Looking to break away from the more common precious metals with our custom design jeweler in Seattle and Bellevue? Try palladium.
Palladium was first discovered by the English chemist William Hyde Wollaston in 1803. It is in the same elemental family as platinum, but is distinguished from the other metals in this group by its very low density and melting point. That low density is one of the things making palladium an increasingly popular choice for all types of jewelry because it means that any piece made of palladium will be much lighter and less restrictive than one made of another metal.
Despite its relatively light weight, palladium is quite durable and strong. It was first used in jewelry around 1939, and since then has enjoyed a widespread popularity as an alternative to platinum, nickel, and silver in the production of white gold. Palladium is perfect for this process because it is naturally white in color, lighter than platinum, and won’t cause the allergic reactions that nickel can.
The use of pure palladium in jewelry is a relatively recent phenomenon, and these pieces are increasingly in demand because of their light weight, delicate appearance, and competitive price. While it used to be more expensive than gold or platinum, recent increases in the costs of those metals have made palladium an economical and desirable choice.
Palladium does not seem to be reducing the market share of gold and platinum jewelry, however. Instead, it is becoming the metal of choice for those customers who would have opted for white gold in the past. And unlike white gold, palladium will keep its true color through years of daily wear. Even the best white gold needs professional attention every few years to reverse its tendency to turn yellow over time.
The strength of palladium also means that it holds a variety of stones quite well. Although platinum is generally considered to be the best metal for holding diamonds, palladium has many of the same properties as platinum and can also get the job done quite well. The lightness of palladium also comes in handy when the jewelry piece in question contains a particularly large or dense gemstone. In that case, the weight of the stone is offset by the lightness of the metal, making the piece more comfortable to wear than it would be if a heavier metal was used.
Palladium jewelry does require some special care if it is to remain in pristine condition over time. Some of this care you can complete on your own by occasionally soaking your palladium in a mixture of water and a mild detergent and then carefully wiping it off. However, it’s important to check and make sure any other metals or stones on the piece you’re cleaning can’t be harmed by your cleanser before you begin. Some pieces really need to be cleaned by a professional to make sure they aren’t damaged in the process.
Because palladium jewelry is gaining in popularity so rapidly, there are more and more different styles and designs available on a daily basis. And with the recent surge in the price of gold and platinum, palladium jewelry is even more attractive because of its relative affordability. With their radiant white color and many great attributes, palladium pieces are sure to be much sought after for many years to come.