Palladium Casting Research Begins

The Palladium Alliance International has contracted with the Research Institute for Precious Metals and Metals Chemistry (FEM), a metallurgical research institution located in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany, to research and identify best practices for palladium casting procedures. FEM is an independent non-university non-profit institution in the field of metallurgy, materials science and surface technology.

Jörg Fischer-Bühner, head of the metallurgical department will lead the research at FEM. The research includes working with industry partners from the trade. Fischer-Bühner will coordinate the project with Mark B. Mann, technical consultant to the PAI. Both Fischer-Bühner and Mann will work closely with the industry partners who are TechForm Advanced Casting Technology, Portland, Ore., Au Enterprises, Berkley, Mich., and Vendorafa Lombardi, a casting and handmade Italian jewelry manufacturing company.

The two U.S. industry partners offer casting services to the trade. Vendorafa Lombardi has several pieces in their existing designer lines made in palladium and karat gold combination. Each of the industrial partners has conducted extensive in-house research for their respective companies in this area and has experienced ongoing success with casting palladium.

The palladium alloys being used for this research are 950 Pd from Legor and Johnson Matthey, which are available worldwide. The palladium for the project was provided on loan by the Stillwater Mining Company located in Billings, Mont. The Stillwater Mining Co. is the sole sponsor of the Palladium Alliance International.

The initial phase of this research project will conclude in August. The results will then be published and made available by PAI. Technical bulletins on other subjects of palladium jewelry manufacturing are currently available at

Johnson Matthey and Legor will also provide related technical bulletins that will be available soon after the research project is completed. Dr. Fischer-Bühner will present a white paper on successful palladium casting techniques at the Santa Fe Symposium, in May 2008 in Albuquerque, N.M.

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