Egotism: the art of seeing in yourself what others cannot see.
[George V. Higgins]
CLASSIFICATION The heaviest member of group 10 of the periodic table, platinum is a lustrous, silvery-white, malleable and ductile metal. It forms with osmium and iridium the so-called heavy platinas, whilst the light platinas consist of palladium, ruthenium and rhodium. Both triads are good mixers: they readily form strong alloys for special applications. The metal is found in platinum ores, with the other platinum metals; some platinum is extracted as a by-product of copper and nickel refining. It occurs combined with arsenic as the mineral sperrylite and with sulphur as cooperite. Native platinum occurs naturally, mostly as nuggets, in the rivers of the Urals in Russia, and in deposits in Canada, South Africa, Columbia and Peru. Industrial platinum is available as foil, gauze, sponge, powder, or wire. Approximately eight tons of raw ore must be mined to produced just one pure ounce of platinum. Platinum is in high demand and in short supply, and this has skyrocketed its price in the last decade. The observation that the platinum group metals are present in higher concentrations in sedimentary rocks than in other components of the earth’s crust has led to the suggestion that this peculiarity was attributable to the deposition of meteoritic dust, released by the intense heating of meteorites passing through the earth’s atmosphere. [It is believed that this caused the extinction of the dinosaurs.]
HISTORY The discovery of platinum has one of the most picturesque histories of all the elements. “In 1735 a French sailor walking along an estuary beach on the Pacific coast of Columbia came across some lumps of greyish clay the size and weight of cannon balls. Inside these he found deposits of a dull silvery metal. The French sailor brought several lumps of this metal back to his ship, where it was examined by a scientist who happened to be on board. This was the nineteen-year-old mathematical prodigy Don Antonio de Ulloa, who was participating in a project jointly sponsored by the Spanish and French governments. This project consisted of two expeditions – one sent to Lapland, the other to Ecuador – in order to measure the local degrees of meridian. These measurements were intended to help the Académie Royale des Sciences in Paris to determine the precise shape and dimensions of the earth. On the return journey the French ship carrying de Ulloa put in at Louisberg, Cape Breton Island, off the Canadian coast. Here they discovered that the port had been captured by the British – who were now at war with France, but not with Spain. De Ulloa’s papers, which included the secret of the shape of the earth and a description of a hitherto unknown metal, were impounded and sent to the Admiralty in London. De Ulloa himself, on the other hand, was treated with the courtesy and hospitality due to a visiting neutral gentleman, and given safe passage back to England. When he arrived in London he petitioned the Admiralty for the return of his papers. The Admiralty decided that the shape of the earth and a new metal more rare than gold were of no account, and returned de Ulloa’s papers, which he then took home and published. The new metal was described as platina del Pinto [‘little silver of the River Pinto’], and was reckoned to be of little commercial value. Unlike gold and silver, it was unmalleable and thus no use for ornaments. A few years later a solution to this problem was discovered by the Director General of Mines for Mexico, one Don Fausto d’Elhuyar. Writing to his brother Don José, who was now living in New Granada [Columbia], Don Fausto explained that when spongy deposits of the new metal were hammered together and then heavily compressed, the metal became as malleable as gold. The new platina del Pinto was soon being crafted into trinkets. More importantly, its resistance to chemical attack was found to be even greater than that of gold; as a result, it was soon being used in chemical apparatus. The metal’s original name, shortened to platina, was eventually altered by the English chemist Davy to platinum, to bring its feminine Latin name into agreement with those of other recently discovered metals such as barium and molybdenum. The idea of a feminine metal was evidently anathema to the Victorian English scientific establishment.”1
WORTHLESS Platinum, which today has so many uses in the arts and sciences and is associated with objects of great value, had a lowly beginning. Shortly after its discovery, considerable amounts of platinum were shipped to Spain, where it was sold much cheaper than silver. It became known as ‘platina’, a metal ‘less [valuable] than silver’. Spanish jewellers discovered how to mix it with gold for making jewellery, enabling them to charge the same price for items containing less gold. Counterfeiters found it ideal for adulterating Spanish gold coins. On learning about the swindling, the Spanish king issued a decree that banned shipments of the useless metal to Spain. The king also ordered the elimination of all platinum stocks, with the result that all platinum was collected and dumped into the Bogotá River [Colombia]. After this sad event of being dumped, the Russians started to realise the potential of the metal by producing, in 1824, a platinum steel of superior quality. Platinum steel proved to be much harder than any other metal known at the time; it withstood the heaviest impacts without breaking and cut through iron without becoming blunt. For a long time it was unsurpassed until tungsten was discovered, a metal less expensive yet even more ‘capable’. In the 1830s the Russians also developed a process to transform melted sponge platinum into coins. The price of platinum coins soon began to rise and their real value became considerably higher than their nominal price, so that some months later all coins had completely disappeared from circulation. The St. Petersburg Mint, however, was left with huge amounts of platinum ore as leftovers from the coinage. No one was interested in this waste, until a chemist in 1841 discovered, to his great surprise, up to 10% of platinum and small quantities of osmium, iridium, palladium and rhodium in the waste material. The waste had suddenly become a treasure. 2 Today, platinum enjoys a cache higher even than gold, as platinum albums and platinum credit cards attest. Various countries have released limited edition platinum proof coins which are equally valued by investors and collectors. The best known of these coins include the Noble [Isle of Man], the Koala [Australia], the Maple Leaf [Canada], the Panda [China], the Ballerina [Russia], and the Platinum American Eagle [USA].
PROPERTIES Platinum is unaffected by air and water, and will only dissolve in aqua regia [hydrochloric acid + nitric acid] and molten alkali. It is corroded by halogens, cyanides, and sulphur. It has a coefficient of expansion almost equal to that of soda-lime-silica glass, and is therefore used to make sealed electrodes in glass systems. Like palladium, platinum absorbs large volumes of hydrogen, retaining it at ordinary temperatures but giving it off at red heat. Like silver, heated platinum absorbs oxygen, to give it off again on cooling. Hydrogen and oxygen explode in the presence of platinum. Among the transition metals [groups 3 to 12 of the periodic table], platinum has one of the greatest tendencies to form bonds directly with carbon [carbon’s principal products are living organisms]. The prototype international standard kilogram of mass was manufactured in 1833 from an alloy of 90% platinum and 10% iridium. This same noble alloy serves as the metre, the fundamental unit of length in the metric system, in the form of the distance between two marks on a platinum-iridium bar. The metre is kept in Paris and bears the solemn inscription: “For all times, for all people.” A very thin platinum layer deposited on glass gives the glass the amazing property of one-way transparency: it can be looked through from one side but from the other side it appears to be a mirror. At one time such glass was very popular in private apartments for they make curtains unnecessary. [The ancient Aztecs were the first to make platinum mirrors, although it is unknown how they achieved this.]
USES The metal is extensively used in jewellery, wire, and vessels for laboratory use, and in many valuable instruments including thermocouple elements. It is also used for electrical contacts, corrosion-resistant apparatus, and in dentistry. Platinum-cobalt alloys have magnetic properties. Platinum resistance wires are used for constructing high-temperature electric furnaces. The metal is used for coating missile nose cones, jet engine fuel nozzles, etc., which must perform reliably for long periods of time at high temperatures. A mixture of hydrogen and oxygen will explode in the presence of platinum; therefore platinum is used to sustain the reaction in the hydrogen-oxygen fuel cells in spacecraft. Finely ground up into a fine powder, it is used in the air filters of airplanes flying on high altitudes, because the platinum will convert the harmful ozone found in the upper layers of the atmosphere into oxygen. As a catalyst, platinum has many applications, notably in cracking petroleum products, in fuel cells [to convert fuel to electricity], in converting methyl alcohol into formaldehyde, in the manufacture of nitric acid from ammonia, in the manufacture of silicones for the aerospace, automotive and construction industries, and in antipollution devices for automobiles. 3 Due to the latter function, platinum has been dubbed ‘the environmental metal’. The automobile industry accounts for around 30% of the annual global consumption of platinum. Platinum jewellery is very popular in Japan, where it is called hakkin, or ‘white gold’. The metal is also used in infra-red detectors for military and commercial applications, and as a constituent of a platinum-cobalt alloy coating for computer data storage disks. Ninety percent of all hard disks produced in 1999 had platinum. The addition of platinum enhances the magnetic qualities of the cobalt alloy – enabling data to be stored at higher densities and also improving access times.
MEDICINE Platinum salts are finding increasing use as anti-tumour agents, particularly carboplatin and cisplatin. They are used clinically for the treatment of cancers of the head and neck, certain lymphomas, and testicular and ovarian tumours. Cisplatin is seriously nephrotoxic and causes severe nausea and vomiting. “Tinnitus and hearing loss in the high frequency range may occur, as may peripheral neuropathies, hyperuricaemia and anaphylactic reactions. It has revolutionised the treatment of solid tumours of the testes and ovary. Carboplatin is a derivative of cisplatin. It causes less nephrotoxicity, neurotoxicity and ototoxicity, and less severe nausea and vomiting than cisplatin, but is more myelotoxic.”4
TOXICOLOGY “Platinum metal itself is generally harmless, but an allergic dermatitis can be produced in susceptible individuals. Skin changes are most common between the fingers and in the antecubital fossae. Symptoms of respiratory distress, ranging from irritation to an ‘asthmatic syndrome’, with coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath, have been reported following exposure to platinum dust. The skin and respiratory changes are termed platinosis. They are mainly confined to persons with a history of industrial exposure to soluble compounds such as sodium chloroplatinate, although cases resulting from wearing platinum jewellery have been reported. … Cisplatin seems to increase the frequency of lung adenomas and give rise to skin papillomas and carcinomas in mice. … Although 90% of administered cisplatin becomes tightly bound to plasma proteins, only unbound platinum is rapidly filtered by the glomerulus and has a half-life of only 48 minutes. Within tissues, platinum is protein bound with the largest concentrations in kidney, liver, and spleen, and it has a half-life of 2 or 3 days.”5
PROVINGS ••  Hahnemann – 2 provers; method: unknown.
••  Musits – 1 female prover; method: one dose of the 200th dil.
••  Julian – 55 provers [34 males, 21 females], 1980; method: blind, placebo-controlled, potencies 30c, 7c, and 4c; manner not stated.
Unfortunately, Hahnemann never mentioned female provers separately, despite the numerous symptoms they contributed. The Platina proving likewise is no exception. In a footnote to the proving text, Hughes notes that most of the symptoms credited to Gross are taken from a proving conducted by him, chiefly on “a damsel both bodily and mentally healthy and blooming, though somewhat excitable,” who took doses of the 1st trituration equivalent in all to between two and three grains of the metal. This somewhat excitable damsel managed to produce some 450 of the 525 symptoms contained in the proving. [Hahnemann and another unknown female – prover or patient? – contributed together 47 symptoms, while Gross himself produced about 30 symptoms.]
 Strathern, Mendeleyev’s Dream.  Venetsky, Tales About Metals.  Lide [ed.], Handbook of Chemistry and Physics.  Rang et al., Pharmacology.  Klaassen, Casarett and Doull’s Toxicology.
FEMALE ORGANS. Nerves [vagus; sensory; trigeminal]. * ONE SIDE.
Worse: EMOTIONS [sexual; coition; grief; anger]. TOUCH. Nerve exhaustion. Evening. While at rest. During menses. Standing. After rising. Pregnancy. Fasting. Bending backward. Warm room.
Better: Walking in open air. Sunshine. Motion. Stretching.
M Very IDEALISTIC [romantic fancies about marriage and life].
Ailments from DISAPPOINTMENT [esp. sexual],
grief, scorn, deceived ambition.
[Due to a great sensitivity to rejection; easily feels slighted, ignored or abandoned.]
M DWELLS on past disagreeable occurrences; “past events trouble her”.
M Forsaken, DESERTED feeling.
[Delusion as if in a strange land.]
• “She feels as if she did not at all belong to her family; after a short absence everything appears to be quite changed.” [Gross]
M Auto-eroticism and narcissism. Self-love.
• “According to Dr Oliver John, real-life narcissists take considerable inspiration from their mythological namesake. In a number of experiments, it has been demonstrated that such self-ordained sources of self-excellence report even more admiration of their personal qualities after viewing videotapes of themselves. Moreover, narcissists seek out and enjoy situations, such as looking in the mirror, in which they can focus attention on themselves and sustain their somewhat overblown sense of self-regard. As John says, ‘Narcissists definitely have an inflated view of themselves that few others agree with.’ Narcissists feed on the attention they get from others and the attention they get from themselves. John adds, ‘The motive to enhance self-esteem is stronger and more easily activated in narcissistic individuals because of their heightened sensitivity to threats of their grandiose self-views’.”1
Only satisfied with the very best of everything. Anything less…
• “Contemptuous, pitying looking down on people at other times respected, with a certain disdain, in paroxysms, against her will.” [Gross]
Arrogance and pride. Superiority complex.
• “Illusion of the imagination; on entering a room after walking for an hour, everything around her seemed very small and all persons physically and bodily inferior to her, but she herself great and lofty in body; the room appears to her gloomy and disagreeable; attended with anxiety, gloomy and cross mood, a whirling vertigo and discomfort in her surroundings which before were pleasant to her; in the open air, in the sunshine, everything vanishes at once.” [Gross]
• “Feels that the environment and the family circle are deteriorating. Criticizes, is lucid about himself and his circle; his family circle appears ‘illogical’, becomes unfamiliar to him; feels different compared to other people, esp. as regards the family.”2
Dulness and indifference in company.
• “Indifferent, cold, abstracted in company of friends, in the open air; she only answers when she has to, and only reflects afterward whether her answer had been proper; her thoughts were always absent, without her being conscious on what they dwelled.”
• “Indifference, he felt unconcerned as to whether his absent wife would die or not.” [Gross]
or in: DEPRESSION:
M Sadness > open air.
M General > from WEEPING.
M Taciturn and abrupt.
• “Ill-humoured for a long time, from a slight vexation; he only talks when he is obliged to; extremely unkind, abrupt and quarrelsome.”
• “Very cross, and readily becomes passionate; he could have cudgelled innocent persons.”
• “Very cross and irritated at harmless matters and words; so that she at times would have liked to have beaten herself and friends.” [Gross]
M MOOD SWINGS.
• “Sad and sullen on the first morning; the next morning inexpressibly happy, esp. in the open air, so that she felt like embracing everybody and could have laughed over the most sad things.”
• “At first great merriment for two days; everything seems joyful, she could have laughed at the most sad things; then on the third day great sadness, in the morning and evening, with weeping, even about joyful and ludicrous matters, also when she is addressed.” [Gross]
M BORED and FED UP.
• “Lacks joy, fed up with living and fed up with all that makes life; nothing interests him; feeling of boredom. Everything goes wrong, joyless, bored, wishes to die. Shuts himself up in his room to avoid conflicts. Doesn’t wish to do anything, doesn’t feel at home anywhere, not even in his home. Prefers to remain alone in his room.”3
G High sex drive.
Excessive sexual desire, driving to masturbation.
• “She feels she is intellectual and is contemptuous about the instinctive part of man which includes greed, anger, jealousy, sexuality. She is unable to integrate the intellectual with the instinctive; she is noble and therefore above the instinctive. But since both are definitely present, the instinctive side emerges as sexuality, which is an important part of Platina. Often performance in Platina is to be expressed through sexuality. The patients can use this aspect to have things their way.” [Sankaran]
G Painful sensitiveness of sexual organs; “cannot wear a napkin”.
Vaginismus; cannot bear an examination.
Faints almost during intercourse.
G Menses COPIOUS and of SHORT duration.
G Sudden intense hunger with eager, hasty eating.
[One of Julian’s provers consumed 1 kg of ice-cream to satisfy his hunger.]
Or: Appetite vanishes after the first mouthful.
• “Bulimia caused by boredom. Feeling of frustration: empty feeling, lacks something in the stomach; feels better when ‘too full’ but is worse after, because smitten with remorse at not having resisted the impulse to eat.”4
G Disturbed sleep.
Difficulty falling asleep.
• “He cannot stop thinking about past events in his life.” [Julian]
Frequent waking from sleep:
c With anxious, sad, and distressing thoughts. [Hering]
c Has difficulty collecting his senses on awaking at night. [Hering]
c Wakes up in middle of night with a feeling of fatigue and aching all over. [Julian]
c Wakes up in middle of night with a feeling of having left his body. [Julian]
c Wakes up about 3 a.m. feeling very thirsty. [Julian]
c Insomnia about 2 a.m. because of ‘nerve pains’, > eating. [Julian]
c Wakes up suddenly at 4 a.m. with excruciating pain in right arm and hand [as if paralysed]. [Julian]
G < Dry weather. > Wet weather.
G < At BEGINNING of menses. G > WALKING in OPEN AIR.
< HEAT. G < EVENING; before going to sleep. G < While fasting. G Violent cramping, squeezing, thrusting or benumbing pains. G NUMBNESS. Local [scalp, face, coccyx, calves, etc.]. In spots. Pains and numbness. G Numbness + stiffness + coldness [of many parts]. G CONSTRICTION; sensation as if BANDAGED. G SORE pain on PRESSURE. G Pains appear and disappear GRADUALLY. G COLDNESS of single parts. [face, eyes, ears, etc.] G STICKY secretions. [tears, stool, menses, etc.]  Juan, The Odd Brain. [2-4] Julian, Pathogenesis of Platinum 1980; BHJ, Jan. 1983. Rubrics Mind Abrupt, rough . Affectation in words . Ailments from loss of position . Ambition . Anxiety, when speaking in company [1/1]. Casting off people against her will [3/1]. Contemptuous of everything . Delusions, being alone in the world , she is not appreciated , does not belong to her own family [2/1], he is about to be choked at night on waking , all persons are devils , everyone is an enemy , is a great person , he was pulled and torn into threads [1/1], things appear small , he is conversing with spectres , as if in a strange land , is under superhuman control , of wealth . Dulness in company [1/1]. Dwells on past disagreeable occurrences at night . Egotism, self-esteem . Indifference to welfare of others . Religious, desires to do penance [2/1]. Reverence for those around him . Sadness, > open air , in darkness , in pregnancy , > sunshine [1/1].
Numbness, during menses [1/1]; brain ; occiput, as if too tightly bound ; temples ; vertex > motion and open air [1/1]. Pain, in crowded room .
Accommodation slow . Flickering before headache . Objects seem small .
Sensation of retraction ; retraction in spots [1/1].
Constipation, from sedentary habits , while travelling .
Disposition to masturbation during sleep .
Coldness during menses [1/1]. Insensibility of vagina during coition . Menses, black, pitch-like , copious and of short duration , ropy . Involuntary orgasm . Sexual desire, increased, in young girls [1/1], during menses , in virgins ; violent, driving her to masturbation .
Palpitation, in company [1/1], < lying on right side . Sleep Position, on back with hands over the head, thighs drawn up upon abdomen, and lower limbs uncovered [2/1]; knees spread apart . Generals Catalepsy, during menses [2/1], from sexual excitement . Rapid change of symptoms . Contradictory and alternating states . Light, sunlight > . Exposure to sun > . Weakness > motion .
Aversion: : Meat. : Everything; meat, during menses.
Desire: : Cold drinks; sweets; tobacco.
Worse: : Chocolate [= heaviness in stomach*]; coffee; marzipan [= heaviness in stomach*]; wine.
* Repertory additions [Julian].