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Setting Question -- Palladium?

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SJS1234

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I think we''ve found the diamond -- now I just have to decide on the setting! I am having a custom-made setting created from either Platinum or Palladium (not palladium wg, but 95% palladium), and I''m trying to determine if the difference in quality is small enough to overlook for quite a significant difference in cost. I''ve searched pricescope, but I don''t see much info since fall of last year, and I''m hoping that a few of you have worked with palladium or have purchased palladium since then and can provide some additional insight. I understand that palladium becomes more dull than platinum and that it is much lighter in weight. My understanding, however, is that it is excellent for pave settings, and that it does look and wear similarly to platinum The cost of my setting will be about $1500 in platinum, but only about $950 in palladium.

I would love to get expert and consumer opinions on this. Thank you!
 

diamondgirlNY

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Hi there...
I have been in the trade for a long long time, it is my best advice to you go for a precious metal ....ie 14K white gold or Platinum. Yes, there is a big cost difference, but you have to take into consideration this: If for any reason, you gain weight, or loose weight, who are you going to bring your palladium ring to to size? There really are not very many jewellers who will know how to work in this "new" metal....secondly, as far as I know, palladium should be considerably lower in cost than 950 that you were "quoted". When Platinum was advertised by the Platinum guild, Platinum became much more popular and desireable to the retail public....but it has been around for more than a century...where as Palladium has generally been used as an alloy for Platinum....Not to knock Palladium because I have seen pieces that are extraordinary, but, if someone were to present you with a mounting made of Nickel would you purchase that one?....Personally I wouldn''t...there isn''t enough known about Palladium to really know how it will uphold the test of "wear-ability" or durability as far as diamond pave....
That is my 2cents.
 

SJS1234

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Thank you! My concern is also "the unknown" -- which is my primary reason for throwing the question out on this forum. If the difference is truly slight in the end, then I will strongly consider palladium. You mentioned that $950 seems high, but keep in mind, this setting is being custom made to look very similar to the Michael B. setting here:
http://www.pearlmansjewelers.com/jewelry-designers/michael-b-jewelry/rings/04P1/0/from-the-michael-b-princess-collection.-a-wonderful-single-row-platinum-pave-ring-set-with-.44cts-of/

-- so you have to take into consideration the craftsmanship as well. The quote I got for something similar to a Vatche X prong was $550 in palladium. Do you still think $950 is too high?
 

JohnQuixote

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Palladium is from the platinum family of metals and is approximately $320/ounce versus $1030/ounce for platinum (market price today). I agree with the prior advice. If you''re just trying to save money consider gonig to WG with palladium in the alloy, or a WG alloy with rhodium plating. They are time-tested and familiar to jewelers.
 

diamondgirlNY

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hi again...
seriously I think that the mounting that you picked out is exquisite....
BUT
if it were me, would I opt for Palladium....I would say no. Micro Pave diamonds are not the most wearable designs out there...especially with such delicate workmanship as I see....I have clients coming in to replace diamonds that were lost somewhere along the way from heavy micropave platinum pieces....there is difficulties in working with platinum, as "common" as it has become over the last several decades, but I feel that because Palladium has not been "tested" in a long term type of basis, I personnally would not....I don''t want to discourage anyone from being unique, but seeing that a large sum of money is being spent in buying a center stone, and then additionally, you are spending another small fortune on a mounting to "frame" your center, I feel that it would be a bit unwise to try to save money if at the end, more money will be spent...must always think of the worst case scenario as a jeweller....
 

SJS1234

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Thank you John and DiamondGirl!

John -- I''ve been told by more than one person that these pave settings should never be made with white gold because the metal is far too soft. Are you disagreeing with that opinion?

My understanding is that there has never been a question as to the strength of palladium -- that it is very, very similar to platinum, and that jewerly makers actually rate it about the same on ease to use. My only concern was the look and weight of it. Now you guys are saying that palladium is such an unknown and that I shouldn''t use it for that reason......but haven''t jewelers been using it since WWII when platinum was taken out of the market? Even Tiffanys used palladium at that time (not that I''m a fan of Tiffany, but that''s besides the point). Now I''m more concerned than I was originally.....there has to be someone out there with first hand knowledge/experience, right?
 

valeria101

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I was hoping there was some confusion involved and the choice were about palladium white gold - i.e. white gold alloyed with palladium. A nicer version, IMO... w/o the yellowing problem.


All I know about Palladium used in jewelry.. is that it was used as a substitute for platinum for a short period around the end of WWII. You may even find a few signed pieces from 1942-46 or so made of this metal. For example, Tiffany did this too eventually although higher end jewelry held onto platinum despite high prices. I am not sure at this late hour if there were any legal restrictions against the use of platinum for jewelry in the US around the same time.

Then as now, palladium was a less expensive alternative to platinum. Why it isn''t more popular.. no idea.

The pieces I have seen were all old and more worn than platinum ones. Hard to tell if this is because of the properties of the metal, or ?
 

valeria101

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Date: 3/16/2006 5:29:53 PM
Author: SJS1234


John -- I''ve been told by more than one person that these pave settings should never be made with white gold because the metal is far too soft. Are you disagreeing with that opinion?


I am not John... I''d add here that... it depends on the setting. If you want a 1.5mm shank with pave all around - that would rather be done in steel or something! At least platinum has a better chance.
7.gif


A design with sensible mass to it, should hold in either metal.

Wearing those micro pave rings 24/7 doesn''t sound like a tremendously practical idea regardless. It sounds like these days few jewelers would dare tell their clients that one or another fashion forward choice simply doesn''t hold together. If the shiny adds tell differently ...
15.gif
Hard to argue with them (and loose clients to less scrupulous folk).

And it doesn''t seem to be a matter of good versus ad pave - this is how it works in general. Some settings seem safer (say, with the pave held between raised edges of metal, set so that it doesn''t rub into rings stacked near by etc.). But the trendier, are the less practical - what else is new.

Just one point of view to consider.
 

scarlet16

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I''m very curious about Palladium as well as our custom jeweler has suggested it for our ring. If anyone has any information in the meantime, please proivde something so that I''m informed when I''m asking about it. I am going in tonight to the store and will ask further about the metal.
 

JohnQuixote

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Date: 3/16/2006 5:29:53 PM
Author: SJS1234
Thank you John and DiamondGirl!

John -- I've been told by more than one person that these pave settings should never be made with white gold because the metal is far too soft. Are you disagreeing with that opinion?

My understanding is that there has never been a question as to the strength of palladium -- that it is very, very similar to platinum, and that jewerly makers actually rate it about the same on ease to use. My only concern was the look and weight of it. Now you guys are saying that palladium is such an unknown and that I shouldn't use it for that reason......but haven't jewelers been using it since WWII when platinum was taken out of the market? Even Tiffanys used palladium at that time (not that I'm a fan of Tiffany, but that's besides the point). Now I'm more concerned than I was originally.....there has to be someone out there with first hand knowledge/experience, right?
SJS - I overlooked the pave element while chasing prices. For a setting with pave I would recommend Platinum, for the reasons you already know.

I asked Bob Hosking about this (he's been in the biz for over 40 years) and he recalls that Palladium was used as you suggest, but it's just not common to hear of 95% palladium today. That does not mean it's not possible or would be a bad choice. I'm interested in opinions from others here - and what you decide.
 

SJS1234

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Thanks everyone (Valeria, John, DG)! Scarlet -- my jeweler has also recommended palladium, and I told him that although it sounds great, I want to research further before making the decision (which is why I'm here).

John -- I am hearing that Palladium is still available -- it's just that there has been no demand because everyone wants platinum. Now that platinum prices are so high, and apparently the automobile industry is taking an enormous amount of the available platinum off the market to coat internal engine parts (anyone know anything about this?), the availability is becoming more and more scarce. In addition, I've been told that one of the large mines in Kenya may not continue to run because the government has been taking more and more control, making the mines less profitable for the owners. I guess the concern is that it might shut down altogether at some point in the relatively near future due to lack of profitability. This is all market speculation and there could be nothing to it -- it's just something I've recently heard about.

What I'm hearing (and I did find a few pieces on the internet) is that palladium is on the rise.......particularly for its similarity to platinum. Apparently there are some high-end designers out there who plan to reveal their new lines of palladium pieces at the Vegas show this summer. The expectation is that the demand will be increasing soon, and the prices will follow. The 95% palladium itself is certainly not difficult to obtain -- as I understand my jeweler can get it immediately and begin creating my piece, once I make the final decision.

Scarlet -- let us know what you find out as well. What, in fact, did your jeweler say about it?
 

indecisive

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"SJS - I overlooked the pave element while chasing prices. For a setting with pave I would recommend Platinum, for the reasons you already know."

I hadn''t hear about this! Is WG really not safe for a pave ring??

"John -- I''ve been told by more than one person that these pave settings should never be made with white gold because the metal is far too soft."

I had read in another thread that platinum would be more likely to bend when white gold might be more prone to breaking. Would that have something to do with it? I am getting scared because we are going to have a WG pave ring made by Quest and they never said anything about it being unsafe
14.gif
 

SJS1234

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Indecisive:
I''m not expert -- but I''ve heard this from MANY. You might want to do a search on custom pave settings and see what you find.
 

scarlet16

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SJS-

I looked at a few pieces the jeweler has done in palladium and they look wonderful! The color is a little bit more silver (but not much), a little less "white" than palladium so if you don''t mind that it should be ok. They''ve been working with palladium for quite a few years & have never had any problems with their pieces (nor any customer complaints with their pieces). The jeweler said that palladium and platinum because they are from the "platinum" family of metals have similar properties and are very similar to work with. They do charge a premium on the "market" value since it is not as common as platinum, but the price is still almost half that of platinum. They stated that the attachment to platinum is due to the Platinum Guild''s excellent PR work to promote this metal.

Also, if you do some research, it looks like palladium is considered a precious metal. It has also been used by a few countries as currency (and it looks beautiful). (I checked on the site mentioned in one of the posts above).

As to resizing, since you''re having it custom made, I''m assuming that they can do any further adjustsments for you. I would suggest asking to see some pieces and asking how long they have worked with palladium, and if there has ever been any complaints regarding it.

Hope this helps!
 

TheDoctor

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Palladium isn''t new. It''s just unfamiliar.It is a precious metal, and has in recent times been higher in price than platinum.
Many of the American refiners are working on alloys for palladium (pure palladium needs something to harden it, just like platinum) which are very workable, but like platinum, require a little more investment in equipment and supplies than gold work does.
Any company which is able to work with platinum can also use palladium.

When I was a junior in the trade, the company I worked for used palladium heads for setting large, fine diamonds. The material is durable, very white, and works very nicely for securing stones faultlessly.

As for pave'', I can''t stress enough that there is good and bad work out there, but if you have stones falling out of settings, then that can''t be considered normal. Ever. There are lots of companies that like to sell it, as it is very popular, but there are really only a handful whose work will stand out as durable and excellent to loupe inspection.
They are your dollars you are spending. Stay away from the cheap estimates. Good work costs good money.

Pave'' work is possible with almost any workable metal, and palladium is no exception. Don''t be afraid to go with a jeweller who is probably a leader, not a follower. If they work with palladium, they are onto the next big thing.
 

diamondgirlNY

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hi again...
This Palladium VS. Platinum topic seems pretty hot....

Yes, Palladium seems to be the next big thing, but honestly, with all these experts out there, how many of us have really worked with Jewellry pieces made of Palladium? Platinum might be scarce, and has always been comparatively to Gold, but its worth and "precious-ness" is determined by the scarcity. The reality is, one can also set diamonds pave in silver too, but who would? I mean Silver is a noble metal as well. Circa late 1800''s many jewellry artisans mounted rose cuts into silver alloys because of the inaccessability of finer metals....BUT these peices are unique in and of itself, and the metal was used in a uniqe way and not in a "wanna be" fashion. In Europe, 9K gold is customarily used for jewellry, but in the USA it is "unheard of setting diamonds in even 10K gold.
I think the issue is the price, as well as the "uniqueness" of the mounting.... one person on the forum noted about setting pave, and the stones falling out being due to poor workmanship....I agree only to a certain extent in this case....why? cause as a setter, they wouldn''t know how the end client wears the piece, and not to mention, the durability of the metal. I want to clarify, one thing....Platinum is a much denser metal, but it is considerably softer than 14Kgold. Why? b/c 14K gold is 58.5% pure gold and 41.5% alloy...nickel being one of them, jewellers need to take precautions when working in this metal to prevent porosity and cracking which is common if not worked by a seasoned and experienced jeweller... As far as holding polish and holding stones, 14K White gold will withstand time much longer than its 950 pure Platinum counterpart...contrary to what others have been saying. Platinum will not hold as high of a polish and will often times "dull" and look matte finish....as far as Palladium is concerned...Platinum and Gold have such different characteristics, and as I have mentioned before, when you are purchasing an emotional and significant piece, sometimes it is wiser to stick with what is known rather than chance something new and be unhappy in the long run. You are considering an extremely beautiful and delicate piece...If you are interested in a palladium mounting, I would advise that you go with a much simpler mounting and wear it for a while and see how it withstands wear as well as workability.... I throw caution to the wind first because of my ignorance of Palladium, and secondly because it seems to me that there aren''t many people who have real experience with it....
 

SJS1234

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WELL, I''ve made my decision, and although I''m not completely satisfied that I know exactly what I''m getting myself into, I''ve decided to take a risk and go with Palladium for the setting. The design details have been sent off to the creator, and I can''t wait to see the finished result! KEEP YOUR FINGERS CROSSED! Since my BF will be picking it up when it''s finished, and I have no idea when I will actually set eyes on it, it may be a while before I can inform you all of my opinion of the finished product. I promise I will let you know as soon as I have it, and I will keep you updated on the wear & tear!

Thanks for all of your input and expertise! I''M SO EXCITED!!!!!! It''s almost that TIME!!!!
 

scarlet16

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SJS-

We also decided to go with Palladium! I was informed last night by our jeweler that re-sizing will not be a problem because the soldering material used by most jewelers is actually Palladium and not Platinum.
 

SJS1234

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Scarlet -- I can''t wait to see it! When will you actually have it in your hands? You know you MUST post photos, and of course I will do the same. Mine will be very similar to the Michael B petit princess one-sided pave -- I can''t wait to see the finished product!
 

scarlet16

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SJS
I''m told not for a few more weeks
8.gif
. Patience was never my strong suit! We went with an antique-style ring with some intricate detailing! I hope it turns out amazing. We looked at the wax last night and it looked PHENOMENAL...I was giddy the rest of the night!
 

SJS1234

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Scarlet-- dying to see your palladium setting! Any chance you''ve seen it yet?
 

scarlet16

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SJS-
Not yet...we saw the rough cast a few weeks back so it should be any day now!!! THE WAIT IS KILLING ME! You''d think after waiting over 5 years, I''d be able to wait 2 months...

Anyways, I''ll post pics once we get them.
 

scarlet16

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SJS-
Forgot to ask, any idea when you''re getting yours yet? I''d love to compare the settings! You don''t happen to be in NY do you?
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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A little of what i know:

1. in Australia during the 1970''s and 1980''s palladium was used as a setting metal in nickel white gold bands very often - nickel and nickel palladium mixes of white gold are best for bands because they do not bend - and the amount of nickel is too small to cause allergic reactions in higher carats of white gold.
2. it is not as white as platinum (darkish gray)and some better white gold setting alloys after it is worn.
3. it was more expensive than platinum about a decade ago - so was "out of vogue" for jewellery (It was very much used for catalytic convertoers in cars)
4. it is an excellent metal for holding stones and has a long wearing life
5. it is the main metal for making white gold setting alloys.
6. the only reason that I would not use palladium is as someone said - it might be hard to match it if you ever need the ring to be made larger and solder a piece in - but even if you used white gold
7. pall has about the same heft or weight as 14K white gold - 12 times heavier than water. 18 white is about 16-17 and platinum is about 21.
 

Rod

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Maybe I just don''t get it and yes, I must be a snob, but for me, I couldn''t fathom paying $$$$ for a really nice stone and then not giving my pet rock the ultimate home. Perhaps Platinum is 3 times the cost of Palladium. But if you''re spending beaucoup bucks on a rock, why look for dramatic cost savings on the setting???

Please, I mean no offense to anyone considering Palladium. I hope your rings are all you hoped them to be, but as I get older I see myself wearing a wonderful ring made out of platinum, sporting a perfectly cut diamond, driving around in a brand new Mercedes SL, living in a beautiful highrise on the bay, and if there is not much money left over, eating cat food out of a can!!!

Cheers!!
 

SJS1234

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Scarlet -- thanks for the update!! I can''t wait to see pictures of yours -- and of course I can''t wait to get MINE on my finger!! I''ll keep my fingers crossed that you get yours soon. My bf says mine should actually be in today or tomorrow, but who knows when I''ll actually SEE it -- I guess whenever he gets around to proposing! I sure hope that''s soon -- we have a WEDDING to plan!

Garry -- thank you for the helpful information! I''m excited to see how everything turns out!

Rod -- Here''s the deal. The budget was 10k for the diamond and setting. Like any diamond lover, I opted to use most of that on the stone, which wound up being just under 9k. With 1k left I didn''t have many choices, especially since I''m a huge fan of platinum myself. My absolute favorite, the one that I''ve pined over for years, is the Michael B one-sided petit-pave princess setting. Problem is -- it''s 3k, and I only have 1k. I''m TERRIBLY picky about settings, and I knew that if I wanted the Michael B I would have to wait at least a couple of years to upgrade.......maybe longer. The only other setting I somewhat like is the vatche x-prong (and others quite similar to it). This is around $900 in platinum...........and when my jeweler said he could create a similar setting to the michael b -- also for about $900, although in palladium, I had to seriously consider it. The thing is this -- if I chose the $900 vatche I would be spending thousands to upgrade to the michael b. later. With the palladium setting that''s being custom made, I may not need to do that. If I get it and I still feel like I want the michael b., then I will upgrade at some point -- but I will not have lost anything. Make sense?
 

scarlet16

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Rod-

I guess we''ll have to agree to disagree but I think there is large difference between driving a Mercedes and having a palladium vs. platinum ring. In buying a Mercedes, you are NOT just buying a name, but rather you''re buying an item of superior quality and build to most other cars. However, I don''t understand the point of paying such a premium for platinum when palladium looks the same as platinum, in fact, holds stones better than platinum b/c of its hardness, will not develop the patina of platinum, does not need to be re-dipped like white gold, is lighter than platinum, is more pure out of the ground than platinum, and is just as easy to work with for jeweles/platinumsmiths. Here it seems like you''re just paying for "the name." Granted, cost was a factor in my decision but truthfully, why should I pay 3X as much for a precious metal that has basically no material benefits. That just seems unwise. I understand the fear of the unknown but this is a metal that''s been around for decades (and is currently making a STRONG showing in China, the largest market in the world for platinum). I''m still young, and that extra money is going towards paying back loans, paying for a wedding, and saving for a home. To me, platinum seems to be all hype...the platinum guild has done a good job of promoting.

Audrey
 

laine

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I''m very interested to see how your rings turn out!

Scarlet, I agree, I don''t want to pay extra for the platinum "name." I want a ring that is very durable, and won''t need any sort of upkeep like rhodium plating. If I could get that out of nickel (as someone mentioned), or steel, or any other metal for cheap, I''ll take it! I don''t think this means I''m compromising the quality of my (future) ring in any way. In fact, I''m primarily interested in the quality of the metal, in terms of its durability, just not in terms of scarcity or cost.

Then again, when I get old, I see myself living driving an old Volvo and not a Mercedes (no offense to anyone who is driving the Mercedes
1.gif
), so maybe there''s something about platinum that I just don''t get.
 

scarlet16

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SJS & Laine (and anyone else interested):

I just posted some preliminary pictures of my ring in SMTR!!! IT''S AMAZING!!!!! I''m not sure how to link to that thread but it''s called "I think I''m in love."

SJS, after seeing mine & having it for a few days, I KNOW yours will turn out amazing. I can''t tell the difference from the platinum at all.
 

oldminer

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Palladium is a bit darker gray than platinum. Over time, it will be a darker peice of jewelry unless it is freshly polished or feshly rhodium plated.

Palladium clouds up when heated witha jewelry torch while platinum stays bright when heated. This means that when you make complex, hand made items, a platinum item stays bright and crisp even after dozens of assembly welds / solders, but palladium requires multiple polishing steps to keep shiny as a finished product. This sort of micro-polishing is tedious and time consuming and a main reason fine jewelers did not continue to use palladium much after WWII. It isn''t a bad metal for jewelry, but it was more costly than gold, and more problematic than platinum back then. Also, people love the wieght of platinum. It feels "rich". Palladium has the white gold weight feel which is less impressive.

Now, the cost is very inviting and the manufacturing process, especially casting, has vastly advanced. Palladium may have some distinct advantages that it did not have before.

Just like we see people opting for tungsten or titanium, I suppose we''ll see some designers and lines in palladium. It can readily be sized properly with palladium. One can alternatively size it with white gold or platinum, but a seam will be much more evident. Palladium can be welded, just like platinum, for seamless sizing jobs so long as one has the correct metal bits to work with.
 
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