Take a strong hard look onto the four beautiful yellow diamond engagement rings here above - can you tell which is made of platinum, which made of white gold or even palladium?
The beautiful stone that's displayed on top of your finger is the primary focus of every engagement ring. However, the color, weight and quality of the band on which it rests are other important factors to consider when choosing a ring that follows you through eternity. The choices of quality metal are seemingly limitless, and certain options that appear similar to the untrained eye are actually very different. Before you decide on a band, you must know the differences between some of the most popular wedding band metals: palladium, white gold and platinum.
- What is Palladium?
- White Gold Explanation
- About Platinum for Rings
- Platinum VS White Gold - Price Differences and Explanation
What is Palladium?
One of the world's rarest metals, palladium makes for a special wedding band that's high in quality and, relatively speaking, lower in price than other high-quality metals. With the increase in the price of gold and platinum, palladium is one of the best choices for those with a lower budget who don't want to sacrifice quality or beauty.
Examples for Palladium wedding bands:
Examples for Platinum wedding bands:
The metal is similar to platinum in that it's hypo-allergenic and keeps well over time. Like the love shared between a married couple, it's strong and never tarnishes over the years. It doesn't require plating or other metals for protection - it will naturally stay white without regular maintenance and care. While it's in the same group as platinum and looks very similar, it's much lighter than its sister metal which is good for pricing but might feel weird for some (and great for others).
The popularity of palladium in engagement rings has recently soared - in fact, many are questioning whether it is becoming the new platinum.
Interestingly, it is also harder to find (though you can still find in places like Amazon along side other "white metals" such as Tungsten and Silver):
It was officially recognized as a precious metal in January 2010, and it's now a legal requirement that any palladium ring that weighs more than 1 gram is hallmarked. It's even been said that palladium is rarer than gold.
The Cons of Palladium: Still rare and hard to find. Not all jewelers and craftsman are experienced working with it and therefore the existing amount of designs made in Palladium is very limited and those that are able to do custom made rings are also limited (not all designs can be made in palladium). Repairing it (including resizing) is problematic and even if possible will probably leave a mark.
Since gold is typically a yellow color, other metals are needed to create a white finish. Palladium is actually one of the alloys used to change the hue of the metal, in addition to silver, copper, nickel and zinc, which work together to make it especially strong and durable. It's also quite resistant to rust and corrosion.
While the end result may appear silver, there will always be a slight golden glimmer in white gold wedding bands. It's available in a variety of carats, which allows for a beautiful metal no matter what your budget. Prices and styles vary based on the metals used to produce the white shade and the percentages of each one.
Beautiful and original, white metal is a natural element, which makes it more prone to damage from harsh chemicals. Those with the unique bands must take extra care when using household cleaning products, and should regularly wash their rings to ensure optimal shine and quality. With proper care, this metal is personal and long lasting.
As the top-of-the-line metal for engagement bands, platinum is the leader in beauty and quality. It's the most durable, as well as the heaviest and most expensive option on the market. It never wears out and only needs period gentle washing with soap and water to keep it shiny and bright. The white metal accentuates any stone you choose, and work particularly well with blue and pink diamonds.
As the rarest of the metals, platinum is one of the most popular choices for engagement rings. While it's also the most expensive of the options, some designs may not cost much more than a higher end white gold, depending on weight and intricacies. It requires less maintenance than both white gold and palladium, and is the brightest white of all the metals.
Why is Platinum so much more expensive than Palladium and Gold?
In order to better understand the prices, here are the prices of metals as they are today in the market:
As can be seen, today, Gold and Platinum are pretty near in pricing and when gold was in the $1,600+ it even passed the platinum (for a short time for a short amount) whereas in the past the spreads were enormous.
At times, when gold was in the area of $1,000 per oz platinum was in the $2,000 area.
For proportions, keep in mind that during July of 2014 Palladium has hit its 13 years high at $872.90 (during that moment Platinum was around $1500). But, if now the prices are so close to each other, how come platinum bands & rings still costs 2-3 times more than gold and palladium?
The sum of the parts is greater than the whole! The price of the band is not made only from the price of the material.
- Platinum is by far heavier than gold, around 60%. Meaning that if a gold ring would have weighed around 5gr of gold, then it would have weighed approximately 8 gr in platinum.
- Platinum jewelry is consisted of nearly pure platinum. When you craft gold jewelry you usually make it from 14k gold or 18k gold. The meaning is percentage of gold within the alloy. 14k gold is 14 out of 24 which means 58% gold (same logic for 18 which makes it 75%). This is the part you pay for... the rest is not really calculated. Palladium is also pure (approximately 95%). However, as mentioned above, the same ring would weigh much less in palladium than platinum, combine the fact that the material is cheaper... and the result is cheaper.
- Platinum manufacturing process is more complex than gold which adds labor costs.
- Combining section 1-3 above makes Platinum jewelry much more expensive which naturally has a negative effect on the demand which leads to another price increase parameter.
Will Palladium be the New Metal of Choice?
Both jewelers and consumers are asking themselves is this a trend? A phase? While it is hard to answer one of the best ways to analyze it is simply to ask Google
The graph above shows the search volume for the different metals over the last five years (note that it is specifically white gold and not gold in general). Interestingly, just by looking on this graph, it seems that palladium rings might have been a passing phase, platinum engagement rings are quite steady (though less than five years ago) and white gold engagement rings show a clear rise!
However, by adding another graph to the equation, the chart of gold prices over the past 5 years, we can correlate the increase in demands (or desire) for white gold engagement ring in direct relation with the fact that gold prices are getting "back to normal" and with it as mentioned above the decrease in desire for palladium.
To Conclude, it seems that while some referred to palladium as a possible replacement for platinum, it was actually a replacement for gold when prices where high! Is this also how you feel?