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A Celebration of Platinum

The precious metal's uses in the Royal Collection

RCIN 73131

The Victorian idea of celebrating anniversaries by connecting them to precious metals is now part of everyday life in the Western world; many of us might have celebrated a couple’s Silver or Ruby Wedding Anniversary, and lots of memories have been shared in recent times about Queen Elizabeth II's Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees marking twenty-five, fifty, and sixty years of her reign. Each metal or precious material is more valuable and treasured than earlier anniversaries.

In 2022 we celebrated Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee, the first time in British royal history that this milestone has been achieved. Platinum is a particularly precious white metal, one of the rarest elements on Earth and much of the planet’s deposits are found in South Africa. Due to this scarcity and therefore how precious it is considered to be, it has become associated with a seventieth anniversary. Although visually similar to silver, it does not tarnish or rust, and therefore is particularly prized for jewellery and fine works of art, and as you will find in this trail, has also been used in photographic processing.

Learn more about works of art in the Royal Collection which use platinum in their production, from tiny pieces in Fabergé treasures and as the strong and yet workable frames for jewellery, to the use of platinum salts in the creation of richly detailed photographs.

Click or tap on the sections below

Platinum and Ceramics

Ornate finishes to ceramic pieces are among the earliest uses of platinum in the Collection

Platinum Percussion

Working percussion pistols purchased by Prince Albert

Platinum used by Fabergé

Some works by Carl Fabergé in the Royal Collection use platinum

Platinum and Jewellery

Platinum is sometimes used as a setting in high-quality jewellery

Platinum Prints

Perhaps surprisingly, platinum has been used in producing photographs