Palladium is Another Alternative for Platinum

The Palladium Alliance International (PAI) is here at the Centurion jewelry show, and it’s pushing hard for the jewelry industry to accept the metal previously known only to dentists. For those of you who don’t know, PAI is palladium what the Platinum Guild International is to platinum. PAI debuted at the JCK Jewelry Show in Las Vegas last year, and it recently returned from the Vicenza Oro show in Italy, and will appear again at the upcoming Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America show in New York in 2007.

PAI officials told me yesterday that palladium is getting a lot of attention from Centurion attendees, and elsewhere. Apparently, the Italians are already using a 950 version. The Chinese prefer 990 for purity.

The pros and cons of the metal are numerous. Palladium’s major advantage over platinum is cost; Palladium’s edge over white gold is color (it’s a white metal that stays white) and purity because it’s 10 times rarer than gold, according to PAI. Because palladium is heavy—like platinum—women who prefer weighty jewelry have more (and bigger) options at lower prices. Palladium is also as durable as platinum, and serves as another hypoallergenic jewelry option.

Like PAI says, “palladium is another choice”—like, chicken or fish, or white versus yellow. People crave newness, options. I don’t see palladium as a “bad” thing. Platinum is the rarest, the “best” metal available, and palladium supporters aren’t trying to usurp that title. Palladium just wants to join our jewelry crowd.

FYI, a few industry proponents of palladium are Tenthio, Scott Kay, and Frederick Goldman. An article about palladium and one of its mines in Montana will appear in a spring 2007 issue of JCK Magazine. Look for a byline on it from Laura Finkelstein.