A Platinum Story of Provenance, Travel and Responsibility

Metcon Image 1 100x44 - A Platinum Story of Provenance, Travel and Responsibility

by Metcon

Magazine Cover

Entitled “Her Pain”, this piece was created for PlatAfrica 2021 by Phumlani Mngoma from Pneuma Jewellers.  It is available for purchase at: https://plat.africa/products/her-pain. This striking piece features 75.23gr of platinum. MetCon, together with Anglo American Platinum, are sponsors of this annual competition. MetCon is one of the most advanced refineries in South Africa, adding value locally to responsibly sourced precious metals for supply to a local and global market. This includes a commitment to ethically sourced platinum through MetCon’s Platinum Provenance which is approved and accredited by the Responsible Jewellery Council.

Platinum’s History

At the time of its initial discovery, deposits of platinum were ironically thought to have been worthless impurities amidst already-precious gold. 

This was largely because the technology available at the time (the 1700s) could not facilitate platinum’s high melting point (1 708 ºC). However, with the discovery of oxygen some decades later, the Industrial Revolution, technological strides in the 1980s and our ability to melt and mould the metal at will, platinum’s immensely practical and monetary value rose exponentially. 

Something not everyone is aware of is that, including platinum,  there are six different metals that fall into the collection of elements known as the platinum group (PGMs).

In recent times, platinum has classically been combined with copper to provide a malleable metal that is easily worked and moulded.

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Wheel of Fortune by Godfrey Olebogeng Kobi
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Hope by Liezl Botha Altin Jewellers


Another one of the six platinum metals is ruthenium. Replacing copper in a platinum alloy with ruthenium produces a harder and more resilient platinum alloy alternative. Platinum-ruthenium offers greater longevity, increased scratch resistance and a reduction in the risk of shrinkage porosity, as well as an enhanced colour. 

Most platinum alloys can be used for casting. It is important to find the one that will best suit a jeweller’s needs.

Replacing copper in a platinum alloy with ruthenium produces harder and more resilient platinum jewellery. 

MetCon offers both platinum copper and platinum ruthenium. 

Platinum-copper is the more traditional alloy used in SA,  with a continuously increasing demand for platinum ruthenium  locally and abroad. 

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Dragonfly MetaMorphosis by Labi Kapo Akapo Jewels (Pty) Ltd
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Provenance is Paramount

Platinum’s durability, hypo-allergenic properties, industrial application and resulting lofty status have made it an exceptionally valuable and sought-after metal throughout the world.  For wedding ring metals, it is the most popular choice in Europe. 

Using premium, ethically sourced platinum is of the utmost importance and MetCon is proud to be one of only a few refiners in the world to produce a Platinum Provenance certificate, approved and accredited by the Responsible Jewellery Council.

This means the platinum we offer has in no way contributed to any disreputable activity or practice that infringes on human rights.  

With 95% of the world’s platinum being mined in SA, Platinum Provenance also helps ensure the wealth generated by it can be justly directed back into a continent in sore need of such benefits.

Platinum in Abu Dhabi

With the support of the global industry in such reputable organisations as the Responsible Jewellery Council, MetCon platinum can safely and responsibly travel the world in the promotion of its use and value. 

Every year Anglo American, Platinum, Platinum Guild International India and MetCon host the renowned PlatAfrica competition giving up-and-coming South African jewellers a chance to show their crafting prowess by creating unique, storytelling platinum pieces.  

Those pieces are then offered in an online pop-up shop to be purchased. This year, in line with International Women’s Day, Forbes launched its first 30/50 Summit in Abu Dhabi.  

The event, which took place from 6-9 March, was attended by women from the famous “30 Under 30” and “50 Under 50” lists.  PlatAfrica collaborated with African Fashion International (AFI) to showcase the best of South African jewellery design during the event. 

As part of the collaboration, seven fashion designers from all over the world showcased their designs. 

During the fashion show, models wearing clothes by Abu Dhabi fashion designer Sara Al Tamimi were draped in a selection of PlatAfrica pieces which had been submitted by students, apprentices and professional designers. 

These pieces included the 2021 winning South African designs by Patricia Ntombizodwa Tshabalala (apprentice category) and Chris and Jannie Janse  van Rensburg (professional category).

“We’re very proud of the work PlatAfrica has done to unearth and encourage jewellery design and manufacturing capability in SA and  position platinum as a jewellery metal of choice,” says Natascha Viljoen, CEO of Anglo American Platinum.

“Our collaboration with AFI at the Forbes 30/50 summit gave us an opportunity to put our platinum designs on the world stage and demonstrate the incredible depth of talent and experience in jewellery design.”

“MetCon is proud to have the privilege and responsibility of trading with platinum metals, acknowledging their power to propagate and grow wealth for our beautiful country and continent,” says the refinery. 

“We’ll continue seeking new ways to utilise its value for the benefit of society, never forgetting the powerful principle of ubuntu – ‘I am because we are.’”

For jewellers, it is essential to understand which kind of platinum alloy best suits clients’ needs. Along with its platinum partner Anglo American Platinum, Metal Concentrators (MetCon) can offer solutions that suit every requirement with precision. 

Image Credits:
Dubai Show Images: Africa Fashion International (AFI); Platinum Pieces Images: Anglo American Platinum

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