Types of Palladium?

by Mrs. Sally

I work in a jewellery shop and started selling palladium wedding bands. I'm getting quite experienced in them! The only question there is that a customer came in today and asked, and was quite blunt about the question she was asking! Please could you give me some information? She kept asking me what type of palladium the wedding bands were made with. She says there's two types of palladium, is that true and what are they?

I told her we do platinum and palladium and they are from the same metal family, but she kept saying no, that there is two types of palladium! Could you please give me your view and information as soon as possible, I felt like I was being tested. Thank-you for your time.

Hi Sally,

Palladium is a chemical element, just like gold, platinum or even oxygen! If you look on the periodic table, palladium is listed with the abbreviation Pd and is the 46th element.
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It is true that palladium is a member of the platinum precious group of metals - which includes platinum, palladium, iridium, ruthenium and a few other elements.

Regarding pure palladium, there is only one type of palladium - just like there is only one type of platinum, one type of oxygen and one type of nitrogen. Now, without getting too technical, there are different palladium isotopes - which are some forms of palladium with a different number of neutrons in the atomical structure - but for the purposes of jewellery, there is definitely only one type of palladium metal.

That being said, there are different alloys of palladium used to create wedding bands - and other pieces of palladium jewellery - and I think that this may be what your customer was inquiring about.

An alloy is a combination of different metals - just like 10k and 14k gold are different types of gold alloys.

Most metals in their pure state are either too hard or too soft to work with or cannot hold up to regular jewellery wear - and this is why most metals are alloyed, or mixed, with other metals to form a workable alloy that can be used to craft strong and durable pieces of jewellery.

You can see more about palladium alloys - also known as palladium grades - used to create wedding bands on our Palladium Wedding Rings page.

But to sum up, the most common type of palladium alloy used to make wedding rings is PD950 - which is composed of 95% palladium by weight plus 5% of another metal like ruthenium or copper.

So, when your customer was inquiring about the type of palladium the rings were made with I suspect that she was referring to the type of alloy. But there are definitely more than 2 types of palladium alloys - although by far the PD950 is the most popular because it is easier to work with and quite durable. And technically PD950/ruthenium and PD950/copper are the two most popular types of PD950, so perhaps she was referring to these two types as well.

Some types of casting metals - like Palladium Sterling, 14k Palladium and 18k Palladium - are actually not palladium alloys but silver and gold alloys that contain small amounts of palladium in them. (For example, 18k Palladium contains 75% gold by weight alloyed with 25% palladium by weight).

If you are unsure of the specific type of palladium alloy used to craft the rings which are sold in your jewellery store, just ring the manufacturer to find out the exact metal contents of the alloy.

I hope this info helps - but do write back if you have any additional questions!

Suzanne Gardner
Everything Wedding Rings

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