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Palladium is a New Metal for Engagement Rings

Which rare precious metal is lustrous, silver-white, durable and regularly fashioned into settings for beautiful engagement rings? White gold? Platinum? Try palladium, a member of the platinum family. While white gold and platinum have long been used in the manufacture of fine jewellery, palladium stands as a relative newcomer to the jewellery scene. Many people have not heard of this rare metal, but more and more prospective brides are considering palladium engagement rings.

Palladium was isolated from platinum in 1803 and named after Pallas, an asteroid that had been discovered in 1801. It was first used to make jewellery in 1939. When platinum was diverted from use in fine jewellery to serve war needs instead, palladium became a popular substitute. The metal used in modern palladium engagement rings generally contains 95 percent palladium and 5 percent ruthenium, another member of the platinum family.

While it looks like white gold, palladium boasts several advantages. In spite of its rarity, palladium costs less than either platinum or gold. Palladium is naturally white, unlike white gold, so palladium engagement rings never need rhodium-plating to regain their lustrous silvery finish. People with nickel allergies who cannot wear gold will find nickel-free palladium a welcome alternative. Palladium is harder than white gold and 95 percent pure, making it tarnish-proof.

Palladium weighs 40 percent less than platinum, meaning that palladium engagement rings with large stones do not feel heavy. Palladium is even harder than platinum and is therefore more resistant to scratches. The purity of its silvery-white colour rivals that of its platinum sister.

Most palladium originates in Russia and South Africa, with smaller amounts coming from Canada and the United States. Palladium also plays an important role in the production of catalytic converters and fuel cells. Many people believe that growing global demand for these items, combined with the limited supply of palladium, makes palladium engagement rings a good long-term investment.

Posted on August 26, 2011 by Admin