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Palladium white gold vs. nickel white gold

Palladium white golds are much softer than nickel white golds. They
also solder easier and cleaner (no dark oxide layer around soldered
areas). The ones that I have use aren’t as white as nickel white
golds. They tend to be grayer sometimes with a yellow tint. They
are also much more expensive due to the market price of palladium.
Steven Brixner - Jewelry Designer - San Diego CA USA

Palladium is of course more expensive than nickel. It is my
understanding that white gold alloy isn’t made with nickel any longer
in Europe. The reason is because so many people have nickel
sensitivity. It can cause a contact dermatitis at the site of
exposure. My husband has nickel sensitivity and it isn’t a pretty
sight. We have coated the back of his watch with a clear lacquer and
he alternates arms. That wouldn’t be a practical solution with a ring.

I’ve been using the 18k palladium for several years now and love it.
It’s much more malleable, (not softer!) and works very nicely when
fabricated. Because of the higher melting temputure, soldering with
18k hard is easy. Brightcutting is a joy with it. The metal is
darker than 18kni white (but no yellow!), and we rhodium plate when
we finish a piece anyway. Some of the patterned wedding bands we
make cannot be made in 18k ni white (less malleable, harder, as in
less bendable.) whereas the palladium white works great. Palladium
white should last longer and wear better than nickel white because
it’s a denser metal. And yes, it does cost more.

Thomas Jones
Jones & Jones

I have been using 18K palladium-alloy white gold for several years,
now, and though it has a greyer cast to it than the nickel-alloy
white, it is still very beautiful. It’s a lot easier to draw into
wire, and tie knots in it, so for me the extra cost is well worth it.
The only problems I’ve had were related to its tensile strength when
drawing it, but proper annealing helps a lot.


I have a question here. what exactly do you mean by 18 k palladium?
Are you using 75% of fine gold? If not, can you really say that a
palladium alloy (with no gold, or a small quantity) is 18 karat? I
thought the only metal to have a karat was gold.

David - It is not 18k palladium, but 18k palladium white gold. The
gold is alloyed with palladium instead of nickel.

Steven Brixner - Jewelry Designer - San Diego CA USA

The 18k palladium I make is 18k palladium white gold made of 75% pure
gold and 25% pure paladium. It is an amazing alloy with all the best
properties of both metals. And some of the bad. As far as I know it
cannot be cast due to a high melting temperature, but it is fun to
fabricate with. It is very very soft when first annealed but work
hardens quickly, it takes a nice polish and is a very dark grey. It
contrasts very well with the whitest of white metals that I will work
with, sterling silver. When I need to cast white gold then I use a
nickel white gold 14k or 18k. I have not been happy with the color of
any of the paladium casting grains I have tried (too yellow). And
while rhodium plating is a solution it is only temporary. Most of
these pieces I see look like crap when the plating is only half there
exposing the off color alloy underneath. The last thing I want is an
upset customer who is in every other month to have their ring re
rhodium plated. Yes the nickel white is more difficult to cast and
harder to set in but that should be my problem to deal with. Who said
making jewelry should be easy anyhow.

John Sholl

Hi David, no worries, mate. If it’s 18ct (or 18k), it will have 750
parts per 1,000 of fine gold somewhere in there, no matter what other
metals are alloyed to it. Your second question answers itself.
Kind regards, Rex in Oz

18k palladium white gold has 75% pure gold, alloyed with palladium
and zinc. This is 18kt. Anytime something is labeled as 18k it has to
have 75% pure gold in it.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Spirer Somes Jewelers