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Palladium is a luminous, silvery-white precious metal that is a sister element to platinum. Discovered by esteemed British scientist William Hyde Wollaston in 1803, it’s named after the asteroid Pallas, which in turn was named for Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom who was also called Pallas.
What Is Palladium?
Palladium is a chemical element that is similar to platinum. A rare, silver-white precious metal, palladium has been commonly used for fine jewelry since the 1930s.
Palladium has seen an increase in popularity in the past decade. In 2019, Fortune reported that it was now more valuable than gold. Contrary to a myth, palladium is not white gold. “It is noncomedogenic, unlike white gold, which can cause rashes or irritations for those with sensitive skin,” explains master jeweler David Alan Wegweiser. “It never changes color like white gold. Like silver, it is also pure white yet much more durable. It’s suitable and comfortable for everyday wear.”
Meet the Expert
- David Alan Wegweiser is a master jeweler, designer, and founder of David Alan Jewelry. He grew up with a love of architecture and a passion for creating things of beauty and balance, which led him to fine jewelry.
Read on to discover the pros and cons of palladium rings and what to look for when purchasing this type of metal.
Pros and Cons of Palladium Rings
Wegweiser loves working with palladium for both engagement ring and wedding band settings, especially when the couple wants lighter rings.
“It never changes color since there are no alloys. Also, since palladium is a precious pure metal, it does not contain nickel," says Wegweiser. "Nickel is usually the main culprit of fine jewelry allergies, especially when it comes to engagement rings and wedding bands which are worn every day.”
Palladium does have its negative side, though. It used to be far cheaper than platinum, but the rare metal is now more expensive than almost all other precious metals. Also, many jewelers choose not to work with palladium because of its brittleness when not properly handled. “If you are not properly trained on its manufacturing nuances, it is difficult to manipulate,” Wegweiser says. On the other hand, palladium is actually a harder metal than platinum, meaning it is harder to scratch.
What to Look for in a Palladium Ring
- How much does a palladium ring generally cost? As mentioned above, palladium has become more expensive over time compared to platinum. Despite this, pricing for palladium rings also depends on the stone size. On average, prices fall around $2,000. If you are set on palladium for your metal, consider a smaller diamond or gemstone.
- Are there settings that work better than others with this type of metal? Palladium can work with any kind of setting, all the way from bezel-set to prong. It really comes down to personal preference and what you want in the design of your ring.
- Where can I shop for a palladium ring? Even though palladium is a rarer metal, many retailers still sell this type of metal. Working with a trusted jeweler is important when choosing where to purchase your palladium ring because they may be more trained in how to manipulate the precious metal.
How to Care for a Palladium Ring
One perk of purchasing a palladium ring is that the color will not change over time, and if anything, it will develop a patina, which is a look that occurs naturally to platinum and palladium metals. It gives the metal a unique matte look, although if you decide you do not like this look, you can have your ring polished back to its shinier state.
A general cleaning for your palladium ring can be done by taking a soft-bristled brush and dipping it into a mixture of warm water and gentle dishwasher detergent. From there, scrub your ring carefully until clean.
Luckily, palladium is a strong metal that doesn't scratch easily, but it's still important to store your ring in a safe place. Consider keeping it in its original box or any ring box by itself and away from jewelry that could potentially cause scratching or chipping.
Ahead, scroll through 20 palladium engagement rings.
This palladium ring has an eye-catching, opaque black diamond center stone with a dominant palladium band. It’s ideal for a bride who wants a sleek, modern look and an alternative to a traditional engagement ring. Abby Sparks Jewelers can provide a custom-designed ring similar to this previous custom ring.
For something sweet and totally unexpected, this palladium engagement ring offers diamonds placed within heart-shaped palladium. The five hearts of this palladium engagement ring are perfect symbols of the emotions a newly engaged bride-to-be feels. For a touch that’s even more unusual, you can choose other stones, such as emeralds instead of diamonds.
This ring features a striking princess-cut diamond that is accentuated by six princess-cut sapphires that are themselves in milgrain sparkle. They are perfectly set off by the lustrous palladium band.
The princess-cut diamond on this palladium engagement ring is surrounded by a halo of smaller diamonds. The sparkle continues with diamonds down the sides of the band, too.
This palladium engagement ring has a whopping 18 pavé-set, round-cut diamonds. That’s in addition to the princess-cut center stone that you select separately when placing the order.
From the shimmering diamond to the palladium band, the engagement ring and the wedding band are designed to go perfectly together. Choose the center stone diamond separately and customize the rings to fit your taste with this classic foundation.
Abby Sparks Jewelry does custom-designed jewelry, and its jewelers can create a ring similar to this one, which is called "The Stephanie" after one of their clients. This palladium engagement ring has a diamond at its center with a garnet on each side.
For those who want a clean, contemporary look and a stone that's not a diamond, this sapphire solitaire engagement ring is a lovely choice. It has a horizontal, bezel-set oval sapphire and a brushed palladium band.
For a vintage-style ring with a bit of contrast, this ring is just right. It has a band of palladium and 14-karat rose gold and round-cut, pavé-set diamonds line the sides of the band.
Things are black and white when it comes to how beautiful this unusual, classic ring is. Its contrasting stones are eye-catching. The square-shaped salt-and-pepper diamond is the centerpiece of the ring, and it is surrounded by a sparkling white diamond halo with additional diamonds lining the palladium band.
This intricate, detailed palladium art deco ring was inspired by a 1920s design. It features a white sapphire with two smaller white sapphires on either side of the centerpiece stone.
This palladium engagement ring has a matte scratch finish to the band, which is meant to disguise any damage that comes with everyday wear. The center diamond is held in a bezel setting with a polished finish that contrasts the matte band.
Tension settings are a unique way to show off your diamond. The palladium band perfectly highlights the 1ct. round center diamond.
For a glamourous and head-turning engagement ring design, check out this glittering 14K white gold palladium ring from Alysha Whitfield. The center rounded diamond sits in a hexagon six-prong setting with a halo of diamonds bursting from the setting. It is complete with a pavé band for ultimate sparkle.
Knife-edge bands are a flattering and stylish way to show off a solitaire diamond. This band is crafted in palladium and can hold any diamond shape of your choice.