BELLEFONTE, CENTRE COUNTY - In economic times both good and bad, usually gold is the go-to precious metal, but in recent years platinum has quietly gained in value, and jewelry store owners are taking notice.
"All the platinum ever mined could fit inside a living room," said Monteca Confer, owner of Confer Jewelers in Bellefonte. "People are choosing it because they're more aware of it then they were 10 years ago."
As of the writing of this article, platinum traded around $1,700 an ounce, while gold traded around $1,600 an ounce. Confer says about 15 years ago, platinum was valued around $600 an ounce.
Over at Creekside Antiques in Duncansville, Cathy Wertz believes platinum is also riding the latest fashion wave.
"The trend right now is for white jewelry," she said. "Including silver, it's becoming very popular to have platinum."
Confer agrees and says 95% of engagement rings sold at her store are white metals. She added that platinum's durability is also driving its popularity.
"Platinum is a naturally occurring white metal," she said. "There's no upkeep to it."
Confer added that although gold's value isn't going anywhere, she thinks platinum will continue to gain in value.
"It's 30 times more rare than gold," she continued. "You want to invest in what's most rare and most precious, so I would say invest in platinum."
The rise in platinum's value has been noticed in unlikely places as well, the auto industry.
Platinum is also used to make catalytic converters, and over the past few years, catalytic converter thefts have become more common as thieves poach the converters and sell them for their metals.