The Early History Of Platinum
Unlike gold that has been used in one form or another for thousands of years, platinum is considered to be a relative newcomer to the world of precious metals. The native Indians of South America began to work with this metal somewhere around one thousand years ago, but it was not until the 15th and 16th century when the Spanish began their conquest of this continent that the rest of the world became aware of this new metal. During the earliest days of its discovery, platinum was considered by the Spanish to be more of a nuisance than a metal with any real value. This was because it tended to interfere with their gold mining, with veins of platinum often running alongside or through the veins of gold that they were attempting to mine. At the same time many European scientist began to take a keen interest in this "new" metal that they were unable to melt with fire or any other known methods of smelting.
They noted that not only was it heavier than gold but it was impossible to cause any form of corrosion to occur using a variety of acids, chemicals and gasses. IN 1751 the scientific world gave platinum its own place on the periodic table of the elements and official recognition as a newly discovered element. The use of this new metal began to spread across Europe as the industrial world took note of its durability. The first platinum laboratory instruments were created in Berlin in 1784, meanwhile the French began to fashion crucibles from this incredibly durable metal and use them in the production of glass. Modern glass manufacturers still use large quantities of platinum in many of the tools and equipment that are used in the production of glass.
Before long this beautiful metal began to capture the imagination of leading jewelers of the day, including the Royal Goldsmith to the Courts of King Louis XVI of France. He used platinum to create items such as cutlery, highly expensive watch chains and exotic buttons. Platinum has been found in several areas of the world including Russia and South Africa, which currently produces more than two thirds of the world's supply. However, the supplies are still very limited and despite the heavy use of it industrial settings, the value is expected to increase as the output of these mines is dwindles in the near future.