Platinum vs Palladium

Platinum vs Palladium

Written by Aimee Fisher on 1 November 2013

Despite being awarded a hallmark in 2009, and being used as a precious metal in jewellery for many years prior to that, Palladium is still a relatively unknown metal. However here at Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery it is one of our most popular choices for bespoke wedding and engagement rings. I thought I would explore a bit more about Palladium and look at what the differences are between it and Platinum, and why Palladium is such a popular choice?

Choosing your preferred metal for use in a piece of jewellery is a very personal decision, there are several things to consider, including lifestyle, colour preference, and also cost.

Platinum is a rare precious metal renowned for its bright white colour, association with the rich and famous and high price tag. Often a prestige choice, platinum is also very hard wearing and is an excellent choice for any engagement or wedding ring. As a very dense metal platinum is also the heaviest, for some, this is reassuring as they know the ring is definitely on their finger because they can feel the noticeable weight difference without it, but for others who are perhaps not so used to wearing jewellery it can feel a bit heavy.

Palladium can offer an excellent alternative to Platinum. It is from the same family as Platinum and shares many of the same properties; it is very hard wearing and has the same bright white appearance, whilst being noticeable lighter because it is less dense - I was amazed the first time I held a palladium ring in one hand and an identical platinum ring in the other! It is also significantly less expensive. For wider rings and especially gentleman’s wedding rings it can be an excellent choice, a 6mm wide Platinum wedding ring would be very heavy, and for guys who are often not used to wearing any jewellery this can be quite off putting, a Palladium wedding ring however, would be much lighter and can have the effect of making your hand feel more free.

On the high street white gold is always rhodium plated to create a bright white finish similar to platinum and palladium, however this rhodium plating wears off and regularly has to be re-coated. It seems a shame to be covering a metal as precious as gold, with a metal less precious like rhodium. Palladium can offer an excellent alternative to rhodium plating as it has the same bright white colour, but unlike rhodium plating, palladium will not change colour through wear. Although slightly more expensive in the initial instance, once a white gold ring has been re-plated several times you soon catch up with what a palladium ring would have cost, and you don’t have the up-keep to worry about.

I also find it interesting to know that Palladium is actually a bi-product of platinum mining, and can therefore offer a more environmentally friendly option as it is not purposely mined on its own. Both platinum and palladium are tarnish resistant and they are both also used in industry for their excellent strength and chemical properties. Both make an excellent choice for a special piece of jewellery, and can be used to create an amazing array of designs. For some, nothing will beat the prestige, reputation and excellence of platinum, but for others it is interesting to know there are other options available.