Is it time to pick your jewelry metal ? Perhaps the metal for the wedding rings ? You’re likely looking at the very sturdy, scratch-resistant options out there. So you’ve come to platinum and you’re wondering if there’s anything stronger than that. Well yes, there is, and it’s called palladium and it’s far rarer. But is it worth forgoing platinum and going for palladium instead ?
Toady we’re comparing these two very similar yet different white metals, and hopefully you’ll find enough info to make an informed decision.
What is palladium ?
Palladium is a silvery-white metal in the same group as platinum. This is a very tough metal yet quite light, so it’s a bit like the elven Mithril in that regard. It’s also rare and when it is found it’s usually reserved for industrial uses due to its strength. You can find palladium jewelry, but only a small sample of jewelers handle this metal and they do so at a premium price.
What is platinum ?
Platinum is another silvery-white metal, almost indistinguishable form palladium at first glance. Platinum is the go-to upgrade from white gold, and it’s the second most common plating for white gold (after rhodium). Platinum is also incredibly tough and it’s far denser than gold. You won’t have trouble finding solid platinum jewelry, but they’re still fewer than white gold.
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1. Platinum is lighter in weight than palladium
If you’re someone who likes their jewelry light-weight and not getting in the way then palladium might just do it for you. This metal is not as dense as platinum, so a ring made from palladium does not weigh as much as one made of platinum.
For example palladium has a density of 12 gr/cm3 while platinum is nearly twice as dense (21 gr/cm3). For comparison pure gold is 19 gr/cm3. This makes palladium a breeze to wear, and if you’d looking to get a larger piece, such as a wide wedding band or a necklace with a lot of metalwork on it then palladium will not weigh you down at all.
In you like the feel of heavy, dense jewelry then platinum is a better option for you. A platinum ring will feel noticeably heavier in your palm than a palladium one.
2. Palladium is more expensive than platinum
Palladium is more than double the price of platinum, and this is due to several things:
- palladium is much rarer than platinum so this adds to the cost
- palladium is tough to work with, so it is always classed as premium
- palladium isn’t as in demand as platinum, so not many jewelers offer it and those that do tend to charge a fee
Now at a glance this sounds like palladium is a bad option. But, remember that palladium is half as light as platinum. So the same ring made in platinum and palladium will have half the weight in palladium. This means the finished piece would cost roughly as much as the platinum one.
Still, not all jewelry is made the same and often the base metal matters a whole lot.
3. Platinum is easier to resize than palladium
Many times rings need to be resized and two things mater: the style of the ring and the metal. The style might not allow resizing, such as eternity rings, and the metal may allow very little resizing or none at all, such as palladium.
So if you’d like your ring to be ever be eligible for resizing, stick to platinum. Platinum is still tough to work with, but not nearly as tough as palladium. Most of the time palladium rings can only be resized half a size without re-casting the whole ring.
4. Palladium doesn’t scratch as easily as platinum
An upside to palladium’s incredible toughness is that it doesn’t scratch as easily as platinum. It does accumulate scratches over time but not as many, and not as easily. A palladium ring will keep its shine for longer than a platinum one.
In the end both will need occasional re-polishing by a professional, but it will take longer with palladium.
5. Platinum jewelry is more common than palladium jewelry
If you’re interested in palladium so far, you might be wondering how easy it is to get a ring or bracelet that’s ready made in this metal. The answer: not that easy. You see, palladium is great but not very much in demand. Platinum seems to check most people’s boxes so very few actually search for something even tougher than platinum.
Of course this means jewelers are retailers won’t produce jewelry in palladium as much, simply because the demand isn’t high. So if you’re looking for something that’s already cast and has a gem set and is ready to wear then you’re going to have an easier time picking out a platinum piece.
Plus you will have more styles and options to choose from, since there will be more platinum pieces to consider.
Both palladium and platinum are bright white metals
Here’s one thing that makes many people wonder why they should even try looking for something other than platinum: both platinum and palladium offer the same white sheen to their jewelry. Why look for something else ?
So if color or slight differences in hue are important, know that both metals offer the same thing, so you can cross that off the list.
Both platinum and palladium are tarnish resistant
Worried about tarnishing ? Don’t be ! Both platinum and palladium are very tarnish resistant, just like gold is. They do need occasional cleaning like any other jewelry but they’re really not going to stain or develop a darker cast. They also won’t leave a green mark on your skin as neither of them has any copper.
Is platinum better than palladium ?
From a jewelry point of view platinum is better than palladium, simply because it’s more affordable and easier to find both as raw material and ready-made at a retailer. Palladium is more expensive and tougher, sure, but in the long run it doesn’t make that much of a difference because platinum is an excellent option on its own.
So go with platinum, it’s easier to find, easier to work with, more affordable, very tough and will last you a lifetime.
If you’re in love with the idea of wearing something quite rare and expensive and very tough, then palladium might be an option for you. As long as you have the money and patience to find a ready-made piece or a jeweler to make one for you.
I’m the main author for jewelrymaterialguide.com. I started this site after we did tons of research before our wedding and noticed that there is information about rings, jewelry, and so on that is really hard to find on the internet.