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Palladium - The Other White Precious Metal

Sep 1, 2008
Palladium, not to be confused with platinum, is one of a group of white precious metals that can be used for a variety of commercial applications (i.e. computers, mobile phones, dentistry, medical equipment, fuel cells) as well as in the manufacturing of beautiful pieces of fine jewelry. Most palladium today, however, is used in the manufacture of automobile catalytic converters.

Palladium, named after the asteroid Pallas, was first discovered in 1803 by William Hyde Wollaston. Palladium is a rare metal with the largest deposits found in South Africa, Montana, Canada, and Russia.

The first recorded use of palladium in jewelry was in 1939 as an alternative to platinum or white gold. This precious metal provides the contemporary look of a white metal. Unlike white gold, palladium is naturally bright white and its color will never fade. Palladium has a low melting point but becomes very strong when cooled, making it a good alternative to softer white metals. It can be hammered into very thin leaves just like gold, and can, in fact, be used in the production of white gold.

Palladium offers many of the desirable traits of platinum at a terrific price, considered a fashionable, affordable choice for custom jewelry. The metal is 40% lighter, harder and less expensive than platinum and provides a hypoallergenic metal suitable for those with nickel sensitivities.

Until recently, the use of palladium in jewelry has been limited due to the difficulty of casting this metal. Recent advances, however, have produced a new alloy of palladium that is perfectly suited for jewelry manufacturing, offering consumers an ideal substitution for platinum at a reasonable cost. The most common combination of the metal is 95% palladium and 5% ruthenium, known as 950 Palladium.

Palladium settings are preferred over gold for extra large diamonds and gemstones, since the metal is more durable than gold and less likely to incur damage during every-day wear. Many customers who opt to wear their fine jewelry selections daily prefer the lighter feel of palladium. Larger earrings and necklaces made of palladium can be worn comfortably all day.

If you have found that you are allergic to other types of metals, you may find that palladium is just what you have been looking for. It is a hypoallergenic metal, meaning it won't leave you itching or with a rash where it touches your skin. Since many pierced earring wearers are especially sensitive to some metals, finding studs, hoops and posts that are made of palladium can truly make wearing earrings fun again.

The Chinese have historically been the biggest buyers and producers of palladium jewelry. However, the advances in palladium casting techniques and recent escalation in gold and platinum prices are driving an increasing demand for palladium fine jewelry around the world. The demand is expected to continue to increase as many consumers discover the beauty, durability, and lightness of this lustrous white precious metal. As a result, there is an increasing availability of palladium jewelry in jewelry stores around the world, especially wedding bands and engagement sets, in jewelry stores around the world.
About the Author
Amy Carrington is a fashion maven and editor at www.SorellaJewelry.com. Sorella Jewelry Studio creates elegant and original personalized jewelry with the names, words, dates and Chinese symbols that matter to you.
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