Jan 12, 2015, 3:00:00 PM / by Denise Joyce

WhatIsPalladiumWhen you think about the perfect metal for an engagement ring, wedding band, or another piece of jewelry, you'll likely think about gold, silver, or even platinum. But there's another metal that's becoming increasingly popular for jewelry, and that metal is palladium. Although palladium itself isn't actually new, it's often considered to be the "newest white metal." Palladium looks like platinum, but it's more rare and a fraction of the cost. Like platinum, palladium jewelry is often 95 percent pure, meaning you get more precious metal in your jewelry. Palladium is becoming more popular among jewelry buyers, but most people still don't know much about this rare and precious metal.

History of palladium

Palladium was discovered in 1803 by William Hyde Wollaston and was named after the asteroid Pallas, which was first sighted in 1801. Palladium is also the 46th element on the periodic table. Designers have been using palladium to make jewelry since 1939, but it's become increasingly popular over the past several years. Palladium is a rare, lustrous silvery white metal and is a member of the platinum group of metals along with platinum, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium and osmium.

Where does palladium come from?

Palladium is mined all over the world, and 79 percent of palladium is mined in Russia and South Africa. Stillwater Mining Company is the only producer of palladium in the United States, and it accounts fro 14 percent of the palladium worldwide. The two main sources of palladium are mine production and secondary recovery. In 2012, 8.7 million ounces of palladium were supplied to the market for use in jewelry, electronics, the automotive industry and more. Of that, approximately 6.3 million ounces came from a mine supply, while 2.4 million ounces came from secondary recovery.

Palladium in jewelry

Palladium is a member of the platinum family, and like platinum, it is naturally a silvery white color. It's perfect for people who love the look of platinum but are looking for something a little more affordable. Palladium is harder than platinum, making it more scratch-resistant. Palladium is typically less expensive than platinum, gold and silver, which is one of the reasons it has become so popular in recent years. Palladium is naturally hypoallergenic, and it's a great option for people who are sensitive to other metals. People who don't wear jewelry often find that palladium is a great choice because it's lightweight compared to most other metals. The one downside to palladium is that resizing and repairs are often more difficult, although they're not impossible. Palladium is more reactive to heat and chemicals, meaning there's a possibility the metal could tarnish during the resizing or repair process.

Caring for palladium jewelry

Unlike white gold, palladium will not tarnish over time. Although it's more durable and lustrous than other metals, it's still important to give it proper care in order to keep the metal looking beautiful. To clean palladium jewelry, use mild soap, warm water, and a soft brush. Then, rinse your jewelry and dry it with a soft cloth. It's best to store palladium jewelry in a separate compartment of your jewelry box, or even in a soft pouch, in order to avoid scratching.

More and more jewelers are offering palladium jewelry, and it's not hard to understand why. With its lovely white metal finish, its durability and the fact that its hypoallergenic, palladium is an excellent choice for engagement rings, wedding bands and other types of jewelry.
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Topics: Jewelry

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