Information Centre

The History of Palladium
Consumer and trade demand for palladium has been on the increase, especially following the record prices of gold and platinum in first half of 2008. Palladium is one of the platinum-group metals. It is tarnish-resistant, white and durable, and due to its low density, designers can produce stunning pieces that are lighter and more affordable than platinum. As palladium is a pure metal it removes the need for the‘re-whitening’ procedure that white gold items often have to undergo throughout their lifetime.

Palladium wedding bands and palladium diamond engagement rings are the perfect choice for those with sensitivity to nickel because they are nickel free and hypoallergenic - unlike white gold wedding bands. Palladium is an extremely rare metal, much more so than gold. It is one of the whitest of all metals and consequently yields wedding bands of extraordinary and uncommon beauty. Plus, palladium wedding bands are incredibly durable and virtually tarnish proof.

Palladium hallmarking was introduced on a voluntary basis from 22nd July 2009. The 4 UK hallmarking offices will be able to apply the new legally recognised Palladium Hallmark on articles from this date. Hallmarking of Palladium has since been made compulsory from the 1st January 2010. Michael Allchin, chief executive of The Birmingham Assay Office, said, “Palladium provides a new opportunity for the jewellery trade. Designs which may have been impossibly heavy or expensive in platinum can be very attractive and commercially viable in palladium. There are already some stunning palladium pieces on the market; the reassurance of a U.K. hallmark will give the consumer added protection and confidence when purchasing palladium jewellery, and we expect this to be a significant growth area for the jewellery industry.”

White gold Information
For many years White Gold has been used as an alternative to Platinum. White gold starts its life as Yellow Gold which then has white alloys such as Palladium added to it to make the metal whiter. White Gold is then finished by a procedure known as Rhodium plating which gives white gold its extra white look. Out of all the precious metals gold is the easiest to work with, it is malleable and can be shaped into almost any design you desire. A note to bear in mind with white gold is the need for the rhodium plating procedure to be repeated as over time this plating will start to wear causing a slightly yellow appearance. This yellowy appearance is completely normal for white gold as it is the natural yellow metal starting to show through beneath the rhodium plate. This has no negative effect on the metal, equally neither does the re-plating procedure. This procedure is a quick and easy procedure which we have provided several times for customers over the years through our Jewellery Repairs Centre. At the Wedding Ring Shop we create many of our bespoke diamond engagement and wedding bands in white gold and our sophisticated casting procedure involves a higher white metal content been added to the yellow gold to eradicate the need for rhodium plating. This white metal formation is one not regularly used by many retailers which is why we are more than happy to suggest white metal alongside the other precious metals such at Platinum and Palladium.

The 4C’s
The quality of a diamond is defined by means of the four C’s: Carat, Clarity, Colour and Cut. These characteristics do not only determine the stone’s quality, they can also be very useful in identifying the diamond, since every diamond is unique.

Carat
Carat refers to the weight of a diamond. One carat equals 0.2 grams. A carat is further subdivided in 100 points. A stone of e.g. 1.50 carat thus means it is 1 carat and 50 points.

Clarity
The clarity or purity of a diamond is determined by the number, size, brightness and location of the internal and external characteristics, important structure phenomena and transparency. Generally speaking, mainly the inclusions in the stone affect the clarity. Obviously, the fewer inclusions or structure phenomena the stone displays, the higher the quality of the diamond.

Colour
Over 90% of all gem diamonds have a basically yellowish colour. The intensity can vary from nearly colourless, which is preferable, to decidedly yellow. The value of a white stone is higher than that of a yellowish stone. However, diamonds can also have a distinct orange, brown, pink, green or blue colour. These colour diamonds can be extremely valuable.

Cut
The proportions and finish grade of a diamond establish the quality of the cut. A good finish grade testifies to the workmanship of the diamond polisher. It refers to the symmetry of the facets and their overall finish. The best cut diamonds also have the right proportions between the different parts of the diamond. If these proportions are not optimal, the fire and brilliancy of the diamond are affected, and undesirable visual effects might occur.

Apart from the most popular ‘round brilliant’ cut, there are a range of other frequently used cuts, Princess cut, Emerald Cut, Marquise, Oval to mention a few.
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