Palladium was utilized little in the jewelry industry until World War II, when platinum was declared a strategic metal and could no longer be used in jewelry. Bands and rings were then produced in palladium. Since it is a challenging metal to work with, once platinum was again available for use in jewelry, palladium was reduced to being used as an alloy in the manufacturing white gold. Since 2004 the techniques needed for casting and use of palladium have been mastered by many jewelers and jewelry manufacturers. Due to the unstable precious metals market and the rising price of platinum, palladium, priced significantly lower per ounce, is enjoying a new found popularity. Palladium jewelry has a high level of purity. Like platinum it is measured in parts per 1000. Most palladium jewelry is 950 parts palladium and 50 parts ruthenium and marked “950 Pd”.
Care, Cleaning and other interesting facts
With palladium’s low density, larger designs, especially in earrings, which were once made in heavier platinum, can now be made at a much lighter weight, making the finished product more comfortable for the consumer to wear. Palladium, like platinum, develops a natural patina over time, a matte finish that is distinctive to this group of metals. Palladium does react to strong acids such as nitric, sulfuric and hydrochloric, so it is important to keep jewelry away from harsh chemical and cleaners. Protect your palladium jewelry when not being worn, by placing it in a soft cloth when not being worn. Clean your palladium with a cleaning solution of sudsy lukewarm water, or bring it to your local jeweler and have it cleaned professionally.
The importance of the purity of palladium
Palladium is typically alloyed as 95% palladium and 5% ruthenium. It is hypoallergenic and resists tarnishing, making it easy for sensitive people to wear. It is lighter in weight than platinum and can offer a light weight, more comfortable to wear option for larger pieces of jewelry.
Differences between palladium and platinum
Palladium has a lower melting point and lower density than platinum. It is 10% stronger than platinum, showing slightly less wear over a period of time. Palladium is typically priced at ½ to 1/3 the price of platinum.
Repairing palladium jewelry
Since palladium can discolor with high soldering temperatures, it is best to have your palladium jewelry repaired or sized by a jeweler trained in working with this metal.