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Recently I receive an email from Carmen from USA with a question and instead of just answer it to a person, I decided to write an open letter. Because lately very often people asking about Palladium.
Here is the question:
"what do you think about palladium? It seems very difficult to size. Does it depend on what is mixed with the palladium that makes it so brittle?
There is a two types of Goldsmiths or a Jewellers.
First: A Master Goldsmith who design and make quality jewellery that last for generations.
Second: A jeweller/goldsmith whose first priority - money.
Beside this two people, there is a companies whose first priority – profit and they used all the resources to achieve they goals.
Over the centuries jewellery was made from different types of materials: gold, silver, platinum, palladium, nickel, coper, brass, lead, tin, aluminium, iron, titanium, wood, ivory, glass, plastic and maybe something else that I forgot to mentioned.
There is a few reasons why people or companies make costume jewellery, a "Bijouterie".
In film industry is not possible to use jewellery that cost thousands or even hundred thousand of dollars. That's why they use fake jewellery, a costume jewellery.
In fashion industry as well, when hundreds of girls walking on the runway all dressed up and wearing fashion jewellery, a bijouterie.
The fashion come and go, so is the economy. As we all know that price on gold so high and because of that less and less people can afford jewellery made of gold. This is why companies looking for alternative cost effective materials such as Palladium.
Palladium – a Platinum group of metals, in pure form soft-elastic, silver white in colour, melting point- 1554°C , density- 11.4, hardness on Mohs scale 4.5-5. In jewellery industry used as a alloy to make white gold. When it melts metal absorb hydrogen and become brittle. When Palladium get heat it up to a temperature of 860°C it gets oxidised.
Jewellery made from Palladium is relatively new and I do not know yet what alloy is used.
Besides all my knowledge that I have generated over the years I must admit, that I don't know everything and the simple reason for that is: Jewellery manufacturers in this tough economy looking for new cost effective ways generate an income by using alternative materials and new technology. They make jewellery from stainless steel, titanium, palladium and used plating equipment to give a better look to they jewellery. Such as Rhodium, Platinum and Nickel plating.
This is my personal opinion and I am not planing to argue or dispute with anybody.
I do not appreciate what they are doing for a simple reason. They just make jewellery and sell for a profit. They don't deal with customers afterwords. When this jewellery end up on goldsmith bench for alterations, repair or resizing, he/she – "the goldsmith", have to deal with all this problems. In some cases plating on silver jewellery makes bubbles, machine setted stones falling out like a rain, poor quality casting makes metal brittle and excuse my French, goldsmith swearing like a dog while deal with this problems.
I have a customers who bring antique or just very old jewellery for alterations and I've been surprised many times, how good quality jewellery can go a long way for generations and be in good condition. This is what jewellery is all about in my opinion. When you make them, you want them to live forever!
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