Palladium is the new kid on the block, and for that reason many people are unfamiliar with it as a choice of metal when choosing a wedding ring. In this blog post, we discuss the pros and cons of choosing a palladium wedding ring or a platinum wedding ring to help you make an informed decision on a piece of jewellery that you will wear for a lifetime.
Most of our customers in the market for an engagement or wedding ring don’t know what palladium is, but it’s one of our favorite metals to use for wedding jewelry for many reasons. Palladium rings are often presented as an alternative to platinum rings. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between the two.
Palladium vs Platinum Appearance
Both platinum and palladium are naturally white metals and, unlike white gold, will stay white forever. Both metals will look the same, although palladium will have a very slightly darker hue as it is one shade darker than platinum. However, when highly polished, the difference in appearance of both metals would not be noticeable.
Because gold in its natural state is yellow, we need to rhodium plate white gold wedding rings to prevent the yellow tinge showing through. Platinum and palladium rings on the other hand have a naturally bright white colour. This is a real advantage over white gold as they need far less maintenance. In fact, both palladium and platinum develop a patina finish over time that requires even less maintenance.
What is Patina?
Patina refers to the look that platinum and palladium rings develop over time. When a white gold ring is scratched the gold actually is removed from the ring and over time the ring develops a scratched surface. On the other hand, when palladium and platinum rings get scratched, the metal moves around on the surface. Over time, this gives the ring a matte-finish appearance known as patina.
Most people are excited for their ring to develop a patina finish because of the beautiful look it gives to a ring. However, if you don’t like the look of the patina, you can always have both a platinum or palladium ring re-polished which will bring it back to its original shiny state. Alternatively, you can opt for a white gold ring which doesn’t develop patina.
Palladium vs Platinum – Durability, Hardness & Strength
Palladium is a harder metal than platinum, which means a palladium ring is harder to scratch compared to a platinum ring. However, a wedding ring will be worn everyday, so regardless of what metal you choose, your ring will pick up scratches from general wear and tear, so this should not be a deciding factor. Additionally, as mentioned above, both palladium and platinum rings will develop a patina finish. If you don’t like the patina finish, just like a gold wedding ring, you can get it re-polishing every now and then to restore it to shiny new. Platinum and palladium are very strong metals suitable for wedding rings to be worn everyday.
Weight of a Palladium Ring vs a Platinum Ring
Platinum is more dense than palladium, making it almost twice as heavy . A palladium wedding ring weighs about the same as a 14k gold ring, so weight should not be considered a major deciding factor. Some people love the heavier weight platinum rings, but some find the lightness of palladium rings to be more comfortable. So it really comes down to a personal preference.
Is Palladium or Platinum Better for Allergies?
Platinum and palladium are known as hypoallergenic metals, which means that they will not cause skin irritation. If you notice an allergic reaction to gold or silver jewellery, then one of these white metals should be a good option. Also, none of our palladium or platinum rings have any nickel in the alloy, which is generally the main main culprit of allergies in engagement rings and wedding rings.
Palladium vs Platinum Cost
The primary reason platinum rings are more expensive than palladium rings is because platinum is much more dense than palladium (almost twice as dense)! This means to make the same ring, we need to use more grams of platinum than grams of palladium. However, this is not the only determinant of price. Really, the jewellery industry is a secondary market for both platinum and palladium. Both metals are used by the car industry as a component of catalytic converters. So, the price of the metals is driven by the perceived demand from that industry. If the financial industry thinks that Chinese are going to build a lot of cars, then the price goes up.
Over the past five years or so, we have seen a surge in popularity of palladium wedding rings over platinum because if its cheaper price relative to platinum. Traditionally, a palladium ring costs half of what a platinum ring would cost. However, since 2016 the price of palladium has doubled, so we are beginning to see this significant price change being reflected in shop windows. When making your decision on what metal to choose for your wedding ring, bear in mind that just because one metal is cheaper that the other does not mean that one is inferior in any way.