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Precious Metals in Jewelry Making Part 5: Palladium’s Rising Popularity

Of all the precious metals we’ve discussed so far, palladium is perhaps the least popular choice for jewelry. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s a poor material. Palladium actually has a lot to offer and works as an interesting alternative to platinum.

Palladium had its first taste of popularity in the jewelry world when platinum was declared as a strategic resource by the U.S. government during World War II. Since palladium looked so similar to platinum, it served as a substitute and the demand for palladium wedding bands increased. Today, palladium is mostly used to create white-gold. Even though it’s more expensive than nickel based white-gold alloy, white-gold made with palladium offers a few advantages. Because of palladium’s natural white luster and corrosion resistance, no rhodium plating is required. Also, many people have a skin allergy to nickel, so palladium works as a great alternative when making white-gold rings.

Palladium jewelry looks remarkably similar to platinum jewelry, but there are key differences. For example, palladium has a lower density, so it’s more lightweight than platinum jewelry. That lower density also makes palladium more scratch resistant and easier to polish than platinum jewelry. And although precious metal prices are always changing, palladium generally only costs about half as much as platinum.

Because of its unique features, palladium may eventually become a more popular choice for jewelry shoppers everywhere. The next time you’re shopping for jewelry, or if you’re a jeweler creating a new design, consider whether palladium might be a better choice than the other precious metals.

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