What is Palladium?
Palladium is a lustrous, silvery white metal, popular for jewellery amongst other uses. Palladium is classed as a platinum metal, existing in group 10 of the periodic table. It has the lowest density of this metal group, with the lowest melting point. It’s atomic number is 46.
When was Palladium Discovered?
Palladium was discovered within platinum ore, by William Hyde Wollaston and Smithson Tennant, in London during 1802. When platinum ore was dissolved within a strong mix of acids (called aqua regia) a black residue was produced. This residue revealed a number of separate elements including iridium, osmium, palladium and rhodium.
The name palladium was chosen in honour of the asteroid Pallas, discovered around the same time as the element.
Use in Industry
Palladium is used within the production of catalytic converters, controlling emissions by helping to convert toxic chemicals into less harmful substances. Palladium is especially useful at converting partially burned hydrocarbons from fuel. Palladium is also used for capacitors in computers, mobile phones and televisions.
Palladium has certain unique abilities. It can store hydrogen gas – upto 900 times its volume without any external pressure. Hydrogen atoms diffuse straight through palladium atoms. Palladium is therefore very useful for hydrogen storage and purification, discouraged only by the cost of this metal.
Palladium in Jewellery
Palladium’s popularity for jewellery increased following the hallmark introduction in 2010. We now have 950 palladium (95% pure) and 500 palladium (50% palladium 50% silver) in jewellery production in the UK. Palladium is also used to alloy with gold, to whiten the metal alongside other alloys.
Read our additional information on Palladium engagement rings, located in our education section of the website.