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Palladium is becoming an increasingly popular choice for wedding rings.
This will become obvious when you see that its pros outplay the cons.
The pros of palladium rings are a silvery attractive look, lightweight, affordability, hypoallergenic property and ease of maintenance. The cons of palladium rings are, rigidity and scarcity amongst jewelry collections.
What is palladium?
Palladium is an element with the atomic number 46. Its symbol is Pd on the periodic table.
This metal was discovered in 1803 by the English chemist William Hyde Wollaston. The name originates from the asteroid Pallas. This asteroid was identified by German astronomer and physician Wilhelm Olbers in 1802. The orb was named after Pallas, an epithet of Athena from the Greek mythology, the goddess of war, handicraft, and practical reason.
It belongs to the Platinum Group Metals with rhodium, ruthenium, osmium and platinum. These metals have similar chemical properties.
Palladium is a durable metal. It is an excellent metal that can withstand against the effects of daily wear and tear.
On the Mohs scale of hardness, it gets a 4.8 rating, which places it much above gold and silver. This translates into fewer scratches and fewer worries about them!
Now let’s have closer look into palladium rings pros and cons!
Pros of Palladium Rings
Palladium has a similar appearance to platinum.
These two are often hard to differentiate. There is only a slight difference between the two metals. Palladium has a more white color than platinum.
Palladium is also a less dense metal than platinum. It has a density of 12 g/cm3, which is about half of the latter’s 21.45 g/cm3. This means that between two rings made from the same volume of metal, the palladium ring will be about half the weight of the platinum one.
Silver is more light than palladium. Yet, it has a significant advantage over sterling silver rings.
Palladium does not tarnish. This means that it will have more lasting colors.
While palladium rings are like white gold and platinum rings from the outside, generally ,they are more affordable alternatives. This is a plus for couples who don’t want to go for platinum rings.
Of course, the price will differ from one brand to another, and it depends on the craftsmanship and quality of the ring.
Besides, price of a ring will be correlated to the trading prices in the metal market.
As of the day of writing, palladium is traded at an approximately 20% higher price than gold. So, we should expect gold rings to have a lower metal value than their equivalents. This is due to the recent bull market in palladium, and it is expected to be discontinued.
3. Hypoallergenic property
It would be a pity to spend money on a wedding ring and only then to notice allergic reactions around your finger afterwards.
Some rings may have substances that people with sensitive skin will react to negatively.
Blisters, itches, color changes are examples of allergic outcomes.
Palladium is not one of those allergenic materials.
It is a member of the hypoallergenic metals. This is a group of metals that are very unlikely to cause skin allergies. This is not a guarantee that nullifies allergy risk, yet it is the safest option for people with sensitive skin.
Thus, the risk of allergic effects is very low for palladium rings. And, this is achieved without any plating layer which may diminish with time.
Some precious metal alloys like white gold rings receive a thin layer of rhodium for protection and uniformity. This rhodium coating may wear off with time, and the inner alloy may get in contact with the skin.
While rhodium is hypoallergenic, the core metal may contain traces of allergenic metals such as nickel. Palladium rings do not have this issue.
Palladium rings have high-purity levels, and as they do not have nickel content in their composition, they are very safe. Some jewelry pieces may have trace amounts of nickel or other allergenic metals that may cause allergic reactions.
Always prefer nickel-free jewelry. If you have skin sensitivity, choose your jewelry from hypoallergenic metals to stay safe.
In this regard, Palladium 950 is a better choice than Palladium 500. The former has 950 parts in thousand or it has a purity ratio of 95%. This is nearly double the purity of palladium 500, which is only 50%. The higher is the purity, the lower is the risk for metal allergy.
No one wants to carry extra weight during the day. And your hands are the last place you want excess luggage.
This is why light jewelry is more preferable. Rings are not an exception.
We want rings to be beautiful, shiny and lightweight at the same time.
Palladium rings get a green check mark for their light weight.
Again, they are lighter than their big brother, platinum rings, because of their low density.
5. Ease of Maintenance
Some metals, such as sterling silver, need extra care because they are soft and open to tarnish.
Sterling is a soft metal which is prone to getting scratched.
As many objects are harder than sterling silver, when they come into contact, the risk emerges. This is why you should refrain from doing garden work or gym activities with sterling jewelry.
925 silver also looses its shine to black spots over time. These black crusts come from the oxidation of silver with sulfur compounds. It is also possible to have tarnish from oxygen reactions, yet it takes much longer to start.
Thankfully, this is a self-limiting process which does not continue once it appears on the surface. It does not continue inwards.
Palladium does not have these disadvantages of sterling silver. It is tarnish-resistant. So, you don’t have to pay extra attention to the silver 925, which will lose its shine to black spots over time.
Palladium is also a very durable metal which is less prone to scratching.
Palladium develops a layer called patina. This occurs from the displacement of metal, which gives the jewelry a matte-finish appearance. With that being said, all you have to do to keep its shine is, wash it with water and soap.
Cons of Palladium Rings
1. Less Flexibility
While platinum can be easily worked in many designs, it’s more troublesome to do this with palladium.
It is a much harder metal compared to its pricier counterpart, meaning it is less workable.
So, jewelers will have a harder time crafting more detailed designs for a palladium wedding band.
In practice, this means it is harder to resize. As your fingers may change size in years, the need for resizing may arise. If this possibility is ever realized, it will be a more complicated process than, say, resizing white gold or sterling silver rings.
While we placed rarity in the cons part, you may take it as a positive!
Simply put, scarce things are more valuable.
But, this means you may have a difficult time finding palladium rings and encounter fewer design choices.
The options will be less than other white metal jewelry like rhodium plated white gold.
Palladium engagement rings can be a great choice.
They have a beautiful silvery look, and they are tarnish resistant.
This means they will carry that shine for a long time with little to no extra care.
With time, they develop a matte-like appearance called patina. This adds to the coolness factor of palladium rings!
They offer lightweight and durability in the same packet.
A palladium ring will weigh about 50% less than a similar platinum ring. While heavy rings may cause pain after long hours, these rings are a joy to wear.
It is also much harder and durable than sterling silver or white gold rings. It does not need a coating for this toughness. As it is made of a durable metal, palladium jewelry is also scratch resistant, making it a good choice for everyday use.
When you add their price to the mix, you get a wonderful choice for your wedding band! It is also very easy to clean: a soft cloth, lukewarm water with a few drops of mild soap is all you need.
You’ll also never need to visit a professional jeweler for a re-plating session because it does not have a plating!
On the downside, palladium is a rare and rigid material.
You might have to look at a few more jewelry stores to find your preferred design. Its strong nature makes resizing harder.
As time goes by, finger sizes may change. In this case, you’ll want to adjust to your new finger diameter.
Palladium rings will be harder to resize than white gold or sterling rings. Yet, these are minor factors shadowed by the attractive look or lightweight of palladium rings!
Palladium rings are a serious alternative to traditional engagement choices like gold or silver.
As you can see, there are many pros and some cons that you should consider before purchasing a palladium band.
Let us say that we are heavily biased towards palladium rings as their advantages dwarf the disadvantages of wedding jewelry!
After this point, it is your call to evaluate the two sides and decide on your personal preference!