Many couples want the look of expensive metals like gold and platinum without the higher price tag; the appeal of alternative metals has surged as buyers aim for thriftier options that mimic the look and style of their favorite metallic hues. One of the most popular new metals on the market is a near dupe for pricey platinum. In fact, this metal sits near platinum on the Periodic Table of Elements, as it shares many of the same properties. So what is this shiny new mainstream must-have metal? Palladium, of course!
Think of palladium as platinum’s little sister. Like platinum, palladium is extremely durable and has a similar silvery white sheen. According to the Royal Society of Chemistry, this metal pulled its name from the asteroid Pallas (named for the Greek goddess of wisdom). The metal was discovered when William Wollaston “dissolved ordinary platinum in aqua regia (nitric acid + hydrochloric acid) not all of it went into solution.” The leftover metal from the solution was palladium.
Palladium is often mixed with yellow gold to create white gold. While not as strong as platinum, palladium is still a durable choice for wedding bands and engagement rings. The metal does not tarnish, and scratches caused from daily wear can easily be removed from the metal. However, palladium’s best attribute for buyers is its cost. Platinum is the most expensive metal on the market, but palladium offers a similar look with a lower price tag.
While palladium is becoming more popular for wedding and engagement rings, trendy celebrities latched onto this metal years ago. According to the Daily Mail, Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks wore a palladium necklace to the 2011 Emmy Awards. And Kelly Osbourne and fashion designer Vivienne Westwood have also worn palladium pieces.
If you are considering palladium for your engagement or wedding ring, here’s what you need to know about styling and caring for this metal:
Palladium costs about half the price of platinum.
Choosing palladium over platinum will save you a considerable amount of money. A plain palladium band costs about half the price of a similar ring designed in platinum. The money you save can be used for diamond accents or other amazing details! If you’re using the metal as the setting for an engagement ring, you may be able to budget more for that centerpiece diamond!
Choose Palladium if you have allergies.
Like platinum, palladium is hypoallergenic. So those with sensitive skin and allergies can wear this metal without worry!
Palladium: The lighter side.
Palladium is lighter—both in hue and in heft—than platinum. If you want a ring that doesn’t feel so weighted, then choose palladium over platinum.
Anyone can rock a palladium setting. This metal hue is on the cooler side, but that doesn’t mean you can’t choose palladium if you have a warmer complexion. To warm up the setting, you can pair palladium with yellow or rose gold edging.
Yes, you can resize palladium.
Finger sizes can change as we gain or lose weight, and wedding bands need to be resized. Some metals—like Tungsten—cannot be resized. Thankfully, though, Palladium can be resized. Just be sure to use a reputable jeweler who is experienced at working with this metal.
When buying metals like gold, the purity can affect the look and quality of the ring. Typically, gold is mixed with other metals to increase this soft metal’s durability; 18 karat or 14 karat gold is the standard for fine jewelry. However, there is no need for palladium to be mixed with other metals, so a palladium band should be stamped with PD or PALL.
A low-maintenance metal.
Palladium doesn’t tarnish and scratches or dings in the metal can be brushed out by a jeweler. At home, this metal is extremely low maintenance and can be cleaned using soap and warm water.
Buyers who want the sleek white sophistication of platinum but who can’t pay the hefty price for the rare metal can opt for platinum’s dupe: palladium. This new must-have metal is lighter in hue and in weight but offers a similar look for a lower budget. Palladium offers a durable setting for diamonds and gems and is hypoallergenic for those with sensitive skin. While platinum reigns as the priciest and most luxe metal, palladium is the ‘wise’ choice for budget shoppers who want to save money for their real splurge: the diamond centerpiece!