The Newly Hallmarked Palladium Creates Beautiful Wedding Rings at The Diamond Store
Palladium finally became recognised as a precious metal when on July 22nd 2009 hallmarking for the bright, white metal came into effect. The hope is that this move will encourage further consumer confidence in palladium which has already enjoyed a recent resurgence in popularity.
First discovered in 1803 by William Hyde Wollaston, palladium was named after the asteroid Pallas which in turn derived its name from the Greek goddes Pallas Athena. As a result it is a depiction of this goddess of war which is used as a voluntary traditional mark for hallmarked palladium. The different standards of palladium fineness will be measured as 500 parts per thousand, 950 parts per thousand and 999 parts per thousand.
As one of the platinum group metals, palladium shares the same chemical properties as platinum which gives it its’ lustrous colour and tarnish-free surface. However because it is less dense with a lower melting point, it is cheaper. This means that jewellery consumers fond of platinum but not the prices have in palladium the perfect alternative, which thanks to the new hallmarking now comes with the industry’s seal of approval.
The Diamond Store have been using palladium for some time to create beautiful woman’s wedding rings and men’s wedding rings and welcome the hallmarking which will help to encourage public awareness of this splendid metal.
Put simply, gold, silver and platinum jewellery in the UK is hallmarked to ensure its’ quality giving the consumer confidence that the article they are buying is what it says it is. In fact hallmarking is the earliest consumer protection law dating back to 1300. Today hallmarking is controlled by the Hallmark Act 1973 (last amendments made in 1998) and the UK is one of the few countries in the world where this is compulsory for every item of jewellery sold, regardless of the location it was manufactured in.
When precious metals are used in jewellery, they are almost always combined with other metals, such as copper, in order to make them stronger and more durable. It is in this alloy that unethical jewellers can potentially make extra profit as they use a greater percentage of the base metal compared to the precious metal, instead of the other way round. This is incredibly difficult to work out by touch or sight alone and requires sophisticated testing to be employed by what are known as Assay Offices.
In the UK their are only four Assay offices situated in Birmingham, Edinburgh, London and Sheffield. There each metal undergoes a different, yet equally rigorous, process of testing followed by hallmarking once the correct level of fineness has been established. The hallmark consists of three basic symbols and is added either by hand operated or hydraulic presses or by laser, depending on the style of the jewellery. The three compulsory symbols comprise of the sponsor’s mark, the fineness mark (which tells you the karat) and the mark of the assay office where the hallmarking took place.
As well as protecting the consumer, it also protects merchants ensuring that they all must meet a standard level of quality.