Due to a rise in the price of gold over the last year, jewelers have turned to two alternative precious metals to use for their pieces. Though they look similar to the untrained eye, platinum and palladium have distinct characteristics. If you are considering either platinum or palladium as material for your next jewelry purchase, here are some points to consider for both.
How much does it cost?
Platinum: Very rare and costly, platinum has desirable properties which affect its price tag. It is roughly $47 per gram (based on current market prices) in its purest form. When used in jewelry, platinum usually ranks among the more expensive items in a catalog.
Palladium: At just a third the price tag of platinum, palladium can be had for $26 per gram (based on current market prices) because it fills both precious metal and industrial metal demands.
Is it durable?
Platinum: Platinum is extremely durable and has a higher density than gold, palladium, and silver. It is resistant to rust and corrosive materials, and will not show wear and tear like other precious metals might.
Palladium: Palladium is durable, but to a lesser degree than platinum. Because palladium is somewhat malleable, when you scratch the surface it does not lose any metal, but simply displaces it.
Is it hypoallergenic?
Platinum: Definitely. Platinum contains very little alloy and is 90-95% pure, with no nickel in it. It is widely considered to be the best choice for those with sensitive skin that might normally have an allergic reaction to certain metals.
Palladium: Also a very pure metal, palladium shares similar hypoallergenic properties with platinum. Its initial role in the jewelry industry was to act as an alloy to white gold, replacing nickel, which is known to cause skin irritation.
Does it look good?
Platinum: This precious metal is fast becoming known as a true “heirloom” material because of its naturally-occurring white properties that are enhanced by age. Platinum looks especially good when paired with colored gemstones because it highlights their color. Platinum is usually preferred by many grooms because of its understated elegance.
Palladium: Slightly darker upon closer inspection when compared to platinum, palladium is ideal for engagement rings and other diamond jewelry, since it will enhance the stone’s brilliance. Its natural greyish and silvery color won’t tarnish over time. Fashion-forward celebrities like Kelly Osbourne and Sarah Jessica Parker have recently been spotted wearing palladium jewelry.
How available is it?
Platinum: There is a growing interest in platinum for jewelry pieces, and more jewelry makers are stocking up on it because of its coveted traits. However, since it is a very costly precious metal, it may not be as readily available as silver and gold.
Palladium: Surprisingly, palladium is even rarer than gold. Although, not all jewelers carry palladium because it takes someone familiar with its properties to successfully fashion it into a stunning piece of jewelry.