At Mark Henry Jewelry, we are all about innovation and modernity. In that sense, palladium reflects many of the convictions we hold so far. This precious metal is not necessarily new, but it has climbed the ranks of the jewelry world recently.
So what makes it stand out?
Palladium was first found in 1803 amongst the crude platinum ore of South Africa. Yes, that’s right, palladium is related to platinum! But don’t get the two confused. William Hyde Wollaston is to thank for this metal revelation, and he quickly brought his findings back to England.
As the metal was studied, it clearly deviated from platinum’s properties. This was an excellent opportunity to break a new option into the jewelry markets. It also seemed like a lucrative investment for all other metal-made materials, like cars. Over the years, the value and price of palladium have fluctuated quite dramatically.
What has stayed true is the innate worth of the metal. Palladium has never wavered in changing the metal game, and it has no plans on stopping any time soon. However, this doesn’t mean that it is a flawless material for rings or there are no hesitations by some buyers. Especially when it comes to big purchases like engagement or wedding rings, the slightest of details should be considered.
That is why we have compiled a crash course on palladium’s use in jewelry. You’ll be able to walk away from this article with information on the metal’s strength, appearance, and practicality. You will also know exactly what questions to ask jewelers as you navigate palladium ring settings and gem pairings.
Let’s get started.
The Scientific Story
Just like we love to muse about different types of gemstones and diamond cuts, scientists love the makeup of metals.
To accurately explain the pros and cons of palladium, we have to give you some proper background knowledge.
Palladium in Relation to Other Metals
Remember how we mentioned that palladium comes from platinum ore? Platinum isn’t the only metal known to conceal palladium. Palladium can also form inside platinum, nickel, gold, silver, or copper deposits.
Despite the multitude of potential options, it is still quite rare to unearth. You are more likely to find the aforementioned metals in their own deposits over palladium. This adds a bit of mystery and lure to palladium. Anything that is rare is immediately more precious in the eyes of jewelers and scientists alike.
It’s hard to find palladium in real life but rather simple when searching on the periodic table. Simply look for the abbreviation Pd, alongside the other ten famed metals. It has an atomic number of 46 and an atomic weight of 106.40
Is Palladium a Catalyst?
Palladium is famed in chemistry as a catalyst. It has the ability to make hydrogen pure because it can take in 900x of its own volume in H. This makes it perfect for car use because it removes harmful carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and hydrocarbons in exhaust fumes. All of this can be done with palladium at room temperature, making its benefits even more accessible.
In 1999, over half (60%) of international palladium use was as a catalyst to purify car exhaust. It is also used to purify everyday products like fertilizer by catalyzing the product’s nitric acid component.
Palladium’s claim to fame in the jewelry world was its inclusion with gold to help create white gold. From there, it became sought after for its color and ability to resist corrosion.
The metal is a beautiful silvery-white hue, comparable to white gold. Most engagement and wedding rings like plain and bright tones, making palladium an instant hit.
Cons of Palladium
Con: Confusing Perceptions on Durability
One of the biggest perks of using palladium is that it has a very light feeling. Palladium is great for someone who likes that lighter feel on their hand, especially every day with a wedding ring. Also, active couples might seek something that won’t weigh them down while working out, etc.
However, what palladium makes up for in feel, it lacks in density. Out of the ten metals in the table of elements, palladium has the lowest density. While this is excellent for its use as a catalyst, it isn't as durable as other metals.
It might be hard for a buyer to separate these two truths because they seem to conflict. Add in the fact that palladium is 12% harder than its counterpart platinum, and everything seems even more convoluted.
However, this is actually a positive sign and proves that the metal won’t break down as quickly as platinum. A hidden pro in a sea of contradictions!
Pros of Palladium
Pro: Long-Lasting Opportunity
If you’re searching for a ring that can hold up to changes, palladium might be the one for you. It is malleable, meaning it can easily transform into different shapes and sizes.
If you ever need to change ring sizes, a jeweler won’t have a hard time making this happen for you. Human inflammation, weight, and more fluctuates, and investing in a metal that can adapt is always a good idea.
Palladium is also excellent for use in other, smaller jewelry. It can be made into pieces as thin as 1/250,000 of an inch. Its versatility in car, dentistry, and jewelry use is what makes it so alluring to so many different audiences. It also does not need rhodium plating, creating a simple jewelry-making process.
Pro: Safety First
Perhaps the most essential reason why palladium is beloved for rings is that it is hypoallergenic. Have you ever taken off a ring and watched a green band imprint into your finger? There is nothing of the sort when you take off a palladium ring.
Metal allergies are not discussed as often as they should be. For some, they are a major health concern. If your partner has an allergy to gold or silver, consider a palladium engagement ring. The best gift is a thoughtful gift.
Pro and Con of Pallidum
Money Matters: Pro and Con
Since 2004, palladium has broken from its mixing purposes with other metals and made a name for itself. It is now one of the most affordable and accessible ring metals, appealing to a wider and more inclusive audience.
This doesn’t mean it can’t be paired with luxurious gems or diamonds. Many consider it just as exquisite as gold or platinum in appearance.
Platinum is far more costly than palladium, which can be a turnoff for some consumers. Take the money that you saved to put towards other wedding plans or an inner ring engraving. The average price of a palladium wedding band for a groom is $700.
The downside to palladium’s cost is that it is unpredictable. The best example of this is the modern economy. While palladium’s worth peaked in August of 2021, it plummeted after the onslaught of the Russia-Ukraine War winter of 2022. Sanctions on metal imports will always make prices unsteady, but palladium is worth buying now before its cost rises again.
How Do You Clean Palladium Rings?
Even the strongest jewelry needs a good cleaning now and again. It’s essential to be cognizant of the best cleaning practices for this metal.
All jewelry should be routinely wiped down and cleaned. This is particularly important for engagement rings and wedding bands because they are worn every day. Thus, they are more susceptible to extensive wear and tear.
Practical Tips for Cleaning Jewelry
For general jewelry cleaning, it is best to be aware of daily irritants. Yes, you should plan for a scheduled clean, but life happens. Dust can harm metals and fog up gemstones. Harsh chemicals can peel away at bands on rings and metal on bracelets.
Ideally, you will send away your rings for a thorough, professional cleaning annually. This can ensure it is being checked up on under proper magnification, and any damage you miss will be repaired. You also can rest easy knowing your pieces are in amazing hands before they return to yours.
A toothbrush can be used with warm, soapy water to lightly buff the ring in between big cleans. You should feel confident in palladium’s self-protection against scratching, too, and this should be less of a concern than cleanliness. It has great wearability as a metal because it is so hard.
Support for Gamechangers: Pro
As we’ve outlined, Mark Henry Jewelry is all about looking toward the future. Palladium was dubbed a precious metal in 2010, centuries after the introduction of gold, platinum, and silver. Palladium has our full support, breaking the mold of tradition and moving towards something new yet timeless.
However, as a fine jewelry company, palladium is not necessarily on par with the value of other metals quite yet. We still admire its rarity and hope for its success, and while we do not sell palladium rings at this time, that is only a snapshot of this moment. Fashion and science are constantly changing, and we vow to be at the forefront of both.
It is projected that palladium prices should be comparable to that of 18kt gold, which we do sell. All of our rings proudly bear 18kt gold and silver bands. This is an optimistic development.
The Ring Is In Your Hands
As always, the ball is in your hands, and the ring is made for your finger. With all of the information presented, it is up to you to now choose what metal best fits your lifestyle. Based on activities, how often you plan to wear your ring or any allergies, palladium might be perfect for you.