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Playing with Palladium

Hi All,

Most interesting to hear about palladium jewelry. Its a great metal.
I have worked with palladium often, and I love the metal. Its
endlessly soft, takes a good polish, is easy to set into and
sometimes in the correct light has a purplish sheen under the silver
color. It has less of platinum’s angst factor, and as far as I am
concerned, has a better color too.

That said, there are a few downsides.The biggest one at the moment
is the general lack of knowledge about the metal…When you start
explaining that ‘this is the metal that makes white gold white’ etc,
you get the “glazed” look from your customer. Also, if your piece
doesn’t have the gold or platinum stamp, then the value in the
customers mind drops a good few measures.

A strange thing with this metal is that when you anneal it, then
after quenching, when you bend it, an audible =91crack’ can be
heard, and it feels like there are little glass rods inside when you
bend it more. It only does that once after annealing and then it
works normally until you anneal it again.Something to do with
crystal lattice and grains I suppose. (Ahem, James, please?) I am
glad to hear others are using it in jewellery. I would love to know
what to other 5% of the alloy is. I don’t really think it is too
soft for general jewellery use. (my opinion)

Another thing I have been messing with is to mix palladium with fine
silver in a 10/90% solution.It works out to about one dollar per
gram. It has about the hardness of normal sterling silver I can roll
it from the ingot to .2 mm without cracking. I have not cast it and
I am still playing with it to see how it tarnishes. So far it looks
very resistant.( I live in the Caribbean, by the sea, so tarnish is
a major hassle for me.) Especially with mixed metal pieces. I doubt
it has any commercial value, other than to make your stuff more
esoteric and arty, maybe. It’s got a very nice color,though.

Cheers, Hans Meevis
http://www.meevis.com

Hans,

I’m glad to see that you like working with palladium. I used to work
with it regularly, and learned to love it, and hate it. It works
beautifully, is easier to polish than platinum, has a beautiful white
color, and solders easily…almost. It will also develop a black
oxide if not protected by flux, and the oxide does not come off using
a sodium bisulfate or sulfuric acid pickle. I have heard that there
is a pickle that will remove the oxide, but I have not been able to
discover what it is. I always removed it by abrasion, which was
sometimes a problem, particularly if the oxide was inside of a
partially soldered joint.

Is there a pickle for palladium that will remove the oxide like it
does for 18k yellow gold?

Doug

Douglas Zaruba
33 N. Market St.
Frederick, MD 21701
301 695-1107
@Douglas_Zaruba

     It will also develop a black  oxide if not protected by flux,
and the oxide does not come off using a sodium bisulfate or
sulfuric acid pickle. 

Hi Doug,

I have not had my palladium go black after soldering or heating it.

I took a piece of my current palladium and polished it and then
heated it to cherry red and after quenching, it was still shiny. I
use sulphuric acid as a pickle.

Cheers, Hans Meevis
http://www.meevis.com

Is there a pickle for palladium that will remove the oxide like it
does for 18k yellow gold?

Doug,

I don’t quite remember this being such a problem as the oxides are
given up at slightly higher temperatures. This could be a problem
under some circumstances, but usually it has just been a condition
that required a little more heat and a quick quench.

    Is there a pickle for palladium that will remove the oxide
like it does for 18k yellow gold? 

Warm Tarnex will do the trick.

Jim Binnion

James Binnion Metal Arts
Phone (360) 756-6550
Toll Free (877) 408 7287
Fax (360) 756-2160


@James_Binnion
Member of the Better Business Bureau

So when you all are talking about palladium do you mean metal that
is just palladium? Is anything alloyed to it? Where are you
getting it? Have I missed a major part of this thread? Can it be
fabricated like platinum? Do you use palladium solder? How does
the price compare to platinum?

Thanks,
Janet

Continue from:
https://orchid.ganoksin.com/t/playing-with-palladium

Hi Janet,

I have been using a 95% palladium/ruthenium alloy available through
Hoover and Strong. Its price is less than 14k gold (by $2.00/dwt). It
is a special order item that usually takes two days to fabricate. You
can get it in sheet and wire, actually any of their mill products.
I’ve never asked for casting grain. I solder with 1300 platinum
solder and lower, or with gold solders if I’m attaching gold to it…
I mentioned in a previous post that I occasionally had trouble with
oxidation that I could not remove with my “normal” pickle and had to
remove it by abrasion. This could cause problems if the oxidation
formed in a solder joint. It wears very well, too.

I never had any resistance when selling it. The color is great, very
white, and the price makes it a very affordable alternative to
platinum, and is in the Platinum family. The price did a rocket ride
upwards a few years ago, and at one time was more expensive than
platinum. I stopped using it then, but I’ve been looking into working
with it lately. I’d just like to find a good pickle for it. Jim
Binnion suggested using a warm Tarnex solution, but I haven’t tried
it…yet.

Douglas Zaruba
33 N. Market St.
Frederick, MD 21701
301 695-1107
@Douglas_Zaruba

Hi Douglas, Thank you for all that on palladium/ruthenium. In some
of my platinum designs there is a lot of pave and engraving. Do you
know how this alloy compares to platinum/iridium for setting and
engraving? Why do you use such low temp solder? I wonder if
anyone has experience with casting palladium/ruthenium or some other
palladium alloy.

It’s interesting that this metal seems to need a special pickle. It
sounds so great I wonder why it hasn’t been used more–

Thanks again for sharing your experience,
Janet

Janet, Pave’ setting into palladium/ruthenium is super easy…like
platinum. Engraving is also easy. Think of this alloy as being just
like 950 platinum, but slightly grayer. I spoke to Linus, at AU
Enterprises (800 637-2278), about casting this alloy, and he has done
it in the past. The cost was similar to 14k white gold.

I have been purchasing my solders from Hoover and Strong, and the

1300 solder for platinum is basically palladium. I’m sure that other
suppliers can provide solders for palladium, as well as mill
products.

I like working with the alloy, but I occasionally had an issue with

oxidation that caused a problem. Platinum, of course, does not
oxidize (unless you’re using platinum/cobalt), and the oxide on 18k
yellow will easily pickle off and leave a nice rich surface. White
gold has always had oxide problems, and the palladium alloy is no
different. If you treat it like white gold, you will be able to avoid
most problems. The real difference is that palladium solders at a
much higher temperature than the gold alloys, and it is not difficult
to have your flux break down before your solder flows, particularly
on a heavier piece. Maybe the black flux will work better? I’ll let
you know.

I'm planning to introduce a line of palladium jewelry this fall.

Since it is not as expensive as platinum, I can design larger,
heavier pieces and still keep the prices attractive. Looks great with
high karat gold. I will still continue to design platinum jewelry,
and I’m also doing a line of 20k yellow gold jewelry. I LOVE the
color, and it is easy to work with. The color of 22k, with the
hardness of 18k. Sweet…

Your new work sounds a little different that the work I'm familiar

with. I’d love to see it sometime. I understand that you’ve also
entered The Realm of Retail, with a gallery in Mill Valley?

Call /email me any time, Doug

Douglas Zaruba
33 N. Market St.
Frederick, MD 21701
301 695-1107
@Douglas_Zaruba