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Working with Palladium


#1

I just created a chain necklace using Palladium large and small
rings and pearls. I soldered the larger rings and toggle bar with
fine yellow gold. The first rings I made with fine Palladium then
the smaller rings with.950. There was a noticable difference in
whiteness between the two after soldering, the.950 turned blueish
from oxidation so I tried to briefly pickle them. This didn’t work
but what did work was lightly reheating them with a weak flame and
or sanding them with fine sand paper. I finished them in a polishing
machine. The end result was that the palladium was nearly as white
as Platinum and whiter than non-treated white gold, and a lot less
expensive!

My question is why is it not used as much in jewelry, for chains in
particular since it is lighter weight as well?

Beth Thompson
Cimmaran Designs


#2

Beth,

My  question is why is it not used as much in jewelry, for chains
in particular since it is lighter weight as well?

Palladium is pretty cool isn’t it? There’s always resistance to the
new, still, recent reports I’ve read on metals activity have noted a
higher demand from jewelers for palladium.

If the price doesn’t remain low in relation to platinum and gold, I
think it’ll be just a bit player. The major source for palladium is
Russia and they have had a rather spotty history supplying steady
amounts to the market. That plays into metals natural price
volatility. Right now it’s in the low $200’s but do you remember when
it was over $800/oz?

I made several fabricated pieces in the beginning of October and got
a good response both from the metal and the gallery. I just got back
the first cast piece last week for a custom job that I’m setting some
stones in. I’ll be interested to see how things work out from here in
the market.

Larry Seiger


#3

Larry,

Right now it's in the low $200's but do you remember when it was
over $800/oz? 

Actually I’ve worked in palladium sporadically over the years and I
don’t ever recall it being $800/oz. When exactly was that?

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140
@Daniel_R_Spirer
www.spirerjewelers.com


#4

Hi Larry,

I am very interested in your experience fabricating with palladium.
I am familiar with the alloy Hoover and Strong is producing: 950
palladium. I have made very limited tests - the extremely high
melting temperature and subsequent high temperature for soldering
seemed to indicate that it was similar to working with platinum. I
have no experience at all with platinum. My torch set-up is
oxy-propane. Hoover and Strong didn’t have much advice to offer me.

Regards,

Donna Hiebert
Donna Hiebert Design


#5

Hi Larry,

I have another question for you…are you using .999 palladium or
.950 palladium in your work? Like I had mentioned in my previous post
the .999 was noticably whiter in the end result, is this your
experience as well? I don’t know the sources for fine Palladium in
the US but for anyone interested in Europe try http://www.gyr.ch

Thanks for your response Larry!

Beth Thompson
Cimmaran Designs


#6

Hi, Daniel

Actually I've worked in palladium sporadically over the years... 

I’d like to hear what has drawn you to (and away from) working with
palladium over the years. Are there certain projects you prefer to
use palladium for, but not others? Do you see it as a viable
stand-in for platinum or white gold, or do you only see it as a
contrasting-colored metal for occasional use-- or what?

Thanks for satisfying my curiosity,

Noel


#7

Daniel,

Actually I've worked in palladium sporadically over the years and
I don't ever recall it being $800/oz. When exactly was that?

Actually The price spiked in early 2001 at $1090. From the tail end
of 2000 through the middle of 2001 the average price was at or over
$800 an oz. Since about 2003 the prices have come back in line to
historical ranges in comparison to platinum. You can find an
interesting article and charts at:

http://www.stillwaterpalladium.com/priceJM.html

Larry


#8

Daniel.

Palladium was over $800 an ounce from late Nov 2000 to March 2001.
It hit $1090 on Jan 26 2001

Jim

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#9

Donna,

When in doubt, I’d err on the side of treating palladium like
platinum. Use welding glasses when you solder using high temp
solders, use a ceramic board and a solder pick recommended for
platinum, use an oxidizing flame when soldering and try to avoid
cross contamination.

Platinum is very susceptible to metal contamination because it’s
high melting temperature will fuse foreign material into the alloy
rather than flowing around it. Because of this you’ll have little
problem using a propane/oxy torch with palladium or plat. as long as
you use an oxidizing flame. Never use acetylene, there’s too much
carbon even with an oxidizing flame.

Palladium can be a little sticky when fabricating, especially when
drawing it down (an educated guess here, carbide drawplates are
probably better than standard steel ones). Palladium will oxidize
(and it may require more aggressive removal) and it probably isn’t a
candidate for fusing, though on the last point I’m making another
educated guess.

Hope this helps.
Larry


#10

Beth,

are you using.999 palladium or.950 palladium in your work?

I use.950 from Hoover and Strong.

.999 was noticably whiter in the end result, is this your
experience as well? 

I’ve never used fine palladium. Maybe it’s whiter because there’s
less oxidation sans alloy. But from what I’ve heard from others is
that fine palladium is a little too soft for wearing and too sticky
for fabrication techniques. Even the.950 I used tore as I drew it
through an oval drawplate. It was more than white enough for my
taste.

Hope that helps.
Larry


#11

Noel,

Actually in the past I worked in palladium sporadically because
that’s the kind of demand I had for it. Occasionally we got MIT type
science nerds in who wanted something different (as usual they were
far ahead of the rest of us) and who had a bug up their bu** about
palladium. However, since the 950 palladium has come out I have been
selling it regularly. Currently it’s best selling point is that it is
a naturally occurring white metal that I can price and sell for the
same price as my 18k yellow gold (my 18k palladium white work is more
than my yellow). That is far cheaper than platinum and it’s driving a
lot of customers towards it. However, personally (to answer another
part of your question) I dislike all white metals, think all
gemstones look better in yellow and think white metals were only put
on this earth to act as accents to the yellow metals. But that’s just
me personally. My customers are heavily into white metals.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140
@Daniel_R_Spirer
www.spirerjewelers.com


#12

Hoover & Strong’s .950 palladium alloy is whiter than pure
palladium. I use both. They both will oxidize at high temperatures.
Fine palladium is sticky and not so fun to work with. Hover & Strongs
alloy is much nicer to work with but is still a tiny bit on the
sticky side and we had some difficulty drawing it when laminated.

Jim

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550