There’s a “new” white precious metal making waves in the jewelry industry. Palladium has become the “Now Metal” for those looking for something unique, high-quality and “green,” yet without the hefty price tag of platinum or white gold.
Although palladium has been used in jewelry since the 1940s, it has enjoyed a big resurgence in recent years, particularly in the bridal market. Mined naturally white directly from the earth, palladium shines white forever with no need for plating or bleaching like white gold.
This beautiful precious metal is exceptionally rare and valuable. As a platinum group metal, it has most of the superior qualities of platinum – including its rich, white luster, high purity level, resistance to tarnish and scratches, exceptional strength and durability, and the fact that it is hypoallergenic (it won’t cause an allergic reaction when worn).
One of the key areas that separates palladium from platinum (and white gold, too, for that matter) is cost. For most of 2008, platinum sold at a trading range between $750 and $2,200 per ounce. During the same period, gold was priced between $700 and $1,000 per ounce. Meanwhile, palladium sold between $170 and $590 per ounce. This means that jewelry manufacturers and designers can create stunning designs in palladium for significantly less than they could in platinum or white gold.
In addition, palladium is significantly less dense than platinum – which means that jewelry designers using the metal can create much larger, thicker designs in rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets than would be practical (or affordable) in platinum.
These impressive, unique qualities already have made palladium an important “new” medium for fashion-forward jewelry and timepieces under famous trendsetting brands, such as Cartier and Bulgari.
As an added bonus, palladium symbolizes the ideals and social awareness of today’s consumer. Stillwater Mining Co., North America’s largest palladium producer, is a Sierra Club-endorsed “green” mine.
Palladium jewelry is usually stamped 950 Pd, which means that its content is 950 parts palladium and 50 parts other metals.