Precious Metals West's Alabaster 950Palladium

The Future of White Precious Metals

NEW-PALLADIUM USERS BLOG

If you are a jewelry buyer or just a fan of white jewelry try 

The Consumers Guide to Palladium Jewelry


For Our Fellow Jewelry Manufacturers, Designers, and Jewelers please read on below!

Alabaster-950pd This is a nickel free and heat treatable palladium alloy. Harder than our first formula, it has tested after heat treating at Rockwell 78, a significant improvement over most other palladium jewelry alloys. 

We also have "OutCast" 950Pd for palladium jewelry. This is the palladium you want when you are sending your waxes or molds "out" for "casting", hence the name Outcast Pd. This alloy does contain trace amounts of nickel, yet passes the European nickel directive for jewelry worn in contact with the skin, or body jewelry and ear posts. 

Alabaster is a harder palladium that can be heat treated or work hardened. As the market matures, we develop palladium alloys for ever more demanding circumstances of manufacture. Call us to discuss which alloy is right for your line. 

Give "The Fairest White Metal Of All'" a try today. 

Watch palladium jewelry become your diamonds best friend. 

Palladium Price Update $392 Market Toz 

COD Net 30 Visa/MC Quantity
$436.32 $444.40 464.60 Grain per Toz
$21.82 $25.22 $23.23 Grain per Dwt

As of May 10,2006 Gold is $701.90 on the NY market. 14 Karat gold  is about $23 per dwt, or $460 Toz. 

The latest addition to fine jewelry metals is now here. Palladium (Pd) has been in use in the trade for a very long time and is used to make the best white gold and some platinum alloys. Years ago pure Pd was used for stamped settings.  Like pure gold or silver pure Pd is much too soft to wear. Palladium is a well known "PGM" or platinum group metal. Platinum family we like to say. 

This page is your best resource for information on this new alloy. Of course we are selling our own variety of palladium, but as we learn how to best maintain those made by our competitors you will see that information here as it becomes available.  

You, the manufacturing, designing or retail jeweler will always be able to look here for the latest information on palladium jewelry. Our growing gallery of fine palladium jewelry and the technical support sections are just the start. Yes, this is a site run by and for precious Metals West, but we go for the "big picture" point of view. 

Today palladium is being alloyed with 5% advanced alloys (no nickel at all) that give it all the right attributes for jewelry manufacturing. this stands in stark contrast to white gold.

This is the most credible replacement for white gold we have ever seen.

If you or one of your customers are not happy with white gold for any reason at all you should try using Alabaster Pd instead. Your fabrication and bench work will be a pleasure. This metal is tailored for the most intricate and demanding gemstone setting techniques like field pave' and bright cutting. Engraving looks wonderful and the tools will hold up much longer than when working nickel white gold. 

If we compare  Alabaster 950Palladium to Platinum for appearance 950palladium looks almost exactly like platinum. The actual color according to the MJSA-WGTF yellowness index is 12.0 or Grade One. On that scale anything below 19 is considered white enough to make rhodium plating totally unnecessary. We had the test done by those very professional people at The American Assay & Gemological Office. The full color coordinate of Alabaster is L*82.484 A*0.4116   B*5.326 for those who just love color science. 

Please note that 950Pd from any manufacturer will have excellent color. 

The original Alabaster I does contain a trace amount of nickel to ensure the best possible finish. Just to be thorough we also tested Alabaster I for nickel release-Europe uses a scale of nickel release in human perspiration. For jewelry worn on the skin like rings, the maximum is 05. per square centimeter. For body jewelry or ear posts, the standard is 0.2. Alabasters  result was "under 0.1" which even passes the new standard in Europe for body jewelry and ear posts. 

Alabaster II (began sales in late 2005) is nickel free and heat treatable. For the nickel sensitive, use this alloy. For the non nickel sensitive, Alabaster I is easier to cast, and tends to run a bit softer as cast. Every Alabaster alloy work hardens very well.

As I estimate this in January 2006, palladium is $273 per ounce on the NY market. Platinum is $997 per ounce. Then you must consider the specific gravity of the metals. Palladium is about 56% the weight of platinum. If your model wax weighs just .5 dwt, and you are casting platinum you need about 10.5 dwt of platinum at about $54 per dwt. That's $567.50 just for platinum casting grain. 

In 950 palladium the weight needed for the same casting is 5.9 dwt at $15.68 per dwt. Your cost is about $93 for the casting grain. This is a major difference in cost!

Our 950 Palladium responds well to lost wax casting, bar pours and rolling or drawing processes and in fact fabricates easily.  There is a variety of 950Pd alloys available. Each is tuned to specific needs, just like gold alloys are. 

dsolderpd.jpg (339850 bytes) Solders are available.  We have 950PD-H for hard applications (almost welding) and we have 900Pd Solder for an excellent color match at a good flow temperature. Wire and sizing stock is available on order with a short delay. If needed use any platinum repair solder rated at 1300 C or lower. 

 Now you can manufacture and service 950 Palladium Jewelry. A List of Alabaster casters to the trade, where you can send your designs and get great castings back fast. 

 A few technical points about PMWest's 950 Alabaster Pd grain

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It melts for casting at about 1350 centigrade or about 2400 degrees Fahrenheit-a temperature well below that of platinum. It will only lightly oxidize when heated for soldering.  It will not tarnish. Torch casting is tricky until you get used to the color of 1350C by eye. because of the dark "platinum" level eye protection you wear, it is very easy to overheat the alabaster which will result in cracks.

Because it is so "bench friendly" stones are easily set safe and secure. It can be work or age hardened. All finishes can be applied easily. 950 Palladium is very durable when worn daily. 950 Pd is non allergenic. Body jewelry fans take note. 

We have rolled Alabaster from 5mm thick down to 1mm thick for hardness testing. The Vickers hardness rating was 196 as rolled. As cast we estimate the hardness to be about 140. This is variable based on the time you delay the quench of the cast tree. 

The latest tests show an "as cast" hardness very similar to 950 platinum jewelry made with iridium or cobalt. Alabaster II has been tested in the R-15 Rockwell hardness test, and the number is 78. This is a more durable, and nickel free alloy. 

To cast Alabaster 950palladium jewelry-Use induction casting and platinum rated investments. The flow temperature is right around 1350-1400 centigrade. Induction heating is best but be careful to adjust the power level to ensure the palladium is not overheated.   Like any new metal Alabaster will take some time to get exact parameters down such as sprue diameter for heavy castings. 

Check out these unfinished castings. So much detail you can see the lathe marks from making the waxes, and the reflected light from the sheen of the excellent surface.

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There is a wide enough variety of investments that flask temperature can not be generalized. I suggest going for lower flask temperatures than you use for platinum, and a casting set point of about 1380C or up to 1420C. If you are using Doc's platinum casting investment, use a flask temperature of 500F. If using Romanoff "J" try from 1000 F, to 1200 F. 

For polishing Alabaster 950palladium jewelry-Use platinum compound and rouge. The green rouge is great for the final polish. Dialux Gray, green and blue have been shown by several jewelers to work very well. 

In soldering Alabaster (or any other) 950palladium jewelry-Use eye protection rated for platinum! That means a #10 tint welding lens. Use either our 950Plumb Pd solder or our 900Pd solder. If you need a very easy flow, use 1000 or 1100 "platinum repair" solders. For two tone with gold use gold solder.

To refine 950palladium jewelry-keep your scrap completely separate or combine with your platinum scrap, do not mix with gold.

If you prefer a different blend such as 95%Pd and 5%Ru. Alabaster NF, or even your own custom blend we will make your grain. Just call Daniel and discuss what you need. 

800-999-7528

New list of Alabaster Palladium casters- Use this link

A link to another "Palladium Working Wisdom" article.

To be added to the list call Daniel Ballard 800-999-7528


We are soliciting reports from Jewelers who are working with any 950Pd, not just our alabaster. if you work with palladium jewelry please send us your experiences, difficulties and solutions. 


Some pictures of Alabaster 950 Palladium being made from pure palladium sheet and our advanced alloy system. Propane was used for the melt.

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Thanks to www.Mokume.com for the picture of the bands

A few more shots of samples made for PMWest with Alabaster 950Pd 

Custom Jewelry Design "Jewelry By Alex"

Los Angeles, California

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Wire wrap necklace By Donna Ballard

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2012 Keith Weinstein Inc.

Daniel@preciousmetalswest.com