New Alternative Metal Patented

Star Ring Inc., Chatsworth, Calif., has developed a new alternative metal that it believes will appeal to consumers who have become more price conscious. Called Platina 4, it consists of, in descending order, silver, palladium, gold, and platinum, plus a proprietary alloy. The name is trademarked, and the process and alloy are patented.

“The price is one-third the cost of 14k gold,” says Mitchell Reiffen, a principal with Star Ring. “We concluded that the industry can sell alternative metals—for example, tungsten—and we can achieve a lower cost basis, so the retailer can be more competitive.”

Typical retail price points for Platina 4 jewelry range from $49 to $399 or higher, Reiffen says, and any of Star Ring’s products can be cast in it. He cites men’s wedding bands and fashion rings, diamond fashion jewelry, colored gemstone jewelry, and plain wedding bands as top sellers. He says the company is developing a high-fashion line for Platina 4. “We are using heavier mountings because the metal is less costly, and we can offer substantial-weight rings and a very modest cost.”

Although Platina 4 costs a fraction of karat gold, Reiffen doesn’t believe it will define precious metals down. “There will always be a customer for karat jewelry—just as you can buy handbags for $2,000 and handbags for $100,” he says. “The retailer must provide product for the customer that has a limited budget, that is not demanding karat product, but yet they can maintain their needed margins.”