Platinum Meteorite crash
Platinum Lost Treasure –
Platinum, the so-called ‘new metal’ has been around much longer than you would think. Meteorites contain platinum and the earliest recorded meteorite impact on earth happened around 2 billion years ago. Since then, this rare metal has made sporadic appearances throughout history, mysteriously disappearing for centuries at a time, both baffling and enchanting those who have come across it.
The Ancient Egyptians, pre-Incan civilizations and the Spanish conquistadors all encountered platinum. It then re-emerged in the 1700s to fascinate kings and alchemists alike. Platinum grew in popularity in the 19th and 20th centuries and today it is the precious metal of choice of movie stars and fashion icons.
Meteorite Crash –
Two billion years ago, long before the age of dinosaurs, when life on this planet was nothing more than simple bacteria, an enormous meteorite crashed to Earth in North America. This was the earliest known meteorite impact. Meteorites are the product of a supernova – an explosion of an enormous star and are rich in metals such as platinum.
Major Discoveries –
In the 19th century, several major discoveries see platinum grow in both science and fashion. In 1803 British scientist – WH Wallaston discovered a process for making platinum malleable, facilitating its commercial use. In 1819 platinum deposits are discovered in the Urals in Russia (an 80% pure platinum nugget from the Ural Mountains in Russia) and in 1866 diamonds are discovered in Kimberley South Africa, thus boosting the popularity of platinum as the best setting for these precious stones.
A Major Discovery –
1924 – German geologist Hans Merensky discovers the world’s largest platinum deposit near Johannesburg, South Africa. A modern platinum industry is born.
Platinum Blondes –
With the invention of talking movies, the leading ladies of Hollywood become an inspiration to a nation of Americans looking to the big screen for escapism during the great depression. Actresses such as Marlene Dietrich and Mae West adorn themselves in platinum jewellery. Platinum’s success in Hollywood is summed up by the title character in Frank Capras movie Platinum Blonde, played by Jean Harlow.
World War II –
1939-1945 – With the outbreak of war in 1939, platinum was declared a strategic metal in the USA, used for the manufacture of armaments. Its use for making jewellery was forbidden.