Palladium was discovered in 1803 by an English scientist William Hyde Wollaston and was named after the asteroid Pallas.
In the early years palladium didn’t tend to be used much as a precious metal in jewellery and was mainly used in various other industries. It has been used for dentistry, hydrogen purification, electronics, medicine, ground water treatment and chemical applications to name a few. The main use for palladium before 2004 was in the manufacture of white gold; palladium is added to yellow gold to produce white gold. But due to the price rises in gold and platinum, palladium is becoming increasingly more popular for wedding and engagement rings as it is very strong and still a reasonably priced metal. The rough price of palladium varies but normally the value is somewhere between 9ct and 14ct gold. Due to the rising popularity of this metal palladium now has to be hallmarked; it never used to be because it was rarely used in the jewellery industry but since July 2009 it is legally classed as a precious metal so has to have a hallmark.
Palladium is a silvery white rare metal, it is found when mining platinum so as it is a bi product it is less harmful to the environment as there is no separate mining process needed. It is normally found in mines in South Africa, Canada and Russia. Palladium is in the platinum group of metals (Palladium, platinum, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium and osmium) they all have similar properties but palladium has the lowest melting point of them all and is the least dense. As it is lighter than other metals in its group it makes it a perfect choice for a large style of wedding or engagement ring because it won’t be so heavy as platinum for example. The rise in popularity of palladium in wedding and engagement rings is mainly because of its light weight feel and being able to have a large amount of the metal without the price tag of platinum. It is also ductile so can be made into leaf. Palladium doesn’t require plating as it does not tarnish so there is less cleaning and upkeep involved. The hallmarks stamped onto palladium pieces of jewellery are either 500, 950 or 999 depending on the content of palladium. As platinum and palladium can both be hallmarked as 950 the picture that is used for the hallmarking of palladium is that of the head of Pallas Athena so it is easily recognised.
We at Harriet Kelsall jewellery design have made many palladium engagement rings, as well as eternity and wedding rings. The two rings below are examples of previous engagement and wedding bands made for previous customers. If you or your partner are not used to wearing rings then Palladium may be the perfect choice for you as it is a lot lighter than other metals so will not be as much of a distraction on your hand.