Palladium a bit of history

Palladium a bit of history

Written by Sarah Dilley on 19 June 2014

This article is going to discuss palladium in comparison to other precious metals and why it is now used within the jewellery industry. Firstly we will discuss how palladium has relatively recently been classified as a precious metal, and will continue to discuss how its unique properties may make the perfect choice for your special ring.

Palladium is a rare metal from the same family as platinum, it was discovered in 1803 by English chemist William Hyde Wollaston whilst analysing samples of platinum ore, that were obtained in South America. Hyde named it palladium after the asteroid Pallas. Pallas is the third largest asteroid in the asteroid belt, discovered by German astronomer and physician Wilhein Olbers only one year earlier than the discovery of palladium, Olbers called the asteroid Pallas after the Greek Goddess Pallas Athena. Palladium is a relatively new metal in terms of it being classified as a precious metal, although it was discovered over two hundred years ago and it had been used as an alloy within gold.

Palladium only gained its own hallmark in July 2009, but this hallmark didn’t become a legal requirement until 2010. There are only four precious metals that require a hallmark; silver, gold, platinum, and now palladium.

Palladium, like platinum is a noble metal and it is therefore not affected by oxygen, meaning that it does not rust nor does it corrode. It also means that most acids will not penetrate it and damage the metal, keeping its brightness. Although (like all other precious metals), as an item of palladium jewellery is worn it will become scratched and have surface wear, but like platinum these scratches can easily be removed by having the item of jewellery polished.

Like platinum, palladium is a bright white metal; because it is naturally bright white in colour, it maintains its colour overtime. Palladium is a great choice for setting diamonds as well as coloured stones, its natural white lustre, means that it reflects the light and therefore the gemstones natural colour.

So, although palladium is part of the platinum family, it does not have the same price tag as platinum because its density is less.

Platinum is about fifteen times rarer than gold, whereas palladium is about thirty times more rarer than gold, which makes it roughly fifteen times more rarer than platinum. Palladium is the rarest precious metal, but because it is not very well known in the jewellery industry at the moment, its price does not reflect this, but since the beginning of the 21st century the price of palladium has been steadily increasing, meaning that an item of palladium jewellery could be a good investment, and increase in value in the future. This is a good selling point, as customers would like to think that there item is not going to decrease in value and that the item is made from such a rare precious metal.

Platinum has a high density meaning that it is a heavy metal, so depending on the design the ring can be heavy to wear, where as palladium is 40% lighter than platinum, meaning that larger designs can be made without the piece becoming too heavy or uncomfortable to wear. This makes palladium a great option for customers that are not use to wearing jewellery, or that would like a large item that it to be worn every day.

Within the platinum group, palladium has the lowest melting point because of its difference in density, it means that it is a more malleable metal than platinum, so there are more design options available. Palladium is also an option for customers who have metal allergies, as it is a hypoallergenic metal, meaning that is less likely to cause allergies than other metals. Although in-depth testing has not been carried out, so it is always wise to look at your history of wearing jewellery.

Palladium is an excellent choice for customers that would like an environmentally friendly metal, as palladium is a by-product of mining platinum, meaning that it is mined when mining platinum. This means it has effectively better environmental credentials than other metals because its mining causes no further damage to the environment. As palladium is a rare metal, it means that it is also recycled from its other applications.

This article has discussed palladium, and its many properties and why it may be the best choice for your perfect ring. To view our gallery of palladium rings click here.