Anyone looking at 950 PD has to know a few basics. Casting is the
one tricky part. Everything else is easy. 950Pd flows at about 1350C,
or 2460F. Practically nobody has experience at those temperature for
casting. Gold is far lower, platinum far hotter to cast. 950Pd has a
density of about 12 or 12.3. That is lighter than gold by a bit or
platinum by far. My experience is with a formula developed with
another metal expert. I do not have experience with Hoovers product
or anyone else’s. I have seen a greater hardness range for
fabrication than that with most other precious alloys. >From very
soft to spring hard is the range available. Delaying quenching a cast
tree will assure more hardness. Fast quenching assures the softest
metal for demanding work like engraving or field pave.
Most casters are unable to cast 950Pd with a torch. I strongly
suggest induction casting at reduced kilowatt levels as compared to
casting Pt. Polishing, soldering and setting are a pleasure. in fact
every process at the bench is easy with Pd. Rhodium? Of course not,
the “yellowness” of palladium is off the bottom of the yellowness
index. Setting is easy. Pulling wire and rolling sheet is simple.
Soldering is easy because the oxides are very minor, and can be
removed with a fuel rich torch flame.
A little recent history is in order too. Many of us recall the
troubles with palladium settings in the 1980’s. I am here to say the
metallurgy has resolved those issues for the most part. Our (PMWest)
first 950 PD alloy “Alabaster1” was work or age hardenable, contained
a small percentage of nickel, cast and filled reasonably well and
passed every test for nickel allergy issues, even for body jewelry.
The nickel phobic forces in our industry killed what arguably may
have been the best formula available at the time. Given the rabid
anti nickel environment, we shifted to “Alabaster2” which is a less
castable alloy. It is very close to platinum hardness, and perhaps a
bit harder. I’m not certain because converting Rockwell results to
Vickers results is tricky. I must say it is a shame to see a great
blend fall to outright phobias. If you are a person allergic to
nickel, and the tests used in Europe have any validity, you would be
able to wear Alabaster1 as a piercing without consequence.
Several trade casters are quite happy with Alabaster2 and True Pd.
(True Pd is Hoover & Strongs trademarked product) Others struggle to
find the sweet spot in machine settings. If you are struggling with
those settings call one of us that has learned how to work this out.
Every jeweler who is dissatisfied with white gold for any reason,
should consider 950Pd. Every jeweler who has lost a sale to the
unfortunate platinum market price should consider 950Pd.
I started a website dedicated to 950Pd (950pd.com) education for the
trade and consumers as well. There will soon be a 950Pd video
dedicated to the same purpose, and to actually show the Pd learning
curve as experienced by myself and our crew at or factory.
Stewart Grice of Hoover & Strong and I will do a major presentation
of Pd at the Expo NY show on Sunday morning March 12. Come and see
two competitors explain what and why they both believe will be the
premier alternative white metal for fine jewelry.
Lets see what really works for us. Markets vary, but fine working
metals tend to prevail.