Marriage is more than a piece of paper; it is a symbol of everlasting love. The journey toward eternal devotion (queue Grow Old With You by Adam Sandler) begins with an engagement ring. However, not all women want to wear an engagement ring that ages too quick, especially since, again, it represents a lifetime of dedication and commitment.
In a previous article, we taught our readers How to Choose the Right Engagement Ring. In this writing, our main focus is the metal you will be wrapping around her finger. While longevity problems with engagement rings are sometimes a result of poor craftsmanship, choosing the wrong metal is a leading cause, too.
Palladium vs. Platinum vs. White Gold
90 percent of women prefer a glistening white metal. Although silver is a popular choice, you have three higher-end options, including 18k white gold, platinum, and palladium. The prices of these precious metals have changed dramatically over the past two years. To be specific:
- 18k White Gold is 12 percent more expensive
- Palladium is 93 percent more expensive
- Platinum is 16 percent cheaper
For decades, the jewelry trade has been a huge advocate for the use of palladium. At a certain point, it was trading at 1/8th of the price of platinum, as well as shared similar benefits. Price-wise, the scales have tipped. Palladium today is 68 percent more expensive than platinum per gram, which is excellent because a platinum engagement ring is often a far more superior choice over palladium. Allow the experts at Biltmore Loan and Jewelry to explain below.
Wait, What is Palladium?
Palladium is a form of metal with a natural white finish. It belongs to the platinum group metals (PGMs), comprising these six transitional metal elements:
Platinum and palladium are the only two members of the group that jewelers use as a primary component in rings, necklaces, bracelets, and other jewelry. Palladium has working properties similar to platinum, and it delivers a high-luster finish in jewelry pieces.
Palladium vs Platinum
Palladium is slightly harder than platinum on the Mohs scale, and it is a bit more scratch-resistant than platinum. In comparison to platinum, however, palladium jewelry is less expensive (about 0.6-0.8 times), and almost equals the cost of gold jewelry.
Two reasons support the significant difference in pricing between palladium and platinum jewelry. The first is the spot price of the metals. As of April 2019, platinum is over $1000 per ounce, while palladium is under $800. In most cases, jewelers use either of the two for 90 to 95 percent pure forms of jewelry.
The other reason is the density of these precious metals. Platinum is incredibly dense per volume compared to palladium. The weight of a polished platinum piece of jewelry is much higher (and therefore more expensive) than the same jewelry made in palladium. The compounding effects of spot price with gram weight makes palladium a less costly alternative.
If the weight of an engagement ring band matters to you or your fiancé-to-be, you may opt for the heavier and more substantial platinum.
Palladium vs White Gold
As mentioned earlier in this writing, palladium is naturally white. It is also a low-maintenance metal that does not necessitate plating or re-plating throughout the course of its life. In contrast, white gold jewelry may require a rhodium replating every few years to maintain its white, glistening appearance.
Next, palladium is hypoallergenic, meaning it removes the risk of skin irritation. On this note, few people suffer from allergic reactions to white gold. Even if you happen to be one of them, most jewelers may still recommend platinum as a better alternative to palladium.
White gold jewelry is typically harder and more scratch-resistant than palladium jewelry because of its alloy composition. For the exact same reason mentioned beforehand: if you are someone who prefers to feel a slight weight on your finger when wearing a ring, 18k white gold would be a better choice over platinum due to its density.
Why is Palladium Not Popular for Engagement Rings?
Although palladium has some advantageous properties, you might be surprised to learn that it is not a popular choice in bridal jewelry. There are a few reasons for this.
First of all, palladium is lightweight. While it helps to keep the price affordable, being lightweight is not appealing to many buyers. For those who love the “heft” of fine jewelry made in 18K white gold or platinum, palladium does not achieve the same feel.
Second of all, not all jewelers have training and experience in working with palladium. It has slightly different properties for jewelry casting and soldering, which requires specific knowledge and equipment when working with the metal.
As a result, there are only a handful of jewelers with experience in handling palladium. Most craftsmen would avoid this metal because of the low demand from consumers, too. Therefore, owning a palladium engagement ring may be inconvenient due to the limited services and repairs available.
Should You Choose White Gold, Platinum, or Palladium?
At some point in the past, palladium became an attractive alternative when the price of platinum spiked. However, since the prices of the two metals are considerably closer today, the benefits of palladium jewelry are waning.
At the end of the day, the choice of metal depends on you and your bride-to-be’s personal preference. Each of these three metals has distinctive advantages and disadvantages. But if you ask the opinion of experts in the jewelry industry, they might tell you to take on a practical approach toward buying jewelry and choose 14k or 18k white gold (for cost reasons). If you have the budget to splurge, then platinum is the ideal metal.
A Final Word
The number one rule of engagement ring shopping is to get her exactly what she wants, including the ring design she can’t stop gushing about, the cut of diamond she prefers, and the color and feel of the metal she would like to have the setting in.
We understand that some engagements don’t work out for the best.
An engagement ring is more than a pretty rock on a finger; it is a financial and sentimental investment. Once you are ready to move on, you can bring your engagement ring to Biltmore Loan and Jewelry to get a free market appraisal. We look forward to helping you let go of the past and welcome new beginnings into your life.