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Palladium is a rare and lustrous silvery-white metal belonging to the platinum group metals (including rhodium, platinum, palladium, ruthenium, iridium and osmium)discovered in 1803 by William Hyde Wollaston, and named after the asteroid Pallas, first sighted in 1801.Palladium is steel white in appearance yet it does not tarnish in air. It is a member of the platinum group of metals and has the lowest density of the entire group. It also has the lowest melting point of the group.Palladium hasrather unique properties that ensure a place for it in industry and as a precious metal investment.

The largest use of palladium today is in catalytic converters for chemical reactions, particularly for those utilizing hydrogen.Palladium is used in jewellery industry, in dentistry for dental crowns and bridges, in watch making, in blood sugar test strips, in aircraft spark plugs and in the production of surgical instruments and electrical contacts. Palladium readily diffuses through the heated metal and can absorb up to 900 times its own weight in hydrogen.This special characteristic makes it especially appealing as a medium for storing and purifying hydrogen.

Palladium was first used for jewellery in 1939 when platinum was declared a strategic metal and reserved for military use. For years palladium was mainly used as an alloy to ‘bleach’ the yellow colour of gold in making of white gold (other white gold alloys include nickel and silver). However, with the increase in prices of Gold and Platinum, Palladium is now used as an alternative to white gold and platinum in rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings. UntilSeptember 2001 palladium was more expensive than platinum and rarely used in jewellery due to the technical obstacle of casting. However, the casting problem has been resolved and its use in jewellery has increased because of a large increase in the price of platinum and a drop in the price of palladium. Like gold it is also ductile, which means that palladium can also be beaten into leaf form and also its density is about half that of platinum and three quarter that of 18k gold, as a result of which an object made in palladium would cost about eight times less than the equivalent made in platinum and roughly three times less than the one in 18k gold. Current Palladium alloys are highly malleable, hence making gemstone settings easier and providing flexibility to use both machine and handcrafting techniques. This lightness of palladium along with high malleability in comparison to platinum and gold has given the designers an opportunity to create big unique pieces of jewellery in an affordable range. With the retail price between that of 14k and 18k gold, palladium alloys offer a great potential in jewellery industry and is seen as an excellent alternative to white gold because of its silvery white finish which requires no rhodium plating.


Due to the large increase in use of Palladium in jewellery, in January 2010, hallmarks for palladium were introduced by assay offices in the United Kingdom, and it became a legal requirement to hallmark all articles of jewellery described as being wholly or partly made of palladium. The standards of fineness that are available for hallmarking are 500, 950 and 999. However, it is expected that 950 will be the most used standard.

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Todays Gold Silver and Platinum prices

  Price per Gram
Gold 9 Carat £11.12
Gold 14 Carat £17.29
Gold 18 Carat £22.25
Gold 22 Carat £27.15
925 Silver £0.12
950 Platinum £18.10

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