High gold prices have ramped up the ingenuity of jewelers who intend to stay in the game for the long haul. It’s highly unlikely we’ll see triple digit gold prices again. The longer we live in this new normal of high metal prices, the more designers and manufacturers must exhibit creativity in giving consumers what they want at price points they can accept.
One glistening solution that designers and manufacturers have taken a shine to is producing in palladium. Retailers, particularly in the United States, are requesting goods in this platinum family metal. Oddly enough, it doesn’t seem to have ignited a flame in the Canadian market as of yet.
From a virtual unknown metal a couple years back, demand for this alternative to white gold and its more pricey platinum has soared ten fold. The mechanism behind this vertical spike is likely the bullish promotional efforts of the Palladium Alliance whose main goals are to broaden public awareness of this fine white metal.
Here’s what you want to know about this lustrous white metal; some of which you’ll want to share with your customers. Before it became familiar to the jewelry trade, palladium had a life in the electronics industry. The metal is still harvested from obsolete electronics that have been stripped down for their recyclable materials.
Palladium was only discovered in the early 19th century, and is often found alongside platinum. Unlike sterling silver, palladium resists tarnishing and is extremely ductile; a trait bench jewelers look for to assist with jewelry creation. It offers an excellent affordable alternative to white gold and platinum, yet it can cost less than half of what gold or platinum would. So this is a good solution for designers to volume manufacturers to keep prices in check without sacrificing the look of their product line. Platinum is the heavier of these two white metals, and some customers actually prefer palladium’s lighter heft, particularly when it comes to wearing bridal jewelry which is almost never removed.
This year may be a good time to include palladium pieces in your inventory if you haven’t done this already. Your clients who have backed away from adding to their collection since gold spiked may stage a comeback with your pieces in stylish yet affordable palladium.
Award winning trade journalist and gemologist Diana Jarrett is a Registered Master Valuer Appraiser and a member of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers (NAJA). She’s a popular speaker at conferences and trade shows. Jarrett writes for trade and consumer publications, online outlets, Color-n-Ice blog, and at www.jewelrywebsitedesigners.com. Contact her at email@example.com, visit her website at www.dianajarrett.com, and/or follow her on Facebook and Twitter (Loupey).