Platinum History: Tracing the Origins of a 'Royal' Metal
From pre-history to princesses and pop divas, the story of platinum, the so-called 'new metal', is much longer than you would think. Meteorites contain platinum and the earliest recorded meteorite impact on earth occured two billion years ago. Since then, this rare and beguiling precious metal has made sporadic appearances throughout history, mysteriously disappearing for centuries at a time, both baffling and enchanting those who have come across it.
France's 18th century monarch, King Louis XVI, once described platinum as 'the only metal fit for kings'. This royal nod of approval only served to highlight the highly-vaunted status the precious metal has enjoyed. Platinum was used to create the first of many iconic Faberge Eggs Russian Tzars presented to their wives in 1884; and was even used to make a crown for the current British Queen's mother. That crown was given some extra dazzle with the addition of the Koh-i-noor diamond.
This video traces the use of platinum to as far back as 1200 BC, where the precious metal was used to make jewellery for Egyptian kings, and follows its journey as a precious metal that was a much valued by royals (Indian maharajas apparently used platinum tread to embellish their outfits!), until the birth of the modern platinum industry. Platinum grew in popularity in the 19th and 20th centuries and today it is the precious metal of choice of movie stars and the glitterati.
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