Looking at Palladium for the future.
Properties: (In pure form)
- Atomic Symbol: Pd
- Atomic Number: 46
- Element Category: Transition metal
- Density: 12.02 g/cm³
- Melting Point: 2830 °F (1554 °C)
- Boiling Point: 5365 °F (2963 °C)
- Moh's Hardness: 4.75
With palladium firmly placed in the family of fine jewelry precious metals, let us review what the last few years have taught us.
The first and foremost lesson is that palladium is the best metal to use instead of white gold. White gold carries significant disadvantages. White gold has few if any lasting advantages over palladium. The most common metal used to whiten gold is also the most common metallic allergen. If we use palladium to whiten gold, it is expensive and a bit beside the point. We are adding a lot of another precious metal needlessly. Over the years, markets have varied. Overall 950 palladium has priced well below 14kt.
Sales staff and buyers still do not fully appreciate the following facts.
1. Palladium is a platinum family metal that is very white and light.
2. Palladium is far more pure than 14kt, 95% pure instead of merely 58.5%.
3. Palladium is always naturally white and does not require plating for color.
4. Palladium jewelry is not going to have allergy issues.
5. Palladium is eminently workable and lends itself to great fabrication & styling.
Of course a metal this pure has some important limitations. Palladium is difficult for the refiner to produce is a easily cast able form. Palladium tends to hold on to gas, which can become porosity in the jewelry. What that means in a practical sense is that producers of grain need to degas the metal as much as possible, and the palladium should be cast in a casting machine that has full atmosphere control. Modern induction centrifugal casting machines often have this feature. Casting palladium is much more reliable when a vacuum is established and the casting chamber flooded with a neutral gas like argon or nitrogen.
In the event of porosity, palladium responds very well to soldering or laser welding. It will size easily, more easily than many kinds of gold.
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