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Platinum vs palladium

Platinum and palladium wedding rings

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Jewellers started working with platinum in the 1870s, initially by fusing platinum foil to gold. However, it was not until the advent of the oxyacetylene torch at the end of the nineteenth century that jewellers were able to start making jewellery from solid platinum. After that, platinum quickly became the precious metal of choice for fine jewellery throughout the Edwardian period and has held on to its reputation as the most exclusive of precious metals ever since. Aside from being sought after for its natural white colour, it is more durable than gold and ages very well, making it an excellent choice for an engagement ring or wedding band.

Platinum and palladium are similar in appearance, and both are hardwearing white precious metals. Still, platinum is our preferred choice as its greater weight gives it a more luxurious feel, and it is also a much better metal to work with. In particular, palladium rings are very difficult to resize if needed, with the metal having a tendency to crack. Moreover, while palladium was once viewed as a lower-cost alternative to platinum, palladium prices have recently increased dramatically, such that it is now more expensive than platinum.

Jewellery always makes for an exciting and special purchase; however, it can be challenging to know which precious metal to choose from, given the various options available.

Platinum and palladium are two options popular with those looking for a white precious metal because they are much more durable than silver, making them an excellent choice for jewellery that will experience a lot of wear and tear, such as engagement rings and wedding rings for example.

While platinum and palladium are very similar in appearance, there are important differences between them. In this article, we'll compare their appearance, weight, comfort, durability and price to help you decide the best option for you.

What is platinum?

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Platinum Engagement Ring

Naturally white with a beautiful sheen, it's no wonder that platinum engagement rings and platinum wedding rings have been an extremely popular choice for over one hundred years. It's an incredibly durable metal, which can quickly be restored through polishing to remove any scuffs or scratches it picks up over time through wear and tear. 

Platinum is a very heavy metal (about 50% more dense than gold), giving platinum jewellery a luxurious weightiness. And being stronger (less malleable) than gold, platinum is the ideal choice for intricate and delicate jewellery designs. This is ideal for engagement rings, allowing settings to be more secure than they might otherwise be in gold, for example.

Pros and cons of platinum

Naturally a bright white metal (unlike white gold, it does not need rhodium plating)Usually more expensive than gold
Compliments all gemstone colours and skin tonesScratches more easily than palladium, forming a patina of tiny scuffs over time, creating a dull grey appearance (though quickly restored by polishing)
Hardwearing and durable
Polishes well - easy to restore to original shine
Does not wear away with polishing (unlike gold)
Luxurious feel due to "weightiness"
Its strength makes it ideal for fine details and strong settings
Hypoallergenic (great choice for people with sensitive skin)
Does not tarnish (unlike silver)

What is palladium?

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One of the rarest metals in the world, palladium belongs to the same group of metals as platinum. However, unlike platinum which has been used in jewellery for over a hundred years, palladium has only been hallmarked in the UK since 2010. In fact, palladium is probably better known for its use in catalytic converters than it is for jewellery!

However, palladium, as a naturally white metal, rose in popularity during the last decade as a lower-cost alternative to platinum. Though this has changed in recent times, and palladium is now more expensive than platinum!

Pros and cons of palladium

Naturally a bright white metal (unlike white gold, it does not need rhodium plating)More expensive than platinum (at present)
Compliments all gemstone colours and skin tonesLacks the prestige of platinum
Hardwearing and durableLess luxurious feel than platinum due to being less dense)
Polishes well - easy to restore to original shineChallenging to work with, making it more difficult and expensive to resize rings, for example
Does not wear away with polishing (unlike gold)Forms a patina of tiny scuffs over time, creating a dull grey appearance (though quickly restored by polishing)
Its strength makes it ideal for fine details and strong settings
Hypoallergenic (great choice for people with sensitive skin)
Does not tarnish (unlike silver)
Scratches less easily than platinum (but does still form a dark grey patina over time)

Platinum vs palladium: the differences

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Platinum Wedding Bands

While platinum and palladium look similar, they have some important differences. We'll explore each metal's appearance, weight, comfort, durability and price in detail so you can decide which of these two precious metals is best for you.


Both platinum and palladium are naturally white and, side by side, look almost identical. While platinum is a tiny fraction whiter than palladium, the difference is extremely subtle.


Platinum is the heavier of the two metals. In fact, there's a significant difference in weight between the two, with platinum being roughly twice as dense as platinum. This means that a platinum ring weighs about twice as much as a palladium ring of the same size.

While it comes down to personal preference, most people prefer the weightiness of a platinum ring over palladium.


Both platinum and palladium are hypoallergenic, making them an excellent choice for those with sensitive skin or those with allergies to metals. Unlike some white gold jewellery, which may contain nickel (though not at Ingle & Rhode) which can trigger skin reactions in some people, neither platinum nor palladium is alloyed with nickel.


The fact that platinum and palladium are both hardwearing makes them an excellent practical choice for engagement rings and wedding rings. They are both less malleable (stronger) than gold, making them well-suited for making delicate structures in jewellery or stronger settings, for example.

Wear and Tear

While both metals are hardwearing, they'll inevitably get scuffed and scratched over time, especially if worn daily.

Some people prefer their wedding rings to look "worn in", and if you choose not to polish your platinum or palladium jewellery over time, it will develop what is called a patina. This dull grey finish is created by the many tiny scuffs accumulating on the surface of the metal over time. But fear not; if you don't like the appearance of the patina, it is easily removed through polishing – and without the loss of any metal.


Both metals usually are higher in price than the main alternative "silver coloured" precious metals: white gold and silver.

Traditionally, platinum has always been the most expensive of precious metals. However, palladium prices have increased dramatically in recent years, such that palladium is currently more expensive than platinum at the time of writing this article. This price increase of palladium has been driven by growing demand from industry rather than for jewellery and undermines the main reason that some people previously chose palladium over platinum. 

Why choose platinum over palladium?

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Platinum Engagement Ring

Most people prefer the weightiness of platinum jewellery, adding to its sense of luxuriousness in comparison to the much lighter weight feel of palladium.

Indeed, platinum has been widely viewed as the most luxurious of precious metals for over a hundred years, whereas palladium is better known as an industrial metal than a precious metal. Palladium was introduced to jewellery in relatively recent times as a lower-cost alternative to platinum, but changes in precious metal prices in recent years now mean that it is currently more expensive than platinum.

Finally, from a practical point of view, it's not uncommon for rings to need resizing at some point. Palladium is a more difficult metal to work with than platinum, making resizing more challenging and therefore more expensive than with platinum.


Is palladium the same as platinum?

While palladium and platinum are part of the same family, they're two different metals. They share some similarities, but there are also some important differences in cost, history, weight and workability.

Is palladium more valuable than platinum?

Historically, platinum had always been more precious than palladium. However, in recent years palladium prices have risen dramatically due to industrial demand, and currently, palladium is more expensive than platinum. Whether this will be the case in the future remains to be seen!

Is palladium better than platinum?

While both metals have similar characteristics, which is better comes down partly to personal preference. Most people prefer the more prestigious reputation and greater weightiness of platinum. Platinum rings are also easier to repair and resize.

Is palladium lighter than platinum?

Yes, palladium is less dense than both gold and platinum. Platinum is the heaviest of all precious metals. In comparison, palladium jewellery feels very lightweight.

Will palladium or platinum trigger allergies?

Palladium and platinum are both hypoallergenic materials. Both metals are an excellent option for those with metal allergies as they will not irritate the skin.

Does palladium scratch easier than platinum?

Both palladium and platinum are hard materials and wear well. Palladium is a slightly harder material out of the two, making it very slightly more difficult to scratch, but it will nonetheless pick up scuff and scratches through normal wear and tear.

David Rhode
Together with Tim Ingle, David created Ingle & Rhode to offer a better alternative to the traditional luxury brands. Since 2007, we’ve provided our customers with genuinely ethical engagement rings, wedding rings and fine jewellery – free from conflict diamonds, dirty gold and child labour. With more than 16 years experience in the jewellery industry, David has deep expertise in diamonds, gemstones and jewellery design and manufacturing.