Polishing Platinum

Are there any particular methods used to polish platinum? Is
there anything to avoid? Wheel types, compound? Thanksabunch.

Lew Sperber

The International Precious Metals Institute has a colection of
technical platinum books including; “Precious Metals Fabrication
and Finishing”.

Contact the International Precious lMetals Institute
4905 Tilghman St. Suite 160
Allentown, PA 18104
(215) 395-9700


Lew, I use Faberluster or Carrot Rouge from Stuller, before I
polish I sand the work area with 320 Grit then 400 Grit and if
you want even 600 grit and polishing is a snap.

Dear Lew, I’ve tried most everyones specialied platinum compounds
during the last three or four years. The best, head and shoulders
above the rest, is a Japanese grey compound from Frie and Borel.
Follow that with Yellow Glow and red rouge for an easier to usual
high polish

Ken Weston

Get the polishing compound for platinum sample kit from
Gesswein, you won’t be sorry.

Mark P.

Ken, Try finishing off with white rouge. A friend told me about
it a couple of years ago and it makes a obvious difference. Much
brighter than red. Frank_

The Platinum Guild International was offering books on the
platinum manufacturing process for the free for the asking. They
may still be ofering them.

I have volumes 1, 2 and 3.

The address is:

They have a web site at: http://www.preciousplatinum.com

Platinum Guild International USA
620 Newport Center Drive
Suite 800
Newport Beach, CA 92660 USA

The phone number is:

(714) 760-8279

Tim Hansen



I would apreciate any comments or sugestions about my website. It is still
under construction.


Dear Lew: After doing gold & silver for over 20 years, I was
confronted with the “new” platinum. I always cringed when
dealing with polishing it. Hard as steel. That was until I
discovered Guesswein’s system(as seen in earlier Orchid posts.)
It’s a 4-part system with a very agressive compound to remove
fine emery marks(for use after emerying w/400 grit emery or
finer.) Then a medium compound and finally two different fine
polishing compounds. Not quite sure what the difference is
between them but they seem to work the same. The first compound
is magic! You can see it removing all emery marks as you go and
it’s FAST! After that, it’s a breeze. I believe the starter set
is about $25.00. You’ll need four untreated buffs - one for every
compound as well as an inside ring polishing buff. Keep them
seperate from your others. Try it, you’ll like it.

Steve Klepinger
(Not affiliated with Guesswein.)


I must have missed the original post but since everyone is
recommending compounds for polishing platinum, I would be remiss
in not mentioning ours. Gesswein found the original carrot
compound in Europe and we were the first to discover/import the
Japanese compounds. We have a sample kit of 4 compounds if you
want to try them. The kit is just $25.00. It includes 4 pieces
of compound: Gray 800 for first cut, White 1500 for pre-polish,
and two polishing compounds White 8000 for a really bright white
finish and our most popular compound - Carrot (the one everyone
tries to copy).

I personally guarantee that you will LOVE these compounds. They
not only polish the platinum fast but give the brightest finish
possible. No compound for gold works even nearly as these which
were designed specifically for platinum. I have not had one
single person who actually tried them tell me otherwise.

Best Regards,

Elaine Corwin
Orders: 1-800-243-4466
Tel: 203-366-5400
Fax: 203-335-0300
Technical Support: 1-800-544-2043

When polishing platinum it is important that you do two things.
1st, take out all the scratches, 2nd burnish before buffing with
a highly polished tungsten burnisher. This will compact the
surface and work hardens it as it puts on the shine. In between
removing the scratches and the final buff, bring the piece to a
600 sand paper finish, followed by 800 grey, 1500 whitem 4000
white and 8000 carot, green or white for final buffing. Be sure
to keep the grits seperate and use the buffs only for platinum.
In the March '99 issue of AJM magazine, I wrote the feature
article on polishing Platinum. On August the 3rd, at the JA Show
in New York, I will host the “Women in Platinum” Symposium. At
this symposium, Ulla Raus from Texas Institute of Jewelry
Technology in Paris.TX, will present a paper on polishing
platinum. The event will be held from 10:00a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
and is free. Seven successful women will share their experience
in working with platinum in presentations ranging in topics from
marketing your design to laser welding, from bench tricks to
weaving with platinum, from new findings to polishing techniques.
I am sure that everyone attending will be pleased that they did.
Hope to see you there.

Jurgen J. Maerz
Director of Technical Education
e-mail: jurgen@pgiusa.com

I feel compelled to answer this as I polish Platinum every day
and have had to develop a system that really works, as platinum
polishing is an all or nothing proposition. I love it when
customers send a ring in for a “light polish”!!

Here is my method: It is a 4 step system, with dedicated buffs
for each step - thats four buffs for the outside of a ring, and
four mandrels for the inside of a ring - separate from your gold
polishing buffs. The first two buffs are the coarser yellow ones,
and the last two steps are the soft white rouge buffs. Supplement
with small brushes as needed. Two inch lead center brushes work
particularly well. I resisted all this at first, but it makes
life so much easier. The compounds I use are all from Gesswein,
and are as follows - 800, 1500, 6000, 8000, respectively. The
first step is the hardest and most time consuming - just load up
your buff and go until it is completely smooth. You need a loupe
(5 power is enough) to determine this. If you take the time on
step one, the last three steps are a breeze - and if you don’t
take the time, the piece will not take a nice polish. I’ve tried
many compounds and have found these to be the best. I also use
this same method for large silver pieces.

Sarah Graham Metalsmithing

I, too, polish platinum every day, and I agree completely with
Sarah Graham’s 4-step polishing program. I prefer the Japanese
compounds from Frei & Borel, but that is a minor difference.

But I have made a discovery that makes the first step (
agressive polishing with 800 grit ) a lot quicker. Steve Frei
gave me a 4" rubber wheel to test this summer and, unlike all
the other rubber wheels that I’ve tried on plat (they tend to
burn against the metal), this one works great. It is made by
Airflex , Frei & Borel no. 110.256 (no, it’s not in the catalog
yet. Ask Steve) . It will remove fairly deep scratches quickly,
and I can almost bypass the 800 grit stage. The wheel sells for
$15.50, and if you are polishing a lot of platinum, as I do, you
may want to invest in a couple of wheels so that you can shape
them to match various contours. Steve says that a 7/8"
unmounted wheel will be available in the future, as well as
inside ring shapes.

“Try it. You’ll like it…”

Doug Zaruba

Hi, This is my first visit to your site, and I think it’s great. Can
you tell me how to get some on polishinh platinum rings?
What buffs to use with what kind of polish sticks? Maybe you can
recommend some brand names? I would tuly appreciate your help. Thanks. Farid.

Farid, A good starting point is to buy Gessweins platinum polishing
compound sample kit. It has 4 compounds that you use in series,
actually two of them are for the final high polish and you chose the
one that you prefer. Preparation prior to polishing is critical, you
need to work your way down to as fine an emery as possible prior to
polishing. This will make your life simple, improve your attitude,
make your hair more manageable and double your life span. Maybe that was an
overstatement. Mark in WI

I might add that burnishing every surface you can reach with a
polished steel burnisher prior to buffing will improve and speed up
the results. Burnishing can also save a cast piece that has areas of
microscopic porosity. Anthony Toepfer, Anthony Toepfer Jewelers,
Keene, NH

Burnishing your platinum with a polished steel burnisher does indeed
help a great deal. But doing it with a polished burnisher made of
tungsten carbide works a good deal better still. Steel to platinum
seems to have a lot of drag/friction, which is part of why a steel
graver will never give you a true bright cut on platinum, while a
carbide graver, if sharpened right, will. Now, the carbide gravers
can be a pain in the rear to sharpen, if you don’t have the right
equipment, but a carbide burnisher doesn’t need anywhere near as much
pampering. A little bit of diamond compount on a wood wheel does the
trick just fine. I make the wood wheels by cutting quarter inch
slices off an inch diameter birch dowel. Drill the center hole, mount
on a sturdy flex shaft mandrel, and spin it against a file till it’s a
true wheel. The charge with diamond compound and put a fine polish on
your carbide burnisher. The difference in feel between carbide and
steel, when burnishing the platinum, is quite noticable, and the
effect on the platinum is a good deal more, as well.

Peter Rowe

Hello everyone!!

I am a jewelry designer who only works with silver and gold, I have
never worked with platinum. My question is this: my wedding ring is
platinum and needs to be polished. I do have my own polisher and was
wondering if it is something I can do myself, or if I should bring it
into a repair shop. I know that platinum should not be contaminated
with other metals so I would assume I would have to buy a polishing
wheel specifically for that. If I can do it myself, what type of
polisher should I use? I currently have Fabuluster and Red Rouge.

Laura Jackson

Hi Laura,

I know that platinum should not be contaminated with other metals
so I would assume I would have to buy a polishing wheel
specifically for that. 

I have met several jewelers who “know” that platinum should be
isolated from tools used for other metals, but have never followed
that practice myself. None of my platinum work has ever shown any
sign of corruption, so I really have no idea what it is that they
fear. But several of my friends insist that using the same buffs or
files on platinum and other metals will be disasterous. If I were
you I would use Fabuluster. A good pre-polish is difficult with most
of the regular buffing compounds, so I would recomend sanding with
600 or finer sand paper first, to get out the scratches.

If anyone can explain what evil it is that we are supposed to be
avoiding by using different equipment for finishing platinum, I am
eager to be enlightened.

Stephen Walker

If you’re able to polish gold and silver, then you can polish
platinum. There isn’t much difference in technique really, just make
sure your preparation work is thorough. Get rid of any scratches
with emery paper, working your way to a very fine finishing emery to
almost make the ring look like it has been polished. Then use the
polishing mops for the final shine.


If anyone can explain what evil it is that we are supposed to be
avoiding by using different equipment for finishing platinum, I am
eager to be enlightened. 

Say your files and or other tools have for example gold dust on them
and that gets imbedded in the surface of the platinum. Then you need
to do a solder or weld joint on the platinum then the gold will burn
into the surface of the platinum leaving a poor pitted surface. It
is like the problems of having a little lead on the surface of a gold
or silver piece and then soldering on it. This is the only reason I
know of for the separation of tooling.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts