the bits of metal remaining on the stone still look shiny and bright, it is platinum.
You can use an acid scratch test to determine if the platinum in your piece is real.
6. Density Test
This next test relies on you to know the average weights of gold, silver, and other metals.
If you have other rings made out of silver or gold, it’s worth grabbing them for this test.
Platinum has a higher density than both silver and gold.
Because of this, it feels a lot heavier.
A simple test you can do to determine if your jewelry piece uses real platinum or not is to feel its weight compared to the weight of gold and silver.
There are a few variables that can give you a false positive or false negative though.
For one, the size of each jewelry piece can influence the weight.
A large gold ring, for example, is likely going to weigh more than a small platinum ring.
Having the same types of jewelry pieces matter, too.
A large golden necklace will weigh more than a small platinum ring.
Finally, you need to compare jewelry pieces that don’t have any other adornments on them.
It shouldn’t have diamonds or other gemstones which can impact how much it weighs.
Once you have jewelry pieces similar to the piece you’re testing, you’ll want to weigh each one.
You don’t even need a scale to do so.
You can hold each one in your hand and feel their weight.
Because platinum is denser than gold and silver, it should feel heavier than them.
If you find that the piece feels heavier than the others, there’s a good chance that it uses real platinum.
A simple density test can help you determine if your platinum jewelry piece is real or not.
7. Magnet Test
One scam to watch out for is someone who sells iron jewelry pieces for platinum ones.
Because iron is the same sort of color as platinum, some scammers may be relying on your lack of knowledge to make the deal.
You’ll pay them hundreds of dollars for something only worth a dollar or two.
A great way to test platinum is with a magnet.
Platinum is not magnetic.
As such, it should show no attraction with a magnet.
A magnet should simply slide off it.
If the jewelry piece contains iron or stainless steel, however, then a magnet will stick to it.
To perform the test, all you need to do is hold the magnet over the piece.
You should feel straight away whether the magnet wants to stick to the piece or not.
If not, you know that there’s a good chance that the platinum is real.
However, because other metals, like gold and silver, are also not magnetic, this doesn’t mean that the jewelry piece isn’t them.
It might still be gold and silver.
The magnet test is only ideal to determine if the piece is platinum or iron.
Platinum is paramagnetic and shows very little attraction to magnets.
While some scientists have used electricity to make platinum magnetic, it isn’t magnetic on its own.
You can use magnets, and various other tests, to help determine if something uses pure platinum, an alloy of platinum, or a different metal entirely.