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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Palladium vs Platinum in the Jewelry markets

Palladium was considered the “wonder child” of the industry a few years ago as manufacturers touted the benefits over platinum. The main benefit cited was price. And in truth, the price differences in palladium and platinum are substantial. The paragraph below tell part of the reasons why, besides the fact that on the metals market palladium is priced closer to gold than the platinum, a lower price to begin with.

Specific Gravity, what we would call the “weight” of the metal is not exactly weight but is an easy way to compare the heft of metal. The higher the number, the heavier is the metal. You will see that platinum is almost but not quite twice as dense (say heavy) as palladium. This weight difference makes a huge difference in the weight of a ring. The weight also make a difference in price. Even with platinum much more costly than palladium, the mere fact that the item will weigh more make the price even higher since you pay for weight of metal used, not volume. You pay for less weight in a ring of the same exact dimensions made of palladium than one made of the much heavier platinum. On the finger, a palladium ring will feel much like one of 14k gold while the platinum ring will feel heavier (because it IS heavier).

Palladium 12.02 sg
Platinum 21.5 sg

Palladium will cost more than gold but substantially less than platinum.

Platinum in the popular trend is finished with a bright shine. So is palladium and white gold. Be aware that the shine will not last with platinum. Platinum does not scratch like gold but the metal behaves differently, more like a “rubbing” or “scuffing” effect than gold. The result is that in a fairly short period of time a platinum ring will be dull and not shiny. This is a characteristic of the working properties of the metal. Palladium appears to fall somewhere in between white gold and platinum in ability to retain a shine. We have sold several palladium rings but our experience of the wear characteristic is limited. Still, palladium appears to stay shiny longer than platinum and not as long as white gold. White gold, palladium and platinum can be refinished by a jeweler to bring up the original shine. With either platinum or palladium the process is much more tedious and time consuming than with white gold. Platinum take the longest and will cost the most to refinish, keeping in mind the dullness will return. Palladium takes perhaps half as much time to refinish as platinum. Platinum takes about 5 times longer to refinish than white gold.

Both platinum and palladium offer quite superior stone setting security than white gold. The reason is called “spring back”, a tendency of metal to spring back to its original position and not stay in the place it was bent. When a prong setting is pushed over a diamond with platinum or palladium, the prong shows no spring back and stays in place. Gold take a bit more push and nudging to get the stone quite tight in the setting.
Prongs on platinum and palladium rings appear to wear about the same degree, still working from limited experience in this statement! : ) Both wear better than does most white gold, even if the prongs are dull and not shiny anymore from wear.

Hope this helps anyone unsure as palladium is the 'new' platinum today!


tattytiara said...

Wow I'd never heard of the stuff - you learned me a new thing today. Nice work!

Kelly said...

Thanks! It's just good useful info for anyone wanting to purchase a bridal set, or any kind of upscale jewelry, since all these different precious metals can be confusing. I prefer working in sterling silver. It feels more organic to me...whatever that may mean! :)