A naturally-occurring member of the platinum group metal, palladium is considered to be an affordable alternative to platinum and gold. The price of precious metals like gold and platinum has skyrocketed over the last few years, raising an increased concern amongst people of the lower income group. As a less expensive metal and with a personality similar to platinum, palladium has witnessed an overwhelming increase in popularity. Due to its likeness with platinum it is often confused with the latter, however, it definitely does make a great alternative to platinum and are ideal choice for those who do not wish to compromise on beauty or quality.
Palladium belongs to the category of the world’s rarest metals. It was officially hailed as a precious metal in the January of 2010 and are also classed as ‘Noble Metals’ due to their extraordinary resistance to oxidation. Like its sibling platinum, palladium is pure, radiant, rare and strong. It bears a colour which is slightly darker than platinum. It is basically a soft silver-white metal. It does not lose its whiteness nor does it tarnish with the passage of time. The natural colour of palladium does not need any rhodium plating to maintain its whiteness nor any additional alloy metals or plating for protection. It is way less dense than platinum, comparatively brittle and may change its colour upon heating to above 400 degree Celsius.
As mentioned, palladium is one of the six members in the platinum group of metals, others being iridium, ruthenium, osmium, platinum and rhodium. Supposed to be 15 times rarer than platinum, palladium makes for high-quality jewelleries. Like platinum is hypo-allergenic and is unlikely to cause any problems. It is also lighter than platinum. Since 1939, it has been used as a precious metal. In addition, it is malleable and ductile and can be beaten into a thin thread.
When used in jewellery it is 95% pure, and since it is not as heavy as platinum it can be worn in the form of ellaborate and heavy earrings, bracelets, etc. And because palladium is light weight and does not weigh a lot, large gemstones like emeralds, rubies, diamonds can be securely mounted. The beautiful white sheen of palladium compliments all types of gemstones ranging from diamonds to coloured gemstones.
Discovery of Palladium:
It was an English chemist by the name of William H. Wollaston (who is also credited for the discovery of rhodium) who discovered palladium back in the year 1803. It was during his examination of the residues which were left behind from platinum that he came across the metal palladium. He made his discovery of palladium in a very unconventional manner.
Sources of Palladium:
About 80% of the world’s palladium are sourced from South Africa, Russia, Canada and the United States. Russia alone produces palladium, which is half of the world’s total production. It is estimated to be around 200, 000 ounces per year. In the United States, palladium is mined in the Stillwater Mine in Montana.
Owing to its characteristic features, palladium is ideal for all types of jewellery. It is sophisticated, precious, rare and elegant and compliments all types of diamonds and coloured gemstones. It is particularly popular today because it stands as a cheaper alternative to platinum for use in engagement rings and wedding bands.