Both stunning in appearance (and quite often stunning in price too!) palladium and platinum are two of the more expensive precious metals used in fine jewellery manufacturing.
Known for being hard and durable, these naturally silvery-white metals fall under the extremely rare platinum group metals (PGMs) family.
Thanks to their hardness, beautiful appearance, and hypoallergenic properties, both of these precious metals are becoming increasingly popular for fine jewellery pieces and engagement rings.
Whilst they tend to resist scratching and discolouration more than other valuable metals such as gold or silver, platinum and palladium can develop a signature ‘patina’, and easily become dirty and tired looking over time through daily wear.
Cleaning Platinum and Palladium - Where Do You Begin?
Compared to the other precious metals, platinum and palladium’s natural ability to withstand metal oxidisation – also known as ‘tarnish’ – have made them an extremely popular choice for fine jewellery.
Despite the absence of this tarnish, both metals are unfortunately not entirely immune to the daily build-up of dirt and grime from frequent wearing. Also, without frequent cleaning or polishing, platinum and palladium can develop a ‘patina’ finish over time with a loss of lustre leading to a worn, aged appearance.
With the right amount of care and attention and the proper cleaning methods however, you can clean most platinum and palladium jewellery at home.
If in doubt though, it’s always best to first have your jewellery examined and cleaned by a professional.
Understanding the Properties of Platinum and Palladium
Before you decide to try and undertake any cleaning yourself, it’s important to first understand some basics of these metals.
Unlike white gold, there’s no need to rhodium plate platinum or palladium as they always retain their naturally bright white colour. Both metals are also extremely durable and effectively resistant to the erosion of most chemicals and acids.
Whilst both metals share a similar shiny white appearance, they do have slightly different physical properties however – palladium is a somewhat harder metal than platinum, meaning it’s more difficult to scratch and slightly easier to clean.
How to Clean Platinum and Palladium Jewellery?
The simplest (and safest) way to clean any precious jewellery is with a mild dish soap and warm water solution.
- Fill a small container with 1/2 tsp. of mild dish soap and warm water.
- Place the platinum or palladium jewellery in the solution and allow to soak for five minutes.
- Remove from the solution and scrub with a small brush, or wipe with a soft cloth – repeat step 2 and 3 until all dirt and grime is fully removed.
- Carefully rinse the jewellery in cool water.
- Hand-dry with a soft cloth.
What about patina?
Unlike softer gold, which loses small amounts of metal over time from deep scratches and scuffs, when platinum and palladium jewellery is scratched, the metal instead ‘moves’ from one part of the piece to another. Over time, this gives the metals a matte-finish appearance – also known as patina.
Patina can be easily removed with professional polishing, or at home with the use of a polishing cloth.
We’ve been manufacturing, selling, and cleaning jewellery for decades, right from our Dublin City centre shop. Simply drop into our store on 5 Mary St, Dublin 1, or alternatively, just give us a call now on (01) 872 8726 and we’d be happy to help.
For more information on our other jewellery cleaning services, click here.