Palladium has been used to make jewelry for nearly a century. However, it’s never really reached a fever pitch in popularity. It came close during World War II when platinum was declared as a strategic resource by the US government and many jewelers offered platinum as a substitute. But, difficulties with the casting process kept many jewelers from fully embracing palladium, causing platinum and white gold to once again become the popular materials.
There have sine been improvements to the casting process to make the metalworking more accessible, but palladium can still be a tricky metal to work with for less experienced jewelers. However, it can be well-worth trouble because of the numerous advantages it can offer to discerning customers. When presenting palladium pieces to your customers, try to emphasize the following points:
Similar appearance to platinum: Since palladium is one of the platinum group metals (PGMs), it has a very similar color and appearance to platinum. Depending on the impurities and polishing technique, the difference can be imperceptible except to the well-trained eye.
Durability: While platinum is very strong in a sense, it doesn’t take many years for it to develop a permanent patina of scratch marks. Platinum is so hard, the scratches can be polished out. While some consider this feature to be a hallmark of the jewelry’s character, those who desire pristine looking pieces will be disappointed. Palladium, however, is more malleable so any scratches that appear can be more easily polished out.
Easy care and natural luster: On its own, 14k white gold alloy still has a yellowish appearance. It only gains its signature shade of white when it has rhodium plating – which must be replaced periodically as part of its upkeep. Meanwhile, palladium is naturally white hued and doesn’t require any plating to protect its appearance.
Price: Precious metal prices are always changing, but palladium pieces generally go for the same price as similarly sized 14k white gold pieces or half the price of platinum pieces. For many customers, this is a major selling point!
Because of its uniqueness and multiple advantages, it can be well worth the effort to expand your shop’s palladium offerings.