You’ve decided to pick a white metal for your ring, and you’ve narrowed your options to palladium and platinum. They look almost identical, but even though you’re not an expert, you assume there must be some differences. You’re right about that.
This comparison guide will look closely at the two precious metals, analyzing them based on important characteristics. In the end, you’ll be able to make a well-informed decision easily.
Are platinum and palladium the same?
Platinum and palladium are not the same. Although they belong to the platinum group metals (PGM) and have many similar characteristics, they are different metals.
What is palladium vs platinum?
Palladium is a rare silvery-white metal. It’s the least dense of its metal group, malleable, and resistant to tarnishing and corrosion. These characteristics made it a sought-after metal exclusively in the manufacturing industry.
Jewelers use it to make fine jewelry which is increasing in popularity. Also, it’s often used as an alloy, combined with yellow gold to make white gold.
On the other hand, platinum is a rare precious metal that is silver-white, dense, malleable, and tarnish-resistant. It’s used extensively in the jewelry industry as well as the manufacturing industry. Besides making pure platinum jewelry, jewelers also use it to plate gold to cover up the yellow tinge and give it a silvery finish.
How do you tell the difference between platinum and palladium?
Palladium and platinum have a similar silvery-white appearance; to an untrained eye, there’s no difference. However, palladium has a slightly darker shade compared to platinum, but this can be impossible to detect if the jewelry pieces are highly polished.
You can also tell the difference by comparing their weights; this can only work if the jewelry pieces are of the same design. The palladium jewelry will weigh less than the platinum jewelry.
Palladium vs platinum: How they compare
Palladium and platinum are white precious metals but let’s see how they contrast.
Palladium and platinum are both rare metals, but palladium is up to 15 times rarer than platinum.
Price and value
Palladium and platinum are both precious metals. Palladium was previously less expensive than platinum, but its prices soared due to its high demand by the manufacturing and jewelry industry. Keep in mind that the costs of both metals are volatile.
Both metals have resale value, but you might sell them at a lower price due to the price fluctuation.
Palladium is almost two times less dense than platinum. It’s a lightweight metal, while platinum is one of the densest precious metals.
Palladium and platinum are low-maintenance metals. They are resistant to tarnishing and corrosion. They also don’t need plating; to restore the luster of your palladium or platinum jewelry, get your jeweler to polish it.
Palladium and platinum are popular for making fine jewelry. However, platinum is the preferred choice for engagement rings because of its variety of design options.
Aside from making jewelry, palladium is used in the dental and auto sectors for dental casting alloys and making petrol vehicle catalytic converters, respectively. On the other hand, platinum is used in the electronics industry and in the auto sector for making diesel or hybrid vehicle catalytic converters.
Palladium and platinum are hypoallergenic metals. The palladium alloy for jewelry contains 95% palladium and 5% metals like ruthenium.
The platinum alloy for jewelry typically has 95% of platinum and 5% of other metals like ruthenium, cobalt, and iridium. They both don’t usually contain nickel.
Palladium is harder than platinum and so is more scratch-resistant. Palladium has a rating of 4.8 on the Mohs scale of hardness, while platinum is between 4 and 4.5. However, they are both durable because the jewelry pieces don’t lose metal even when you scratch them. The metal is only displaced and can be restored with polishing.
Palladium vs platinum: Which is better?
To pick a winner, let’s examine the pros and cons of each metal.
Pros and cons of palladium
Here are some of the pros and cons of palladium:
- Rare and valuable
- Easy to maintain
- Uncommon (few style options available)
- Not easy to resize (because jewelers often don’t work with it)
Pros and cons of platinum
Here are some of the pros and cons of platinum:
- Rare and precious metal
- Popular (and has various design options)
- Less expensive than palladium
- Low-maintenance and durable
- Softer than palladium and scratches more easily
- Heavier than other white metals
- Expensive to repair or resize
Our Verdict: Based on comparing both metals, platinum is our winning white metal. For metals as expensive as palladium and platinum, people need to be able to buy jewelry that suits their style.
Unlike platinum, that offers various styles, palladium is harder to manipulate, so the style options are limited. Although the weight of platinum is a minus for some people, others like to feel the weight of their jewelry.
Choose your precious white metal
A good look at palladium vs platinum will show you they have more similarities than differences. However, those differences are enough for you to make a choice.
Whichever one you pick, you’ll be wearing jewelry made from one of the best jewelry metals. They will also last you a lifetime with minimal maintenance. If you’re sensitive to many metals, these two are excellent choices.
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