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Working in palladium

Hello all.

Due to the ever rising gold prices, I have been considering getting
into palladium. I work mainly in gold and silver now. Mainly hand
fabricated pieces, although I do cast occasionally. I was hoping to
get some insights on working with palladium, and how its properties
compare to that of the other precious metals. Any advice would be
helpful. Also, are there any publications on working with palladium?

Diane Bryant Designs
Custom Fine Jewelry and Repairs

There are many uses for palladium, and it can be fun and frustrating
to work with, others I am sure will post on these issues. I am going
to go another direction. I have been making jewelry for 35 years so
I have seen gold prices up and down and up again, and to make my main
point heRe: People always will buy gold, they may complain about the
gold price but they buy.

Most of the complaints and hesitation come from the very beginning of
the price increase when it is a big news story. After the news goes
on to something else its back to normal. Like the gas prices, when
Bush was in office the news media went crazy when gas went over $2.00
a gallon in the US, went up to $4 ish and then back down. Now back to
$3.00 and you hear nothing from the news media. No talking to people
in the gas line about how they are going to get to work. Gold is the
same way, its old news and the average person doesn’t even know the
price of gold.

Next point is that gold is gold and there is nothing to replace it.
If you are doing custom fabrication and use palladium its white,
that’s OK if the customer wants white. If you have been using gold,
keep using gold and see what happens, don’t worry about the price of
gold, If you are pricing your labor correctly, the increase in gold
should be a small amount in the total price. Also the other side of
this is you could be lowering your standards in your customers eyes
if you don’t use gold anymore. On the cost side, palladium is not
much cheaper than gold when you get into it. You can’t remelt your
scrap into usable pieces like gold or silver so the scrap adds up
over time.

Just a few thoughts

Bill Wismar

Diane- I haven’t done a whole lot, but really enjoy working in
palladium. To me it works just like platinum. It’s easy to set
stones in as well. I have a cast ring I wear regularly and it has
held up very well. I have also done some fabricating in palladium and
enjoy forming and soldering it.

There are some excellent posts on Palladium in the Orchid archives.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer


I have only worked with a piece or two. I made a bracelet with
diamonds for a customer. Everything came out fine but I just was not
pleased with the color. Seems to have a light titanium gray. The
customer was pleased. As I recall it seemed to weld well with the
laser welder. If you need to have something cast I use TechForm. I
also have tried the palladium plating solution as the alternative to
rhodium and didn’t like the color.

Tanco Creations

I have been making palladium bands from ingots for a few years now,
and with excellent results. You’ll need to use a mighty flame (
propane and oxygen is what I use) to melt it or solder it. My scrap
is easy to re-melt into an ingot, and rolls well into wire or sheet
stock. I give the metal about a 10 second “soak” at an orange glow to
get it fully annealed, and then it is good to go.

Unlike platinum, which is a real bear to polish, palladium finishes
more like golds and silver. It seems to be a bright white, to my eye,
and takes a beautiful finish. It’s strangely lightweight for a
precious metal, even lighter than sterling!

The downside to palladium might be the public’s perception to it. It
has been traditionally used as an alloy for a killer white and easy
to roll out white gold, but not until recently as a stand-alone
jewelry metal. If the bridal and jewelry trade magazines can push it
hard enough, I think people will perceive it as much more desirable.

Jay Whaley

My experience with Palladium 950 alloys in the UK is that they are a
bit sift, particularly if cast, and are unsuitable for some stone
setting jobs. Having repolished palladium wedding bands for
customers, they tend to have charactistic deep, soft dents, which are
quite different to platinum or white gold. The metal also oxidises,
so it does need a flux for soldering, unlinke platinum.

Be aware that other palladium alloys do exist - there’s an Italian
firm that make several alloys with different properties, and I’m sure
that there are many more companies doing the same, so it might be
worth looking beyond your local bullion dealer.