Palladium wedding rings, why choose this metal?

Palladium wedding rings, why choose this metal?

Choosing wedding rings made of palladium is not the most common approach, why?

If you have browsed through jewellery stores and jewellery websites looking for your dream wedding rings, you must have already encountered this term: palladium, ok… but what is it?? Why does it seem to compete with white gold? What is the difference?? Is it a good choice???….. etc… So many possible questions, which may not seem to have clear answers, since you might not really know what this metal is…

(Read this article to understand and make the right choice between white gold, platinum and palladium, if this is where you have doubts. Then, you can come back onto this page) only yet in french , translation in progress

Back to this present article :  palladium wedding rings, why choose this metal? I will give you my advice on this metal, its strengths and weaknesses.

Let’s start by debating a little bit about the current market offer (why not criticize a bit time to time  😉 ) :

Why is it not very common to find a choice of palladium wedding rings in jewellery stores? (or even sometimes not recommended)

I, who write these lines, have been creating wedding and engagement rings since 2001, under the name of Cbijoux.  Since my beginnings and until today, I have always tried to find the right material that could optimally meet the criteria I was looking for. However, common sense and convenience would rather advise me to offer what is most in demand (law of market).  I have always preferred to offer the ideal choice, not the most expensive or the cheapest, not the rarest or the most coveted, or even to follow fashion (… especially not), but to offer the best according to the desired criteria! Yes, that’s certainly the reason for my success.

But why are most jewellery stores so reasonable?

The answer to the above question (why it is not very common to find a choice of palladium wedding rings in jewellery stores) is now obvious to you: retailers offer what sells best, what sells most easily and what pays best. We cannot blame them; everyone has expenses, rents and salaries to pay…

Which metals are the most easily sold?

Gold has been a highly coveted metal for thousands of years, no need to present it, no need to say anything more to the customer: a gold ring is a gold ring, everyone knows it! Silver is the same. Platinum will require more work from the seller, he/she will probably have to explain its characteristics, etc… Although, the price alone could do the job…

Palladium in History

Compared to silver, gold or platinum, palladium is the youngest of the four best-known precious metals, considering when it was discovered. Palladium was born in England in 1803, when the physician and naturalist William Hyde Wollaston determined that palladium was an element in its own right during his experiments with platinum.  Wollaston decided to name this new element “palladium” in honour of an asteroid that had been discovered two year prior and had been baptised “Pallas”. In Ancient Greece, “palladium” was also the name given to wooden figures dedicated to the goddess Pallas Athena. They were considered as particularly sacred and worthy of protection.

Six percent of the production is used to create jewellery

Until the middle of the last century, worldwide production and demand for palladium remained very limited. It is only later that production and demand increased, progressively and continually. Finally, in the early 1990s, demand made a leap forward due to a massively increased need for automotive catalysts. In a single decade (the last of the century), the needs for the automotive industry increased from 200,000 to almost 6 million troy ounces. With demand of 5.9 million troy ounces in 2011 – about two-thirds of total demand – the needs of the automotive industry have since stabilized. Demand for palladium across all industries has increased from about 300,000 troy ounces per year in 1950 to about 9 million in 2011. Demand from the watch and jewellery industry, which had remained constant at around 200,000 troy ounces since 1980, reached one million troy ounces each year between 2004 and 2008 before falling by half in 2009. In 2011, demand in this sector was 545,000 troy ounces, or six percent of total demand. (source oekogold)

To be fully appreciated, palladium must be introduced, as it is often unknown :

The creation of wedding rings in palladium – some technical data on this metal:

Its density is 12 gr/cm3, (compared to 10.5 for silver, 19.32 for gold and 16.6 for tantalum). In other words, it means that a palladium jewel will have approximately the same weight as a silver one.

Palladium’s melting point is 1555°C. For comparison, gold melts at 1064°C, silver at 961°C, iron at 1538°C and tantalum at 3017°C.

It is a precious metal of the platinoid family – metals from the platinum mine – as is rhodium (Rh), iridium (Ir), ruthenium (Ru) and osmium (Os). It does not oxidize.

Palladium is quite hard; it is at 5.5 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, whilst platinum is at 4/4.5 on the same scale, gold at 2.5/3, silver at 2.5, steel from 4.75 to 8, titanium at 6, and tantalum at 6.5.

Palladium is used in the composition of the white gold alloy

Okay, first of all, if you want to know more about gold, I wrote quite comprehensively on the subject: 14k, 18k gold etc… Hereis the article about gold and its alloys and why we combine them. (soon will be translated also)

So how do you get white gold?

Pure gold is a yellow metal. When it is combined with other metals, you can obtain a whole range of colours – yellow, pink, copper red and grey (Black gold is fake marketing – you can read this article about black metal).

Palladium wedding rings, some examples of creations by Cbijoux©:

As you can see on these pictures, palladium can sometimes be made darker (see striped rings), or lighter (see smoother, satin finished rings) or very light when polished (rings with carbon).

To have a better understanding of the different material aspects and finishes, read this article: aspect and finishes. It may not be clear to you how a metal can vary in its clarity.

Why does palladium seem to be a good choice for creating precious metal wedding rings or engagement rings?

Palladium wedding rings, consideration of value, cost:

Palladium is a precious metal, from the platinum family; it is cheaper than platinum or white gold. However, its price has been rising for the last ten years, it was around 5000€/kg in 2008 and it is now around 30’000.

Maybe a sure value, who knows?…

The price of a pair of palladium rings compared to the same platinum pair will be cheaper even though the prices of these two metals meet. Why? Because the pair of palladium rings will be nearly half as heavy, so nearly 50% less material cost.

Here is a list of metals in price order increasing from left to right: Steel, titanium, chromium-cobalt, silver, tantalum, palladium, gold, platinum.

Le palladium est un métal précieux, de la famille du platine, il revient moins cher que la platine ou que l’or gris, cependant son cours ne cesse de grimper depuis une dizaine d’années d’environ 5000€/kg en 2008, il est maintenant aux alentours de 30’000.

Palladium wedding rings, aesthetic consideration:

It is a neutral grey metal, no yellow tone, no change in colour throughout the years.

However, palladium is slightly less light than platinum.

Here, you can learn more about the difference between palladium and white or grey gold. You will understand why I have never created a pair of white gold wedding rings, but only create grey gold wedding rings without plating.

polished hammered palladium with satin finish 

It is a metal that is cast very well, on which stones can still be set, as this example of a titanium, carbon and palladium ring shows:

Palladium wedding rings, portability and ergonomic consideration:

Palladium is not very heavy, which can be pleasant to wear. The weight of a palladium wedding ring will be almost the same weight as the same silver ring, but will be lighter than a platinum or gold or tantalum ring. It will be heavier than a steel or titanium ring.

From the lightest to the heaviest: titanium, steel, silver, palladium, tantalum, gold, platinum.

Palladium wedding rings, consideration of durability:

Again, palladium is good; it will be durable. Not as much as steel or titanium, but it will resist scratches a little like gold and will age much better than white gold.

Palladium is actually the metal I recommend to best meet these criteria: precious metal, neutral grey and resistant/durable.

For a choice of pure durability, with no particular desire for a precious metal, I suggest a chromium-cobalt alloy instead, which has a very light colour, identical to palladium, but much harder and cheaper.

So there we are, this was some of my advice and data on creating wedding rings in palladium.

The right decision can only be taken by making our own judgment/criteria meet with the right data – clear and well understood. My goal, in writing my articles is to allow the novice to understand a little more about jewellery and its secrets.  

I am convinced that by sharing my knowledge and advice with you, we will then be able to create, together, your ideal pair of rings, according to your different criteria, whether it be shape, aesthetics, ergonomics, aspect and of course, last but not least: the price!

And who am I?

Your servant, Cedric Chevalley. I have been signing my wedding and engagement rings since 2001 with « cbijoux ».

One, or sometimes two qualified employees assist me. We create more than 200 wedding rings per year, which are all unique. Here, you can read an article on how we create wedding rings with you.

I also founded the mood collection ring brand in 2004 and handed it over to two friends in 2013. I also create contemporary jewellery (watch out, it’s unusual…) under my own name this time.

You can see more about my background and history by browsing the Facebook page (you’d make me so happy by liking it) and also by visiting my artist page here.

There, I hope I have allowed you to see a little more clearly, and to move forward towards the realization of the creation of your dreams. I remain at your disposal for any further questions, with pleasure!

See you soon!

Cédric Chevalley