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Palladium and white gold are two of the choices for engagement rings.
They have similar colors.
They shine alike.
Even so, deciding between them is not trivial.
- Is Platinum better than white gold?
- Is Palladium a good metal for wedding rings?
These are probably the top questions; you’ll want answered.
We have a side by side comparison of palladium vs white gold with the most important aspects below!
What is Palladium?
Palladium is a precious metal of the platinum metals group.
It has a lustrous silver-white color.
As it is too soft for jewelry, it is alloyed with other metals to make it harder and more durable.
Palladium 950 and Palladium 500 are the most-used alloys in jewelry.
What is White Gold?
Gold, like palladium, is too soft for jewelry in its pure form.
Thus, alloys of gold are used to produce jewelry pieces.
One of these is white gold.
White gold is an alloy which may have silver, nickel, zinc, platinum, palladium with yellow gold.
It is often electroplated with rhodium for protection and durability.
This thin rhodium layer protects white gold from scratched and chemicals.
Palladium is lighter than White Gold
Palladium’s density is about 12 g/cm3.
White gold’s density will change with temperature, karatage and coating but to give a general idea, we can say it’s about 16 g/cm3.
Hence, a palladium wedding ring or necklace will be about 25% lighter than its white gold counterpart.
Durability: Pros and Cons for both
When it comes to resistance to wear and scratches, palladium and white gold jewelry have both their pros and cons.
Palladium is too soft to become a jewelry. As a result, just as in gold or silver, palladium alloys are used for jewelry.
Palladium 500 and 950 are two foremost alloys.
These have, respectively, 50% and 95% palladium in their composition.
Of these two, palladium 950 is more durable than palladium 500.
It is less prone to scratch risk.
Nevertheless, this does not mean it should be handled without care.
When we look at white gold, it is often coated with rhodium.
This brings a more uniform look and protects the inner precious metal alloy.
However, with time, rhodium wears off and the alloy shows up.
This will require a visit to your local jeweler for a re-plating session.
While it is a common and simple task, there is practically no escape from this.
For palladium, you will probably only need to go to the jewelry shop for scratches, if any.
White gold with rhodium coating is more shiny
Palladium and white gold both have beautiful colors.
But when white gold is coated with rhodium, it seriously shines!
This does not mean palladium earrings do not shine.
However, there has to be a reason why rhodium coating, also known as rhodium flashing, is applied to a precious metal!
Rhodium’s high reflectivity is the reason for this extra lustrous look.
On the other side, palladium offers many “cooler”, if not shinier, designs for jewelry lovers.
What is patina?
After platinum and palladium jewelry get scratched, with time, the metals moves to cover the lost parts.
This leads the piece to gain a more cooler look named patina.
White gold pieces are often coated with rhodium. This thin layer protects and gives a more bright silvery color.
Over time, this rhodium coating may wears off giving the gold alloy day light.
When this occurs a standard re-plating session at your local jewelry store will restore your piece’s look.
White gold is protected with coating… until it wears off
Rhodium is highly resistant to scratches and chemicals.
Unfortunately, it is also brittle.
This means after a while; it will wear off.
And as said above, you’ll have to knock on your jeweler’s door for a re-plating session.
Palladium 950 rings don’t need re-coating because they don’t have one!
In both cases, you should not use harsh chemicals and hard brushes to clean your pieces.
Palladium is about 10% more expensive than gold at the time of writing.
Thus, we’d expect a palladium 950 ring to have a roughly 10% higher price than a similar white gold ring.
But of course, white gold’s karatage and rhodium coating will factor in.
A 18k white gold engagement ring will cost more than a 10k one.
If you are leaning towards white gold, make sure you check our post on 14k vs 18k white gold.
As the thickness of rhodium coating increases so will the price, etc.
Luckily, there is no shortage of design in jewelry!
We bet you can find your favorite design at your budget and make your dream come true!
Just keep on looking!
Is Palladium better than white gold?
Palladium jewelry does not have a outer layer like many white gold pieces’ rhodium plating.
Thus, there won’t be any replating need when the coating wears off.
Palladium 950 rings are also more pure than most white gold pieces as they are 95% palladium.
12k white gold may be comparable in richness to palladium 500 as it includes 50% gold.
What’s the difference between palladium 500 and 950?
This number shows palladium ratio in thousands.
Palladium 500 is an alloy which has 50% palladium or 500 parts in 1000 palladium.
Likewise, palladium 950 is 95% palladium.
Do palladium rings scratch easily?
Palladium rings do scratch but this leads to a unique look. The metal tends to cover the lost/scratched areas which gives the ring a matte shade. This is called patina.