Platinum has seen a huge surge in popularity among investors. But what is platinum exactly, where is it found, and what makes it so desirable?
Men have mined gold for thousands of years. Not so platinum. Thanks to its higher boiling point and the fact that it rarely occurs in its natural form, platinum wasn’t discovered until 1735.
Most of the world’s platinum comes from mines in northern South Africa. Extraction is challenging. Platinum is seldom found in isolation - more usually it’s found alongside other base metals such as nickel, copper and chrome.
Deposits discovered underground must be refined before they can be considered pure; the complexity of this process makes platinum extremely rare.
How platinum is used depends on where this commercial grade metal ends up.
About 40% of platinum is destined for the automotive industry.
Mostly it’s used to produce catalytic converters, a modern day essential in the battle to reduce harmful emissions. To a lesser extent it’s used in fuel cells of the new generation of electric cars.
As you might expect, a significant amount is made into jewellery - between 31-38%. Thanks to its rarity and expense, it’s highly desirable to consumers who view platinum as superior to gold.
Industry accounts for another fifth. All sorts of things contain platinum, from fertiliser to pacemakers.
The remainder is turned into bullion. Anywhere between 2-11% is used to make platinum bars and coins for the investment market.
What type of metal is platinum?
Platinum has a silver appearance and as anyone who’s handled it will testify, it’s extremely hard. While jewellers value its malleability, it’s also ductile, rigid, dense and extremely unreactive.
What is platinum used for?
Platinum isn’t just used to make eternity rings and bullion bars and coins. It’s prized for its recyclable and catalytic properties as well as its physical appearance. It's an integral part of the modern manufacturing process in a range of different industries.
Investing in platinum
The balance of any investment portfolio depends on appetite for risk. Many investors consider a precious metal holding a safe haven - a form of protection against riskier exposure elsewhere.
If you’re looking to include platinum as part of the mix, Royal Mint Bullion offers a range of different investment options.
Platinum bullion from The Royal Mint
Our platinum bars come in four different sizes: 1kg, 500g, 100g and one ounce. Regardless of weight, each bar contains 999.5 fine platinum.
With the exception of the one ounce, they can be stored on-site at our secure precious metal storage facility, The Vault®. Your platinum bullion will be guarded round-the-clock at one of the most secure sites in the United Kingdom.
Platinum bullion coins can be purchased individually or in tubes of ten. They include The Queen’s Beasts, a celebration of the ancient art of heraldry, and annual flagship releases like Britannia, an instantly recognisable symbol of Britishness that resonates with investors around the world.
Anyone can invest in platinum thanks to Signature, our investment platform that offers fractional ownership of larger bullion bars. From as little as £20, you can use platinum bullion bars as a store of wealth.