I’ve seen some status updates from jewelers on Facebook about the
gold price surpassing platinum and how it may be time to buy platinum
as opposed to gold jewelry. While I laud the effort at selling an
already well marketed product, jewelers should be careful not to make
too much of this. It’s true that pure gold for a time was trading
higher than pure platinum and that the London AM fix on 8/9 was
higher than platinum. But all the suppliers I buy metal from use the
London PM fix, which hasn’t yet seen a higher price for gold than
platinum (the London PM fix for gold closed on 8/9 at $1,736 while
the London PM fix for platinum that same day was $1,734).
However, gold will have to go much higher than platinum to make a
piece of gold jewelry more expensive than a corresponding platinum
piece. For example, an 18kt gold ring that weighs 3.5 dwt would
contain $227.58 worth of gold at market prices. That exact same ring
made in platinum would weigh about 5 dwt, due to the higher density
of the metal. In addition, platinum jewelry is 90 to 95 percent pure
as opposed to 75 percent for 18kt gold (the highest quality alloy
that US jewelers can stamp with a quality mark). The platinum ring,
alloyed at 95 percent, would contain $411.82 worth of platinum at
market value. The platinum ring is 1.8 times more valuable than the
18 kt gold version. Then take into consideration the fact that
platinum is more labor intensive to work.
To get an 18kt gold piece of jewelry to have more intrinsic value
than the same platinum piece, the price of gold would have to be
$3,140 an ounce compared to a market price of $1,734 for platinum.
Then be sure to remember the added labor cost to finish platinum.
Gold would have to approach nearly $4,000 an ounce with platinum
remaining at $1,734 for a gold piece of jewelry to ever approach the
price of platinum.
Something to think about.