What is Palladium?
Palladium is nothing new and has been around for hundreds of years. William Hyde Wollaston discovered palladium in 1803 and named it after the asteroid Pallas. It is a rare silvery-white metal that belongs to the platinum group of metals which include rhodium, iridium, and platinum. It is becoming increasingly popular for its use in jewellery, especially engagement rings, due to its price, durability, and look.
As of writing this article, Palladium costs much less than gold and is more or less the same as platinum. The current market prices of each, per gram, are:
- Gold: $46.76
- Platinum: $31.19
- Palladium: $31.89
The price of palladium is on the rise as more and more people seek alternatives to white gold and platinum. This may eventually raise the price of palladium, but it can be an advantage to those investing in the precious metal.
Palladium in Jewellery
Palladium has become a popular alternative to white gold and platinum jewellery due its lighter weight, price, strength and similar silvery-white colour. It is also a naturally occurring hypoallergenic, meaning it is great for persons who are sensitive to other types of metals. Its lightweight feel makes it an excellent choice for those who are not used to wearing jewellery and, unlike white gold, palladium will not tarnish over time.
It is becoming one of the most popular metals used for wedding jewellery - especially in engagement and wedding rings. Besides the benefit of cost, its popularity could be thanks to the fact that it is purer than white gold and far more durable. What this means is that a palladium ring requires less maintenance. For example, white gold is rhodium plated and after time can develop a yellow tinge. Palladium does not develop any tinge, in fact it develops a patina that gives it a beautiful matte finish.
The patina is formed when a palladium ring is scratched. The metal moves from one part to another, it is not permanent, and it can be polished back into a shine. This is seen as an advantage over white gold because white gold loses its metal when scratched and must be re-plated to get the original shine back.
Palladium vs. Platinum
Palladium belongs to the same group of metals as platinum, but it is rarer and only found in a few mines around the world, with up to 80% of it being mined in South Africa and Russia. It is one of the lightest or least dense metals of the platinum group and about 10% more scratch resistant than platinum - making it an excellent choice for those who want a durable and light piece of jewellery. Pricewise (as of March 2018) palladium and platinum are more or less the same.
Palladium vs. White Gold
Gold is not naturally silvery-white in colour and must be alloyed with other metals such as manganese, nickel, rhodium, and even palladium. The disadvantage is that over time it can fade and needs to be re-plated to retain or restore its colour. This is because white gold thins and losses its metal when scratched, and especially when scratches are being buffed out. On the other hand, palladium is a naturally occurring white metal making it purer than white gold. It does not fade and will not need to be re-plated, best of all, it does not loose metal when scratched or being buffed. Pricewise, palladium is much cheaper than gold, as of March 2018 it is about 30% cheaper than gold.
Palladium is an excellent metal for those who love white or silver coloured jewellery. It is cheaper than gold, durable, lighter, and simply looks fantastic.
Come by our store on 5 Mary Street, Dublin City Centre, where we will be more than happy to explain the pros and cons of palladium as well as demonstrate the differences in colour and feel using real pieces of jewellery.