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With a name derived from the Spanish for “little silver”, platinum is readily differentiated from its well-known counterpart by its significantly higher density, brighter luster and whitish, as opposed to grayish, coloration. Although long used within native Mesoamerican cultures for the production of gold alloys, platinum only become known to Europeans in 1748 via accounts published by the Spanish explorer Antonio de Ulloa. Today, around eighty percent of the world’s supply is sourced from South African deposits, with Canada, Russia and the United States largely responsible for the remainder.

Platinum is usually the uppermost member within precious metal-based hierarchies (e.g. platinum credit cards, platinum-selling records, platinum memberships, etc.), but its per-weight price is actually currently lower than that of gold. This is a common occurrence during times of economic uncertainty, due to a decreased demand for industrial platinum and gold’s reputation as a “safe haven” for nervous investors.

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