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Palladium is a luminous, silvery-white precious metal that is a sister element to platinum. Discovered by esteemed British scientist William Hyde Wollaston in 1803, it’s named after the asteroid Pallas, which in turn was named for Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom who was also called Pallas.
What Is Palladium?
Palladium is a chemical element that is similar to platinum. A rare, silver-white precious metal, palladium has been commonly used for fine jewelry since the 1930s.
Palladium has seen an increase in popularity in the past decade. In 2019, Fortune reported that it was now more valuable than gold. Contrary to a myth, palladium is not white gold. “It is noncomedogenic, unlike white gold, which can cause rashes or irritations for those with sensitive skin,” explains master jeweler David Alan Wegweiser. “It never changes color like white gold. Like silver, it is also pure white yet much more durable. It’s suitable and comfortable for everyday wear.”
Meet the Expert
- David Alan Wegweiser is a master jeweler, designer, and founder of David Alan Jewelry. He grew up with a love of architecture and a passion for creating things of beauty and balance, which led him to fine jewelry.
Read on to discover the pros and cons of palladium rings and what to look for when purchasing this type of metal.
Pros and Cons of Palladium Rings
Wegweiser loves working with palladium for both engagement ring and wedding band settings, especially when the couple wants lighter rings.
“It never changes color since there are no alloys. Also, since palladium is a precious pure metal, it does not contain nickel,” says Wegweiser. “Nickel is usually the main culprit of fine jewelry allergies, especially when it comes to engagement rings and wedding bands which are worn every day.”
Palladium does have its negative side, though. It used to be far cheaper than platinum, but the rare metal is now more expensive than almost all other precious metals. Also, many jewelers choose not to work with palladium because of its brittleness when not properly handled. “If you are not properly trained on its manufacturing nuances, it is difficult to manipulate,” Wegweiser says. On the other hand, palladium is actually a harder metal than platinum, meaning it is harder to scratch.
What to Look for in a Palladium Ring
- How much does a palladium ring generally cost? As mentioned above, palladium has become more expensive over time compared to platinum. Despite this, pricing for palladium rings also depends on the stone size. On average, prices fall around $2,000. If you are set on palladium for your metal, consider a smaller diamond or gemstone.
- Are there settings that work better than others with this type of metal? Palladium can work with any kind of setting, all the way from bezel-set to prong. It really comes down to personal preference and what you want in the design of your ring.
- Where can I shop for a palladium ring? Even though palladium is a rarer metal, many retailers still sell this type of metal. Working with a trusted jeweler is important when choosing where to purchase your palladium ring because they may be more trained in how to manipulate the precious metal.
How to Care for a Palladium Ring
One perk of purchasing a palladium ring is that the color will not change over time, and if anything, it will develop a patina, which is a look that occurs naturally to platinum and palladium metals. It gives the metal a unique matte look, although if you decide you do not like this look, you can have your ring polished back to its shinier state.
A general cleaning for your palladium ring can be done by taking a soft-bristled brush and dipping it into a mixture of warm water and gentle dishwasher detergent. From there, scrub your ring carefully until clean.
Luckily, palladium is a strong metal that doesn’t scratch easily, but it’s still important to store your ring in a safe place. Consider keeping it in its original box or any ring box by itself and away from jewelry that could potentially cause scratching or chipping.
Ahead, scroll through 20 palladium engagement rings.