The history of Palladium
William Hyde Wollaston is famous for discovering the chemical elements of Palladium and rhodium in 1803. However, it became popular in jewellery design and manufacture in July 2009 when the United Kingdom Hallmarking Act was amended.
It’s an infrequent event for any new metal to become part of the UK hallmarking act. Palladium is only the fourth metal in the 700-year history of hallmarking in the UK that has required such treatment, the last being platinum in 1975.
The amendment stated that from January 2010, it would be compulsory for jewellery items made from palladium alloys to be hallmarked if they were sold in the UK, the same as gold, silver and platinum.
Because of its rare characteristics, it has been used for making all types of jewellery, including diamond engagement rings; however, I felt it was only really suitable for wedding rings and, in particular, the design and creation of men’s wedding rings.
In fact, over the past ten years, 60% of my sales in men’s wedding rings has been using Palladium as it offers the wearer durability on par with platinum but with the added advantage that it is lighter in weight and with a considerable saving over the cost of a platinum wedding ring.
But this is all about to change. Since the turn of the year, the price commercially for Palladium has climbed by more than 18%. And over 30% for jewellers.
This rise has nothing to do with the jewellery trade and more to do with environmental concerns causing a global shift from diesel to gasoline and hybrid vehicles, which use more Palladium in catalytic converters.
Because of these vast rises, the savings over the same ring made in platinum have virtually been wiped out overnight. So where typically you could have saved over £400 in choosing Palladium, the savings now are close to £100. Therefore, you would now only select it if you prefer the lighter weight and feel.
Unless there is a reversal to these enormous price increases, which appeared highly unlikely, I believe it will spell the end of palladium jewellery and an increase in platinum and gold sales.
If you would like to discover more about precious metals