Palladium Facts

Palladium was used extensively and successfully for the fabrication of jewelry during WWII as the availability of gold and platinum was constrained by the demands of the war. The use of palladium is beginning to experience a resurgence motivated as much by the palladium industry as by consumer demand.

Palladium has a number of attractive characteristics, including a very white color and low cost. However, palladium has some unique processing characteristics that require special handling in both casting and finishing.

Density - Palladium is light, comparable in density to sterling silver at around 12 g/cc, just over half the density of platinum.

Cost - While the price of pure palladium has varied drastically over the years, it is currently significantly less per gram than either gold or platinum. Its light weight also reduces the number of grams of metal required for a specific design. However, all the available alloys are proprietary and reflect a substantial mark-up over the metal, casting is expensive (comparable to platinum) and few manufactures finish enough palladium to capture the value of the dust. All of which add to the cost of a finished piece. Taken together, a finished piece is still slightly less than 14K, but for buyers who compare the price of a finished piece to the cost of the metal, it will appear to be more expensive.

Processing - Palladium has some unusual working characteristics. It is heat-treatable, work hardens substantially and will absorb gas at high temperature. Jewelers considering working with palladium should familiarize themselves with these properties before committing themselves to working with palladium.

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