Fun Facts about Palladium

Of the precious metals we refine here at Manhattan Gold & Silver, palladium is the least well known. Discovered in 1802 by William Hyde Wollaston, palladium is one of the six PGMs and has a wide range of industrial uses. Learn more about palladium with these fun facts:

  • More than half of the global supply of palladium goes into manufacturing catalytic converters for automobiles and other machines equipped with combustion engines.
  • Before the precious metal palladium was discovered, the word “palladium” referred to objects believed to mystically provide protection and safety (e.g. a talisman, rather than a shield). The origin of the definition comes from Homer’s Iliad.
  • Rather than conferring his namesake, Wollaston named his discovery after the asteroid, Pallas. The asteroid’s name comes from the Greek goddess Pallas, granddaughter of Poseidon.
  • Palladium has the lowest melting point (2830.82 °F) and is the least dense of the PGMs.  
  • Deposits of palladium are rare, but are found in South Africa, Canada, and Russia. Much of the world’s demand for palladium is met by recycling catalytic converters.
  • In 2010, Richard F. Heck, Ei-ichi Negishi, and Akira Suzuki were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work in palladium-catalyzed coupling reactions and organic synthesis – which are widely used for the synthesis of fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals.
  • In jewelry, palladium is known for its durability, low-maintenance, and similar appearance to platinum at a much lower cost.
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