Palladium vs. white gold

Palladium or White Gold for Puzzle Ring Bridal Sets? 
This is counterintuitive, but the white precious metal you get your puzzle engagement ring in NOW will depend upon the type of wedding band you ultimately wish to place with the ring LATER.

Okay, I know, you’re not even engaged yet, so how do you know what kind of wedding band the two of you will ultimately want? Relax, this isn’t about choosing a style, it’s about choosing a kind of band.

Even though it may be a tad early in your decision making process, this is important enough that I need you to give this some thought!

Here are different types of wedding bands and the metal choices you have for the puzzle ring, so the two rings will match in color.

Further down on this page, you can read about WHY we don’t recommend 14K white gold for all puzzle ring bridal sets.

 

Celtic wedding bands Celtic wedding band in any style Palladium or platinum
Traditional poesy rings Traditional poesy wedding ring in any style 14K white gold or platinum
Custom poesy rings Custom poesy ring in any style Palladium or platinum
Shadow bands Single or dual shadow bands, with or without embellishment Palladium or platinum
Plain wedding band Plain wedding band, whether domed (shown) or flat Palladium or platinum
  Any style of wedding band from any other jeweler Palladium or platinum
     
Recommended White Metals
14K White Gold
recommended for
Palladium
recommended for
Platinum
recommended for
Traditional
poesy rings
Custom poesy rings
Celtic bands
Custom shadow bands
Plain bands
Wedding rings from
any other source
All rings from any source
Guinevere puzzle ring in 14K white gold with 0.48CT diamond One-third carat sapphire puzzle engagement ring with sapphire accents and Celtic eternal knot band wedding band in palladium Just over 3/4CT princess-cut diamond engagement ring in platinum
Guinevere royale puzzle ring in 14K white gold with yovrs onli traditional poesy ring Palladium bridal set with 0.57CT tanzanite and custom contoured companion band Guinevere six-band puzzle engagement ring with Mozambique garnet and Latin I am my Beloved's poesy ring in platinum
Sapphire marquise puzzle engagement ring with Latin I am my Beloved's and my Beloved is mine traditional poesy ring in 14K white gold Aquamarine custom bridal set with aquamarine and custom poesy contoured band in palladium Marquise diamond puzzle ring with 0.60CT diamond in platinum
Black diamond puzzle engagement ring in 14K white gold 0.48CT princess-cut blue diamond Guinevere puzzle ring with Irish Claddagh band all in palladium Guinevere diamond puzzle ring with 1/3CT round diamond and semper amemus 'our love is forever' traditional poesy ring all in platinum
 
Why Not 14K White Gold for Every White Metal Bridal Set?
Those Bright White Gold Engagement Rings in Jewelry Stores . . .
are that color because white gold rings are all plated with rhodium, a platinum-family metal that is used “jewelry industry-wide” to bring conformity to a metal that is not, well, naturally white.*

But rhodium tends to wear off with wear,
so most local jewelry stores have a bread-and-butter business of replating white gold rings. A typical single 4mm wide plain ring costs $65.00 to $85.00 to clean, polish and replate, and jewelers tell us that folks have their white gold rings replated from one to three times per year. Of course, you can skip having your white gold ring refinished with rhodium – it just means that your ring will wind up an off-white color which could range from a yellowish cream color to a more rosy off-white.Puzzle Rings are not rhodium plated . . .
because they are made to come apart and go back together, thus undergoing an additional source of wear, so if they were rhodium-plated, the plating would wear off in record time.
So a white gold puzzle ring and a white gold wedding band will not usually match in color.

If you want to pair a white gold puzzle ring with a white gold wedding band, the colors will be slightly off. The band will be a brighter white, the puzzle ring will be off-white. There is only one line of wedding rings we know of that match the puzzle rings in 14K white gold: traditional poesy rings.If you would like to order
a) A Celtic wedding band
b) A Crystal Realm custom wedding band, including a contoured-companion band . . .
c) A wedding ring somewhere else
then you are better off ordering the puzzle ring in palladium or platinum, because palladium and platinum rings always match each other in color.

So what is exactly is Palladium?
Palladium is a naturally white, platinum-family metal that has all the wonderful qualities of platinum without the hefty price tag. It is used 95% pure, as platinum is, which is why it has a uniform color from piece to piece. Because it does not have to be mixed with nickel to make it white, it is completely non-allergenic. It also has a quality known as “work hardening with wear,” which means it becomes more durable over time the longer you wear it. If you’ve ever seen your grandmother’s or great-grandmother’s gold jewelry, you’ve seen that there is not much left after 40-50 years of wear. The same is not true of platinum or palladium, as they do not wear away as gold does.

A green choice
Palladium has been used for jewelry since 1939, but it has only become more widely accessible since about 2004; since then, it has become the metal of choice for many progressive jewelry designers. Though palladium is found on five continents, the vast majority of palladium used in North America is from the Stillwater Mining Company in Montana which has won awards for its environmentally conscious mining and business practices.

What’s the difference between Palladium and Platinum?
The main difference between palladium and platinum is the weight. While a palladium ring will weigh about 96% to 98% of the weight of the same ring in 14K white gold, the same ring in platinum will weigh about 55% to 60% more than the white gold one. If you like the feeling of a very heavy, substantial ring on your hand, platinum is probably for you. If you like a lighter weight ring or don’t care about the weight, then palladium is a better choice.

And what about the forums online where jewelers complain about Palladium?
I like to stay up on what folks are saying about palladium online, and I continue to see forums where either jewelers weigh in to say they don’t like palladium, or their customers report that their jeweler doesn’t like palladium. Where is this coming from?

1. Fact: According to the Palladium Alliance International, the main industry group for the use of palladium in jewelry, palladium has been used since 1939 in jewelry, but it never had an industry group, so it did not enjoy wide acceptance. Then in about 2004, there was a big push to encourage jewelers to use palladium. Unfortunately, there was a large, badly alloyed batch that was put on the market, and many jewelers tried it and had a bad experience. They have never tried it again. Meantime, the alloy problem was resolved, and those jewelers who have gone on to use it have experienced great success. Low demand for palladium keeps the price low, so far, anyway!

2. Fact: Some people say it is hard to work with, but here is the truth about it. Both palladium and platinum are a dream to work with for folks who hand-fabricate jewelry, such as our hand-woven puzzle rings. It is relatively soft and malleable to work with, but it has that wonderful quality of work-hardening with wear, which means that for the buyer, it only becomes more durable with wear. (And trust me when I say relatively soft and malleable. If you or I hold a white gold ring and a palladium ring in our hands, right after they have been made, we will not be able to tell the difference in the hardness. This is an issue only relevant to the people making the jewelry pieces. But over the years, palladium and platinum jewelry do not wear away the way gold jewelry does.) The truth is that it is more difficult to cast both platinum and palladium, but there are jewelers (such as Crystal Realm’s custom jeweler who makes our custom-fit, contour bands) that specialize in casting platinum and palladium with great success, so the difficulty in casting palladium and platinum are of no concern to you, the buyer. You only have to enjoy the finished product.

3. Speculation: I can’t say this for sure, but it stands to reason that some jewelers who have always worked with platinum and are used to the high prices it commands may not like a similar metal that is much more reasonably priced for their clients. Could it be that these jewelers “trash talk” palladium?

* Why is white gold not naturally white?

All gold starts out as yellow gold: 24K yellow gold, to be precise. When gold is alloyed to make it stronger, a mixture of various metals are added to the gold. Depending upon how much alloy is added, you wind up with a lower karat weight of gold.

14K gold is 58.5% gold, 41.5% other metals
18K gold is 75% gold, 25% other metals.

These alloys make the product stronger, so 14K gold is much stronger than 24K, and it is even stronger than 18K. (We only make puzzle rings in 14K gold, for its strength.)

When you want to make 14K white gold, the alloyed metals need to not only make the gold stronger, but they need to reduce the color from yellow to white. It is not possible to make 14K gold with any alloys that will make the resulting product a pure, bright white.

Another little known fact is that each manufacturer of gold has its own formula for metal alloys, so the 14K white gold from one manufacturer will have a slightly different hue from that of another.

To make all white golds a uniform bright white gold, the platinum-famly metal, rhodium, is used to plate them.

Once again, we do not plate white gold puzzle rings, so we recommend that, if you want a white metal puzzle ring or bridal set (other than a traditional poesy set), you order palladium or platinum.

If you are certain she will only wear the puzzle ring and not pair it with a band, then, of course, 14K white gold is perfectly appropriate.

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