In recent years, there has been explosive growth in popularity of white metals. Over the last decade alone (particularly white gold and silver) a unique opportunity was created for palladium jewelry. Palladium is unique since it offers a more radiant white than white gold, as well as many of the desired characteristics of platinum without platinum’s spot price; which has experienced a decrease in U.S. sales as it exceeded the $1,500 mark. This recent sales trend has been strongest among the new generation of fine jewelry consumers, 73% of 18 – 24 year old adults prefer white jewelry compared to 40% in the 25 and over group.
Currently, palladium has stabilized at around $700/oz making it irresistible even to white gold jewelry buyers.
Palladium and platinum are interchangeable in many applications as they are both noble metals with similar characteristics and usually derived from the same mines. Both share the lustrous beauty, strength and durability that have been the hallmarks of this metal class.
Although a member of the platinum family, this metal though well know in the world of jewelers, has its fair share of myths and misconceptions and the biggest one of all is that Palladium is the “poor man’s platinum.” Unbeknownst to all palladium is rarer than gold and a member in full standing of the platinum family. Like platinum, it offers higher purity and whiter color than white gold. Last, it is nickel free and hypo-allergenic, needs no transitory rhodium plating to give it the final color, and can be cast and soldered. If anything, it’s the only answer to the dilemma of white gold for those who can only afford gold. So it would be much more accurate to call palladium the “rich man’s white gold.”
Simple hint in identifying white metals – Not all white metals are clearly stamped with their alloy composition. If that happens to be the case for you, when you receive white metal jewelry that is not easily identified, just reach for a bottle of iodine to quickly and easily identify your metal. Simply place a drop of iodine on the white metal piece and let it dry. If it dries clear, it’s platinum. If it dries black, it’s palladium. And if it dries a brownish color, it’s white gold.
An example of finished Palladium and diamond ring.
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