Advantages and challenges of palladium

Eleanor Phillips asked for some about palladium. Since
my time is limited, I am just doing a copy and paste of a few
paragraphs about it from the palladium chapter in my “Gold,
Platinum, Palladium, Silver and otherJewelry Metals” book. Hopefully
the selection will be readable on Orchid, because sometimes the
formatting changes when text is pasted into Orchid.

“Some palladium alloys offer the same high 95% purity as platinum,
while other palladium alloys may be as low as 50% or 500 parts per
1000. Palladium may be alloyed with ruthenium, iridium, copper, gold,
silver, cobalt and/or other metals. According to the Palladium
TechnicalManual, UK Edition, three important palladium 950 alloys
are: 95% palladium " 5% ruthenium: commonly used for wedding bands.
Ruthenium makes palladium harder and stronger than pure palladium.
95% palladium " 5% ruthenium and gallium: used for casting, this
alloy is hard and resists wear. 95% palladium " 5% copper: used by
Italian companies for chain makingLike platinum, palladium has the
following advantages. Palladish with wear * Is malleable, making it
easy to form and manipulate. It doesn’t have the brittleness of white
gold. * Is hypoallergenic* Is whiter than white gold. Palladium is
about the same color as platinum but slightly darker and more
grayish. The color depends on the alloy used. When consumers see
palladium next to platinum jewelry, they usually think it looks the
same. Unlike gold, palladium doesn’t need to be repeatedly rhodium
plated to maintain its appearance as a white metal. * Isclassified as
a precious platinum group metal with an inherent commodity value and
currency code * Is strong and wears well * Palladium 950 provides a
higher purity than white gold, while at the same time having a whiter
color. Working with palladium requires training and differenttools
than those used for gold and silver. For example, the Palladium
Alliance International says that casting equipment with a protected
atmosphere is required for both the melting and casting parts of the
casting operationto prevent palladium from absorbing gas and
developing porosity. Welding palladium in a laser welder requires an
inert gas cover. Best results are obtained with lower power settings,
longer delays and medical grade argon as the cover gas. However, at
the bench, palladium must be soldered. The Palladium Alliance
International offers free seminars, videos, and support
for anyone interested in learning how to work with palladium.”

Some good websites for on palladium are:

Palladium Technical Manual at The Goldsmiths' Company Home - The Goldsmiths' Company

Renee Newman

Renee- I’ve done a fair bit of palladium work and love it. I’m
comfortable working and fabricating in Platinum and Palladium works
much like it. I love the color, workability, and durability. It’s
great to set stones in.

However the big downside is that it’s really really hard on setting
burs and I don’t have the right equipment to pour ingots and cast in
it. We have Techform do our casting in palladium and platinum. They
have a truly awesome collection of machinery and the highly skilled
folks who really know how to make it work.

Jo Haemer

Thanks for the info. I have been very interested in palladium lately
as I love white metals and need something a little stronger than
silver for certain designs. I have heard that setting pave in
palladium can be a challenge, has anyone had this experience?

Thank you for that info Renee. I am mainly interested in fabrication
with palladium. I will probably want to use it in combination with
yellow gold of 18-22K. I’d love for anyone else to chime in who has
any suggestions on fabricating with palladium. I usually work with
silver or higher carat gold.


Kaleb- Yup. Beads raise and it bright cuts beautifully. Just buy
extra burrs.

On that note Tim loves bead setting in Continuum silver most of all.
More than platinum. I find Continuum is a very nice lower cost white
metal. More than sterling but much cheaper than gold. It has the
advantage of being very strong for a silver alloy. Bright cut is very
smooth and beads raise like fence posts. It kiln hardens as hard as
14 kt gold. Really.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer

Never heard of Continuum silver. After a quick search my interest is
piqued. How does it solder? I only do fabrication so obviously good
soldering qualities is desirable.


Eleanor- I’ve got hands on experience working in palladium and
really like it. It’s very white and very light and no need for
rhodium plating.

It’s much like soldering platinum. Palladium solder comes in easy,
medium, and hard.

Do not use flux or fire coat when soldering palladium. When
soldering palladium to gold is the only time to use flux or fire
coat. You must wear protective lens and use a high heat block to
solder on.

Do not over anneal. If it turns blue from soldering simply re heat
it with a neutral flame and it will go back to white.

Do not try to bridge gaps with solder. Seams must have a tight fit.

It’s a pleasure to hammer and shape and set in. It does eat up
setting burs though.

You will need to lubricate your burs, gravers and saw blades.

Have fun learning to work palladium.
Jo Haemer

Kaleb- I solder it mostly like 14 kt. Fire coat, flux etc. You don’t
need to heat up as large an area as you do with sterling. A little
bit more than 14 kt. but not so much as sterling. You’ll just have to
experiment yourself. I really like it and so does my sweetie Tim for
engraving and bead setting. It kiln hardens amazingly. Call the metal
tech folks at Stuller. It’s a little bit expensive, but nothing
compared to gold and much more secure for setting stones than
"regular" silver.


Thanks for the info Jo. You say it solders like platinum, but I have
not worked in platinum yet, just silver and gold. What kind of eye
protection do I need and why? Thanks again, El

Stuller now carries the new PD repair solder. would be happy to send
you a sample…

Andy “The Tool Guy” Kroungold

Andy, I too am just starting to work with palladium & would like to
try the repair solder. I’m a student at 92nd St Y in NYC & have been
making jewelry for 8 years. I’m on the verge of starting my business
a an independent jeweler, but haven’t totally gotten there yet &
don’t have a resale certificate. I started creating an account at
Stuller, but it seems like it will take a little time as I don’t
have paperwork with me today & I need to make something quickly from
PD. Any way to expedite getting the solder?


Hi El,

I’ve done quite a bit of fabrication in Pd and can confirm what
others have said about working with it; I like it.

The only problem I’ve had, here in UK, is with the Pd solder that I
get from Cooksons. They only do Easy and Medium, and neither is very
good. I now use Pt med, which has a melting point of around 1200C.
It’s white hot and not too good to look at; I use safety goggles
with a dark lens specially for the purpose, see for more details.

I used to use dark sunglasses, but these purpose-made ones are far
better, and safer too.

Regards, Gary Wooding

G&S Metals sells a nice range of palladium including hard, medium,
and easy is for sale | HugeDomains

As a trade shop we see our share of Pd. We use the regular platinum
repair solders (not the plumb Pt solder). It is my understanding
that these are made of mostly palladium and they work very well.
Just use the same methods as soldering with Pt and the finishing is
way easier.