Comparing Platinum, Palladium and Gold for Jewelry

When you are buying jewelry there are many things to be considered. One of the first things most buyers do when considering a purchase is the type of precious metal that they would like to have for it. The decision you make will determine important things like color, hardness, resistance to corrosion or wear, value and much more. Below is a list of the most popular precious metals and the various characteristics of each.

For thousands of years gold has been the go to most popular precious metal to use in jewelry. The reason for this is because gold has multiple benefits. First it is soft and therefore easy to manipulate and work with. Second it does not tarnish, though, lower karat weights (below 10k) may have some reactive effect depending on the base metals used. Third, it is a beautiful metal that has a nice shine to it as it has a decent reflective surface. Lastly, for those who might have a sensitivity to certain metals like nickel, gold (14k plus) is usually a very safe metal to use and will not turn your finger green or cause allergic reactions.

24k gold is pure and very soft. Because of how soft it is, it is commonly blended with other base metals to strengthen it. The amount of base metals used determines the karat weight which is commonly, 18k (75% gold), 14k (58.33% gold) or 10k (41.67% gold). Although some jewelry may come in other higher or lower karat weight like 22k and 20k or 9k and 12k, it is not very common. Gold can also come in several colors such as yellow (natural), white or rose colored depending on how much and which base metals are used. Though other colors like blue or green gold are available they are not common.

This white metal is one of the rarest precious metals on earth that is used in the jewelry industry. While more expensive, platinum is a strong, attractive looking, corrosion resistant and non-allergic metal. Generally platinum is offered in a 95% pure form (.950) for jewelry but also can be available in a 90% pure form (.900) which can help lower costs. One of the popular features of platinum is the silky shine that it has which tends to last longer than other metals. While almost all metals will lose their luster and shine over time, usually due to build up of grime and wear, platinum easily stays shiny for a long time. 

A key feature that makes platinum poplar is it is a harder metal then gold and therefore more scratch and wear resistant. This means less maintenance. Since it is the most expensive metal used and commonly has a higher purity than gold, this makes it a great investment. 

As a precious metal, palladium is growing in popularity and newest on the seen as a metal used in jewelry. Part of the platinum family of metals it is slightly harder than platinum and has good scratch and wear resistance. It is important to note, however, that hardness will depend on base metals used, though typically it will make it harder. One of the most popular aspects of palladium is that its naturally white color will not fade and will stay white forever. It is often used to make white gold because of its white color. While palladium is a white metal, it does have a slightly grayish look compared to platinum or white gold.

Since palladium is about 45% less expensive than platinum and typically comparable price wise to 14k gold, it is a much more economical choice than platinum. Palladium is also much lighter than platinum which makes it much nicer to wear in certain types of jewelry such as earrings or pendants. It is a misnomer to say that palladium is half the cost of gold. While technically it is a true statement, palladium is usually offered in 95% purity while 14k gold is only 58.33% pure. This means that the price would be relatively the same with palladium being slightly higher than 14k gold.

Ultimately, when deciding on which metal to use for your jewelry, the main points to consider are color, durability and price. You will have to decide which are the most important to you.