Palladium Jewelery Facts
Palladium is a charcoal grey metal and a member of the Platinum family. It is softer than platinum and more ideal for jewelers to work. It is also cheaper and so larger jewelery pieces can be designed. It has an excellent resistance to corrosion and any palladium piece should bear a hallmark (in the US) of Pd950 or PD 500 to indicate the percentage of palladium to other metals.
Palladium is becoming more popular in jewelery and its malleability makes it ideal for setting gemstones. It is often alloyed with gold to produce white gold which tends to look rather gray in appearance so rhodium is quite often coated to give that bright white sparkle white gold bears.
Palladium is also tarnish free and hypoallergenic, which is to say people generally do not have any allergy to palladium, but sometimes, if mixed with other metals there may be an allergic reaction to those u=other metals, particularly nickel.
There are various 'mixtures' of metals with palladium available. One such is 50/50 platinum and palladium. This has the advantage of being both valuable (the platinum being more than twice the value of the palladium) and harder and more resistant to wear. It also retains that whiteness that goes so well with gemstones, such as diamonds for example.
As gold and platinum increase in value palladium is often seen as an excellent alternative, particularly for pendants and earrings being lighter than both other metals and easier to wear therefore.
In Europe Palladium is the standard for alloying with gold to produce white gold. It avoids the problems some people have with skin issues such as dermatitis and eczema.
Keeping palladium clean is very simple. A wash in warm soapy water then well rinsed to get any residue soap out of the crevasses and then completely dried is sufficient most of the time.
Palladium Jewelry is not very common and may be hard to find. Many jewelers do not deal in it because people confuse it with platinum, despite the much higher value, and also being a much lighter metal. Many people wearing jewelry want to feel some weight or substantial "feel" which you don't get with palladium.
Nevertheless palladium jewelry is slowly becoming more popular as the high price of platinum (generally around the 1000 plus dollars per ounce) and the lesser price for palladium of only a third of that giving a higher profit margin than most precious metals.
Most palladium jewelry is 95 percent pure and the look is similar to platinum or even white gold. It also does not need to be coated to achieve the white shine as white gold does. It is also half the density of platinum which means that more jewelry can be made from it per ounce weight than platinum.
In addition US stamping laws do not place any restrictions on marketing palladium and as palladium is not recognized in the UK and many European countries as jewelry metal it is not hallmarked.
Palladium is, like gold, a ductile metal and falls between 40 and 44 Vickers annealed or as cast. This means it is not really hard enough for jewelry so a lot of effort is now going into develop compositions with other metals that will improve its hardness for jewelry as well as retain its shine and possibly improve its weight for the consumer.
Currently alloys such as silver, gallium, ruthenium are also being trialed.
Palladium melts at a higher temperature than gold and so care must be taken when alloying the various metals.
Palladium and Palladium Jewelry look set over the coming years to take a more prominent place in the jewelry field and it might be a good idea to keep a beady eye on this.
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