What is Palladium? FAQ

1. What is palladium?

Palladium is a silvery-white precious metal that looks similar to white gold and platinum. Part of the platinum group metals (PGMs), it is rare, durable, lightweight and hypoallergenic. Named after an asteroid called Pallas (and rooted in Greek mythology), this metal can be a great option for engagement rings and wedding bands.

2. How rare is palladium?

According to Investopedia, it’s one of the rarest metals on earth. In fact, they say it’s about 15 times more rare than platinum and 30 times more rare than gold. Most of the palladium in the world comes from two countries: Russia and South Africa, where approximately 80% of it is mined and refined.

3. Is palladium a good choice for engagement rings or wedding bands?

Though it has similar chemical properties to platinum, palladium has a much lower melting point and is also not as dense. This gives it a lighter feel, which can be great for those who are not used to wearing jewelry.

Since an engagement ring or wedding band is typically worn every day, consider how comfortable that might be for you. While some prefer a ring with a little weight to you it, you may find that a palladium ring can be so light that you don’t even notice it on your finger.

Like platinum, it is also tarnish-resistant, appealing to those shopping for a low-maintenance option. Over time, small scratches produce a beautiful brushed patina on palladium without reducing any of its lustrous silver color. This is one way it differs from white gold rings, which require Rhodium replating every year or two to maintain their luster. Palladium’s durability makes it a solid choice for jewelry that will last a lifetime.

4. How durable is palladium?

Palladium is one of the hardest metals used for jewelry. Only rhodium, titanium, tungsten, and tungsten carbide are harder. Here’s where those precious metals fall on the Mohs hardness scale:

Metal Hardness Comparison
Metal Mohs Hardness Rating
Tungsten 7.5
Rhodium 6.0
Titanium 6.0
Palladium 4.8
Steel 4.0 – 4.5
Nickel 4.0
Iron 4.0
Platinum 3.5
Copper 3.0
Gold 2.5
Silver 2.5

While palladium is slightly harder than platinum, the lightness of the metal makes it less workable than platinum, which is more easily crafted, refurbished, and repolished.

5. Is palladium worth more than gold or platinum?

As with all precious metals, prices fluctuate based on numerous factors. One year ago, palladium was less expensive than gold and platinum, but with the fall of platinum prices, it is now significantly more than platinum and only marginally less expensive than gold.

Precious Metals Price Per Ounce
Gold Silver Platinum Palladium
Aug 23, 2018 1185.50 14.51 778.95 919.80
Aug 23, 2017 1291.00 17.11 979.75 937.95

A note about price: the price per ounce doesn’t mean that a ring made out of palladium will be more expensive than the same one made from platinum. As we mentioned earlier, palladium is much lighter (less dense) than platinum. This means it takes fewer grams of palladium to form the same size ring as a platinum one. However, platinum is largely considered a better quality precious metal and a better long term choice for jewelry.

6. What’s the best alternative to a palladium ring?

The best alternative to this metal is its better-known cousin, platinum. They share so many positive aspects — color, durability, and sensitive-skin compatibility — one of the only reasons people chose palladium over platinum was the price. So it’s actually a great time to purchase a platinum wedding ring, which promises to withstand years and years of use.

7. Is palladium bad for you?

Palladium is an excellent, safe choice for jewelry, since it’s hypoallergenic. However, like most metals, it definitely shouldn’t be ingested!

8. So what’s better: platinum or palladium?

As we mentioned, palladium and platinum are very similar metals. They’re both beautiful, very durable, and hypoallergenic. In terms of form and function, it just comes down to your personal preference, and how each option feels on your finger. In terms of price, it all depends on the current market value of each metal type.

Here’s a side by side summary of all the aspects described in this FAQ.

Palladium vs Platinum
Palladium Platinum
Color Light, silvery Light, silvery
Rarity 30x rarer than gold 15x rarer than gold
Hypoallergenic Yes Yes
Hardness (Mohs) 4.75 3.5
Weight 75% heavier than 14kt gold Same weight as 14kt gold
Price per ounce* $919.80 $778.95
Maintenance Develops patina over time Develops patina over time

*As of September 9, 2018.

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