Palladium is a naturally white precious metal, in the platinum metals group family. Palladium is a chemical element with the symbol Pd. It was discovered in 1803 by a fascinating man, William Hyde Wollaston. (You can read the story of how palladium was discovered.) Palladium is rare - much rarer than gold and even platinum!
Palladium began to be used in jewelry since 1939. During WWII platinum was needed for the war effort and in many countries was not available. So palladium rings became a great alternative.
Palladium is hypo-allergenic and a great choice for those with sensitivity concerns. Palladium is stronger than platinum but less dense. The Stillwater Mine, located in Montana, is the only source for palladium in the U.S.
Why Choose a Palladium ring over a White Gold Ring?
Most people who have purchased a white gold ring did so because they like the fact that gold is a precious metal and they wanted a white color metal for their ring. But white gold is not a true white metal. Think about it…what color is gold when it comes out of the ground? That’s right, it’s yellow! So to make a 14kt white gold ring, the jeweler takes 58% pure gold (remember pure gold is bright yellow) and alloys the pure gold with white metal alloys, like nickel. These alloys “bleach” out the metal leaving it with a slight yellowish color. So white gold is not a true white color like platinum, palladium, silver or steel.
The last step before the ring makes it into the jewelry store showcase, or in the jewelers’ gift box, is that the ring is then rhodium plated. Rhodium plating the ring makes it look like platinum in color. It’s kind of like chrome plating the bumper on your car. But the rhodium plating wears off after little time, showing the true color of the white gold ring. Of course, you can go to a jeweler and pay to have your ring re-rhodium plated. Average cost is about $30 - $50 to rhodium plate a ring.
But a palladium ring, because the metal is a naturally white precious metal, does not ever need to be rhodium plated. It will stay white forever, it does not yellow.
White gold rings have a certain amount of nickel in them. Palladium rings have no nickel in them and are the perfect choice for those with sensitivity to nickel. They are hypoallergenic – unlike white gold rings.
White gold rings come in several purities – 10K is 41% pure gold, 14K is 58% pure gold and 18K is 75% pure gold. But palladium rings are 95% pure. Therefore, palladium rings are much more precious than white gold rings.
Palladium can support more intricate designs than white gold can. So for filigree work palladium is the better choice.
Value is another consideration. Even though the price of one ounce of pure gold is more than double the price of palladium, palladium is much rarer than gold. So purchasing a palladium ring now could prove to be a wise decision.
Why Choose a Palladium Ring over a Platinum Ring?
Yes, platinum is a precious metal that is naturally white. So is Palladium. It is in the platinum metals group family. What's the main difference, if they are both naturally white and hypoallergenic? PRICE. Read on...
Recently the NY Spot price of platinum went over $2100 per ounce! The last several years however it has traded in the $1500 - $1700 range. In comparison, during the same time period palladium traded in the $500 - $750 range. So a platinum ring will cost several times more than a similar styled palladium ring.
Density of the metals is also a big difference. Platinum is a very dense metal, meaning a platinum wedding band will be fairly heavy. Palladium is rather light, meaning a palladium wedding band will be pretty light on the finger. Thus saving you some more hard earned cash.
Platinum is a soft metal. It scratches, bends, gouges very easily. Palladium is about 12% harder than platinum. So your palladium ring will keep it's finish longer and not scratch as easily.