Palladium vs. Platinum: 2021 Comparison
It’s a new decade, and with it, are you making some major jewelry decisions? Maybe you have a wedding or engagement coming up, you’re looking for an anniversary jewelry gift or perhaps you are just looking to expand your jewelry collection. Perhaps you have a ring that you are looking to upgrade? No matter your situation, if you are a fan of white metals, and don’t want to deal with the upkeep associated with white gold, you likely are deciding between these two metals: palladium vs platinum.
These two are both excellent options when it comes to white metals. Both are high quality, durable, and gorgeous looking – both will give you that white metal shine you are likely looking for.
However, despite their similarities, there are also several main differences. These differences are what will likely help you decide what the right metal choice is for you.
From appearance, to price, to maintenance, and more here is your ultimate 2020 comparison between palladium and platinum. We’re covering everything you need to know to make the decision that is right for you!
What is Palladium?
First up – let’s talk about palladium metal! If you haven’t done a ton of jewelry research, you might not have even heard of palladium. Even if you have done some research, you might not have come across it before – but don’t let that hinder your decision.
Palladium is a precious white metal that falls into the same grouping as platinum – it is also classified as a platinum metal (there are 6 total metals that fall into this group – platinum, palladium, and 4 others). You likely haven’t heard about palladium much when doing jewelry research because it is often times used in other industries – most notably in the car industry.
Recently, palladium metal has started to be used in jewelry. Because it is a naturally white, silvery metal, it is a great option for anyone who wants a white metal without having to worry about the color fading (like you do with white gold, which is just yellow gold-dipped in a coating to make it appear white).
Palladium won’t fade over time in terms of its color, but instead, what it will do is develop what is called a patina – a more faded or matte appearance that comes with time. Many people like the look of patina, especially those who like vintage-looking jewelry, but if you don’t, this is something to consider.
The good news about patina is that it is not permanent – if you do not like the more faded or frosted appearance of palladium, you can get it shined up and returned to its original, shiny appearance.
Palladium does scratch fairly quickly, but since it’s not a metal that has to be dipped, the good thing is that scratching does not remove any metal, it simply moves the metal around. Palladium won’t wear down over time, making it a great option for something like an engagement ring that will be worn every day.
In terms of the feel of palladium, it has a similar weight to that of gold – it doesn’t feel too light or too heavy. If you don’t like the heavy feel of a ring on your finger, palladium would be a good option for you.
Price of Palladium
If we’ve gotten your hopes up about palladium, we’ve got a bit of bad news for you. Palladium used to be considered an awesome, affordable option when looking for a premium white metal. However, very recently, the prices of palladium have increased a lot.
This is mostly due to a shortage in supply and an increased demand, as more and more people become aware of the precious metal.
While palladium used to cost much less than platinum, it now actually costs more. Keep in mind that market changes happen frequently, so there is always the chance that the price will change and maybe go back down to be less than platinum.
What is Platinum?
We are sure you have heard of platinum before, as it has been a popular metal choice in the jewelry world for quite some time.
Platinum is a precious metal that has a silvery appearance to it. It is very durable and heavy and an excellent option for an engagement ring or other jewelry that is worn all the time.
Platinum is a harder metal than other common metals used in rings like gold or 925 sterling silver, making it a great, durable option to consider. Like palladium, because it naturally has a white appearance, it does not have to be dipped in anything to provide its color.
Platinum will not change color, but will simply develop a nice patina finish to it. It will scratch fairly easily, but the scratches just move the metal around, it doesn’t remove it. If you do not like the patina appearance of platinum, you can always have it polished to bring back its shine.
If you have a vintage piece of jewelry, you will probably love the patina appearance. However, if you have a more modern style, you likely will want the ring to be polished to keep it looking modern and shiny.
In terms of feel, platinum feels very heavy. It is much heavier of a metal compared to all other typical metals used in jewelry. While you might not easily tell the difference in appearance between various white metals, you can tell which metal is platinum by picking it up.
People tend to either love or hate the heavy feeling associated with platinum – it is definitely something to consider and test out before purchasing.
Finally, platinum is also an excellent metal option for anyone who has sensitive skin. Platinum is considered hypoallergenic because it is typically not alloyed with other metals, or if it is, it is a small percentage of other metals (typically 5% or less).
Metals like nickel are used in alloys that can cause green skin or another type of skin reaction in some people. You don’t have to worry about that when you are dealing with platinum.
Price of Platinum
Platinum is a more expensive metal than others like gold or sterling silver. However, seeing that it will not decrease in weight over time and does not need to be re-dipped, it is seen by many as a solid investment. At this moment, it is also a ‘cheaper’ alternative to palladium, although we would not consider it a cheap or affordable metal.
You may consider going with a smaller gemstone to justify the cost of the premium metal. Or, alternatively, if you prefer a larger gem, going with a more cost-effective metal like white gold will save you money.
There is far less maintenance associated with platinum, especially if you like the patina appearance it develops.
Major Similarities and Differences: Palladium vs Platinum
As you have likely noticed, there are a lot of similarities between palladium and platinum. After all, they are both in the platinum metal family!
However, despite their many similarities, there are several differences. Here’s a quick breakdown of both their differences, as well as their similarities, that will help guide you towards the right decision:
✓ Weight/Feel: This is one of the most important distinctions between the two metals. Platinum is much heavier than palladium.
✓ Sizing potential: If you need to get a palladium ring resized, you might have more trouble doing so because palladium isn’t as common as platinum. It may also cost more since the metal is rarer.
✓ Cost: Currently, palladium costs much more than platinum. Previously, platinum was far more expensive. Keep an eye on pricing, but as of writing this article, palladium is the more expensive metal.
✓ Rarity: Palladium is much more rare, especially when it comes to jewelry. While some might see this as a positive if you want something unique, for many, this is a negative for palladium since it is more expensive currently. You likely will also have some trouble finding a jeweler that creates jewelry from palladium.
✓ Appearance: It can be hard to tell the difference in appearance between the two metals. Even seeing a palladium ring next to a platinum ring you may not be able to tell the difference. Typically, palladium is slightly darker than platinum, but it is very hard to tell the difference.
✓ Maintenance: Both metals keep their color and the metal will not scratch off, but simply moves around. They will both develop a patina over time, which you can either keep or have polished if you want to return the ring to its shiny appearance.
✓ Durability: Both metals are incredibly durable, more so than other metals like gold or sterling silver. Palladium is technically slightly harder than platinum, but they are essentially the same.
✓ Hypoallergenic: Both metals are pure and are not alloyed with other metals, or if they are, it is a small percentage. They are both great options for anyone with sensitive skin.
Wedding Band Comparison: Which is Better?
Now that you know what palladium is, what platinum is, and the major similarities and differences between the two, how do you make the right choice? This is especially important when shopping for a wedding band or engagement ring, as they will be worn every single day.
The reality is, it really comes down to cost and feel. If you really do not want a heavy feeling ring, you shouldn’t go with platinum.
Depending on your budget, palladium may be a good option for you, or if you need something more affordable, consider going with white gold. If you like your jewelry to have some heaviness to it, go with platinum!
When it comes time to shop, check the pricing of both metals. Right now, we would recommend going with platinum over palladium because of the current high price of palladium. The appearance, durability, and maintenance are nearly identical between the two. If the price goes back down for palladium, it is a great option to consider.
No matter which metal you pick, you can rest assured that you are getting a premium metal that is very durable and will last you forever.
If you are looking for a white metal that is incredibly durable, you have two great options in platinum and palladium. Despite their numerous similarities, their differences are important to keep in mind when making the right decision. Now that you have all of the up to date information, you can feel confident making the decision that is right for you.
Weigh in for us (pun intended): Do you like the heavy feel of platinum, or do you prefer not to feel your jewelry once it is on? Let us know!