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Palladium alloy for 18K white


#1

Hello experts,

I have a client wanting platinum rings (engagement, and his/hers
bands) They can not afford to make the set in plat.

I would like to know, if I did an alloy of gold and palladium,
without the silver content, would there be a distinct drawback with
regards to the colour/ workability of the metal? would it look a bit
more like plat or would it just go that awful grey colour without the
silver? I really don’t want to make up a batch and find that the
metal looks even less like white gold let alone platinum. Does the
silver add to the white colour of the metal or is it just a cost
saving exercise?

I would really appreciate some views on this. many thanks.

Gwen


#2

I have purchased and used Hoover and Stong’s palladium white gold
alloy in 18 and 14 karat. I love this material, it forges well and
the color is white white white. I will never use nickel white gold
again, I hate that stuff. This alloy doesn’t have the gold undertone
that the nickel white does. I often offer this instead of platinum
or the platinum sterling alloy I have purchased from ABI. Either
alloy is less expensive than platinum and both offer the white color
without the problems of nickel white gold. This also allows me to
offer a range of price points from 18K to 14K to the plat.sterling.

Sam Patania, Tucson
www.bahti.com


#3

Why not suggest actual palladium. I’ve just started to use it; it
looks very much like platinum (my wife thinks its slightly whiter),
and works much the same. Volume for volume its around 1/5th the price
of platinum (similar to 14k gold) - its just over half the density
and around 1/3 the price per gram.

I’m told that its due to be classified as a precious metal in UK
some time in 2008, then it will have to be hallmarked.

Regards, Gary Wooding


#4

Hello Gwen;

For some reason, I’m assuming you’ve never melted palladium before.
Just a guess. If I’m right, no offense, but you need to learn a whole
lot more about palladium before you attempt it. You can buy
pre-alloyed palladium white golds, and even using those is not for a
beginner either. Do some homework before you waste a lot of money.

David L. Huffman


#5
I have a client wanting platinum rings (engagement, and his/hers
bands) They can not afford to make the set in plat. 

Why not make them in Palladium 950. Pretty much the same properties
as Plat, just a heap cheaper.

Lawrence
www.sabushkadesign.com


#6

Thanks for the resposnes so far… I will most definitely consider
doing the set in palladium, even though this will be a new metal to
me. (out of interest, does it work more like platinum or white
gold… apart from the melting point?)

with regards to the 18 white alloy, perhaps I did not make the query
clear enough… I normally do my own alloy of palladium and
silver.(I am not in the US and do not buy pre-mixed alloys) what I
need to find out is, if I left out the silver and just added 25%
palladium to the fine gold, would it be a better mix for colour and
texture or does the silver contribute to the colour being closer to
the white of platinum? ( I was led to believe that the silver content
was a bit of a cost saving exercise)

Many thanks,
Gwen


#7

Lawrence,

If the palladium you work in is 950, what is the alloy… (or is
that a trade secret???) am I even allowed to ask this?? would it be
ok to work the palladium as 100% without any alloy, or are there
drawbacks to using the pure metal?

Thanks,
Gwen


#8

One thing I would consider is what is the customer’s motivation in
wanting platinum? There are different reasons…some choose plat just
because its in vogue, some want it because its most expensive, some
like the look, some like the heft, some want the durability.

Someone earlier suggested Hoover and Strong’s palladium white gold.
This is an excellent alloy particularly in the 18K. It’s very
workable which makes it good for some of the more delicate stones or
shapes. But because of this it also might not be as sturdy in those
situations where the ring is subject to unusual or ongoing
stress(like in bridal jewelry). Compared to traditional white gold
the Pall White is soft and flexible. This may or may not be a
consideration depending on the ‘delicacy’ of the design.

Palladium was mentioned and its a good choice too, but be aware it
does not have the heft of platinum. Hold two identical rings, one
palladium one platinum and the difference is quite marked. Customers
can get a feeling of receiving more value in a heavier object.

Now, the word palladium sounds very similar to platinum. The
customer may have an expectation that palladium and 18KPD, are
therefore nearly the same as platinum. And there are similarities…
high fineness, white color, abrasion resistance. But if your customer
is made aware of the differences also, their ultimate choice would
hopefully please them for a long time. (read that as no returns to
you).

So if they want platinum because its chic and exotic palladium is a
good lower cost choice. If they want the feel of platinum 18Kpall
white would be my suggestion. H&S has such a wide variety of wires
and
grains you’d save yourself the aggravation of trying to learn how to
alloy the gold and palladium. As far as color…I find the PD-Gold
alloys to be somewhat greyish. But that’s what rhodium is for.


#9

Hi Gwen

If the palladium you work in is 950, what is the alloy.....
(or is that a trade secret???) am I even allowed to ask this?? would
it be ok to work the palladium as 100% without any alloy, or are
theredrawbacks to using the pure metal? 

The Palladium that I use is alloyed with Ruthenium. (No secret and
also not the only alloy that can be used. I have just found it to
work the best for me) It works very similarly to Plat, however it
can’t be fused and must be soldered. Also there is some slight
oxidizing that occurs when soldering. (see Orchid archives for more
on this and working with Palladium in general). Pure Palladium is
actually grayish in colour and is really soft and"sticky" (like pure
Plat) to work

Lawrence
www.sabushkadesign.com


#10
...snip As far as color...I find the PD-Gold alloys to be somewhat
greyish. But that's what rhodium is for. 

In my opinion, rhodium plating rings is a bad idea - customers get
p**sed off when it wears away and has to be re-plated. If they want a
white metal, make it with a white metal; white gold is a poor
substitute. But there again, some people (my wife is one of them)
like the off-white colour of white gold (but she also likes the
whiteness of palladium - she says she prefers it to platinum).

Regards, Gary Wooding


#11
If the palladium you work in is 950, what is the alloy..... (or is
that a trade secret???) am I even allowed to ask this?? would it be
ok to work the palladium as 100% without any alloy, or are there
drawbacks to using the pure metal? 

The new 950 palladium alloys are proprietary if not patented alloys.
The old alloy was/is 95% Pd - 5% Ru. The new alloys are whiter. Pure
Pd is too soft and nasty to work with because it is sticky and hard
to polish like pure Pt. It is also very grey.

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#12

Gary,

In my opinion, rhodium plating rings is a bad idea - customers get
p**sed off when it wears away and has to be re-plated. If they want
a white metal, make it with a white metal 

I wholeheartedly agree. I will bow to better judgement of those more
in the know than I - which quite frankly is most everyone on Orchid!
But to me the whole idea of plating reeks of cheapness. Gold plated
and silver plated articles are at the cheaper end of the jewellery
scale and that’s how I see rhodium plated white gold. I am open to
different views however.

Helen
Preston, UK


#13

About rhodium…

context is everything. The original post in this thread was seeking a
less costly alternative to platinum. So if its any of the white gold
alloys, its just not going to be the color of platinum, hence
rhodium. Rhodium being a hard plate, it resists the fine scratches
that turn metal dull.

Even platinum rings age. They get dull and steely grey rather fast
given any appreciable wear. So the customer brings it back for
refinishing. I don’t see a functional difference between refinishing
a platinum piece and refinishing a white gold piece(except that the
PT is more laborious). Either way the worn piece’s finish is
restored and the customer leaves happy once again.


#14
context is everything. The original post in this thread was
seeking a less costly alternative to platinum. So if its any of the
white gold alloys, its just not going to be the color of platinum,
hence rhodium. Rhodium being a hard plate, it resists the fine
scratches that turn metal dull. Even platinum rings age. They get
dull and steely grey rather fast given any appreciable wear. So the
customer brings it back for refinishing. I don't see a functional
difference between refinishing a platinum piece and refinishing a
white gold piece (except that the PT is more laborious). Either way
the worn piece's finish is restored and the customer leaves happy
once again. 

On this I must disagree. I see lots of rhodium plated white gold in
the shops, but there is seldom a statement that its plated, and even
if there was, most customers wouldn’t appreciate the significance.
White gold was originally formulated as a platinum substitute and
most customers who buy it are completely unaware that its rhodium
plated - they think the rhodium whiteness goes right through. When
it wears away to reveal the off-white gold below it makes the item
look very cheap and tacky and the customer gets upset because,
basically, they have been deceived.

Yes, platinum does “age” and lose its shine a bit, but it does so
very slowly, and “honestly”. I’ve worn the same platinum ring
continuously for the past 30 years. It gets lots of wear (far more
than the average ring) but its still bright and not too different to
when I originally made it; the colour hasn’t changed at all.
Customers expect a ring to show signs of wear after a while, but they
don’t expect it to go patchy and drastically change its colour. They
buy it as white gold because they think that white gold is white. Its
nearly always a surprise when I tell them that it isn’t.

If a customer knowingly buys a plated item, and is fully aware of
the consequences, then fair enough. Unfortunately this is seldom the
case; the customer feels they have been cheated, as indeed they have.

What’s wrong with the natural colour of white gold? I never plate it
and many people actually prefer it.

JOLT (just one little thing) from a maker’s point of view, repairing
or resizing plated rings is a real PITA.

Regards, Gary Wooding


#15

Hi Gwen

Firstly its nice to know that there are still jewellers out there
that alloy their own metals. Where are u in not in the USA?

I alloy my own metals too and what i can tell you is that most of
the work that i do is in 18kt white Au with a palladium and silver
alloy…From what I understand, ( i can be wrong) but from
experience the silver will help with the workablity of the metal. As
or the colour of the metal, when alloying with palladium you are
going to find that greyish unertone of which you are going to have to
cover up by rhodium plating like most commercial ppl do. if u want to
use a nickel alloy u wont have to rhodium plate, but you will loose
much of the workability as well as risk your clients haveing alleric
reactions.

This is an interesting problem u are having. if you want to contact
me off the forum

Raakhi


#16
the customer feels they have been cheated, as indeed they have. 

That statement casts an inference that I’ll let go for the moment.

What's wrong with the natural colour of white gold? I never plate
it and many people actually prefer it. 

And many do prefer the rhodiumed look. The great bulk of the trade
rhodiums. and for a good reason. it sells better. The public votes
with their dollars.

JOLT (just one little thing) from a maker's point of view,
repairing or resizing plated rings is a real PITA. 

The customer gives the jeweler a rhodiumed ring and he sizes it and
gives it back without the rhodium. Hmmm, and she doesn’t feel cheated
here?

But, disagreement is fair and a good thing. It illustrates the pros
and cons.


#17

Hi,

I have been studying and selling pd alloys for gold twenty years and
950pd for nearly three years. I’m seeing a few familiar issues
through this thread-First let me say the 950pd’s are tougher for the
small custom shop, as palladium is not easy to torch cast. Not from
anyone, anywhere. So, many who read this forum will be receiving
somebody else’s castings. The alloy these are made of will matter a
great deal. 95pd/5ru acts very different from the products of Hoover
and PMWest. Anybody else making 950pd for trade use like say, Larry
of David Fell may want to weigh in here. PMWest makes two that act
differently.

I see palladium white gold as the natural upgrade from nickel white,
and if I may generalize, pd white gold alloys fall into two
families-Elevated silver or the other side-elevated copper. The color
for hardness factor should be evident here. If one chooses to use ten
or twelve percent palladium in their 18kt gold, and ten or so silver,
balance copper, you get a white gold that passes for "grade 1 white"
and very few customers would desire rhodium plating. If you apply the
same kind of alloy to 14kt you get great color. As soon as you cut
the expensive part, the palladium color results fall off. If you
elevate the copper and cut silver you can get stronger metal at a
slight to moderate color penalty.

I wonder how many retail customers would really object to the grey,
once they understood the temporary nature of plating?

I see 950Pd as the best upgrade from white gold. I have fallen in
love with this mix, so throw out any idea I’m objective about it. I
see the difficulties too which I try to cover on my palladium blog.
In my blunt opinion, the 95pd/5ru blend is more problematic at the
bench than the new formulas developed by Tyler Teague (and others)
and promulgated all over the United States. 950 palladium may just be
the beginning of the end of white gold’s popularity.

Hey folks, I am very glad I do not depend on nickel white gold for a
living!!! I also would say of course, that anyone that can buy
platinum and loves it should. All of the above is about the rest of
us.

Please feel free to peruse our palladium blog- It is too much on a
narrow topic to drop in here. I invite posts of the good news or the
bad news on palladium.

Daniel Ballard
Precious Metals West


#18

Thankyou,

From all the replies I have had from this thread, I am now convinced
that I have to try the 950 palladium as an alternate to plat…
sounds like a good metal to be working in… As for the original
problem… I made the ring set in white gold and used an

alloy of half silver half palladium. The colour was quite good, it
worked well although it felt a bit more “sticky” than my usual mix. It
was not quite as white as I hoped it would be and after explaining
the rhodium to the client,

I ended up plating it anyway…I considered Ni. but decided against
adding any just as a precaution. (I can’t stand working nickel
alloyed white gold)

Daniel, Raakhi, James, Lawrence, your info has been noted for future
reference…Thanks.

Gwen.

(Just returned from a week in the bush unwinding and getting some
fresh air… lots of elephant, lion, giraffe, zebra, buck and all
the usual… such fun!!)