Palladium is the latest precious metal trend in jewelry, finally getting the glory it first earned in the 1940s when palladium wedding bands enjoyed a miniature boom due to the scarcity of other metals and ready-to-wear rings were not as common as they are today. Palladium first became a popular jeweler’s metal when it came into use as an alternative to nickel alloy binders in gold and white gold jewelry. Designers quickly realized that the properties which made palladium so ideal as an alloy binder—palladium is extremely sturdy and durable; it is hypoallergenic, which other binders like cobalt and some grades of nickel are not; it retains its shine forever and does not require regular cleaning or polishing; it has a natural color and durability similar to platinum and is one of the noble metals but more affordable; and it allows for tension setting in metals that are generally too malleable—were also highly desirable to jewelry in general, and these days palladium just as often stands alone as a high-quality, reasonably priced option for men in need of strong, low-maintenance rings. Palladium is slightly harder than platinum and the two are very chemically similar. The first deposits of palladium discovered were actually found bonded inside platinum ores. It gets its name from the Pallas asteroid, which was itself named after the Greek goddess Pallas Athena. Because palladium is so often used in alloys for white gold jewelry, it can also look very much like white gold and is priced about the same. Palladium wedding rings are also great for men who wear larger ring sizes, because it is so lightweight that it’s used in aircraft and space flight, so the added weight involved in making a bigger ring is negligible.
Palladium will not irritate skin because it resists corrosion and does not react with the body’s natural oils and acids, unlike cobalt and nickel which cause allergic reaction and skin discoloration in an estimated 10 percent of wearers. Cobalt also tends to leech oils upon contact and retain them permanently, which destroys the original patina of the jewelry. For these reasons, all of the jewelry for sale at Mens Wedding Rings and Bands is made with alloys that are 100% cobalt free. Palladium jewelry’s greatest appeal lies in its ability to fill the three seemingly incompatible niches of affordability, endurance, and luxury.