All about Palladium
I first came across palladium in the far off (heady, slim, bare-legged fun -filled) days of the days of early 70's as a catalyst in electro-plating nickel onto ceramics in the electronics industry. All very boring.
Today (hair-dye,dodgy knees and elasticated waists) palladium is a new and exciting metal rearing it’s head and roaring into the Jewellery market.
Science and History.
It was discovered in 1803 by a chap called William Hyde Wollaston, and he named it after the Greek Goddess of war and wisdom, Pallas Athene. It is found in South Africa, America, Canada and Russia
Part of the platinum family, palladium is a rare and precious metal ( many, many times rarer than gold) with a bright, shiny, lustrous silvery-white finish. On its own, it is a beautiful metal, but it is also the perfect polished compliment to precious stones.
Palladium is inert; it does nor corrode, oxidise or tarnish and this of vital importance to anyone with an allergy to nickel.
Palladium has many industrial uses, and in the jewellery industry palladium is now being used in gold alloys to make white gold.
Unfortunately, nickel is much cheaper and does the same job acting as a whitening agent. Because of its presence, some people have experienced nickle intolerance when wearing some types of gold. However, these same people should be fine with palladium either in it's pure form or in a gold alloy.
Other benefits of Palladium.
9ct and 18ct white gold naturally have a yellowish tinge. To overcome this jewellery manufacturers have routinely plated pieces of jewellery with an extremely expensive metal, Rhodium.
The usual plating thickness is 3 microns and when you consider a micron is a thousandth of a millimetre, this is a very thin layer indeed.
During wear, especially on rings, rhodium can quickly wear off, leaving your jewellery looking rather sad with yellow tinges. Not good when it looked so pristine in the Jeweller's window.
There are now some 18 ct white gold alloys with a high palladium content that eliminates the necessity to plate with rhodium, and, of course, palladium itself requires no plating whatsoever.
StrawberryWood can use any of these alloys if their customers so choose for bespoke pieces, but its use is currently limited on the Je t'adore ranges.
However more and more manufacturers are seeing an increased demand for Palladium, so much so, that in 2009 voulntary hall marking was introduced by the Assay offices, and in 2010 it became mandatory.
Apart from its own glorious properties, palladium is much less costly than platinum, also it is much lighter in weight than platinum and gold. This results in pieces of jewellery being lighter to wear and less costly to buy.
All in all, palladium has everything going for it and I love using it.
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