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That's Why They Call It a Gold Standard

As if last week's jewelry theme at Counterfeit Chic didn't give the newly affianced enough to argue about, today's Wall Street Journal raises another issue:  is that ring really platinum?

It appears that a new platinum alloy, which contains only 58.5% platinum as opposed to the minimum international standard of 85% (or the more typical 95%), is gaining in popularity.  Since platinum has become popular for both engagement and wedding rings, and the metal has nearly doubled in price over the last year, the cheaper "585" platinum has the potential to sweep the market.

Jewelers are divided over the issue of whether to call the new alloy "platinum," with one camp holding out for an identification between linguistic and metallurgic purity and the other noting that 14-karat gold is still called "gold," just like the pure 24-karat stuff.   The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has solicited comments on the matter, but it has not yet published guidelines.

In the meantime, let the bride beware.