Palladium isn’t a precious metal the average consumer thinks about much. But make no mistake, it is all around us and we use it every day. Despite its wide-use across numerous industrial and medical applications and products, palladium flies under the radar. Why doesn’t it get as many headlines as its more famous fellow precious metals like gold, silver, and platinum? And if it’s so popular, where can it be found?
At a glance, palladium can easily be misidentified as silver or platinum as it has a classic metallic, “silvery” aesthetic – a lot of people that have palladium jewelry don’t even realize what they have! But it’s not just its looks that it shares with platinum. It shares many physical properties as well. Palladium belongs to a group of six metals commonly referred to as the platinum group metals, which also include rhodium, ruthenium, osmium, and iridium. Despite each being their own unique element, the platinum group metals all share certain physical traits, such as corrosion resistance, electrical conductivity, and catalytic proficiency. Palladium’s similarities to platinum contribute to why it’s overshadowed and mistaken for its more widely-known sister metal.
But just because it’s not a household name, doesn’t mean it’s hard to find! Here is where to go looking to find scrap palladium:
Look no further than your driveway, because palladium is a key component in nearly every car! Palladium resides in the catalytic converters, where its unique properties play a critical role in reducing harmful emissions. Palladium acts as a catalyst in the conversion of toxic gases produced by combustion engines into less harmful substances, facilitating the oxidation of pollutants such as carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons. With a remarkable ability to withstand high temperatures and corrosion, palladium has become a preferred choice for catalytic converters, offering both efficiency and durability. As the global automotive sector continues to prioritize environmental sustainability, palladium remains a key component in keeping internal combustion engines cleaner and more eco-friendly.
Palladium may also be hidden in your mouth! Everybody knows that dental crowns can be made of gold, but just as commonly, palladium is used in the formulation of dental alloys. Renowned for its biocompatibility, resistance to corrosion, and durability, palladium is a prized element in the field of dentistry and well-suited for dental crowns, bridges, and other restorative components. If you ever have a crown removed, make sure you ask for it back so you can recycle any palladium that may be contained in your dental scrap alloy!
Palladium’s versatility extends beyond the roads and dental chairs; it plays a crucial role for pharmaceutical companies as a catalyst during drug manufacturing. When synthesizing certain drug compounds, palladium catalysis has become a cornerstone for creating complex molecular structures efficiently. Its ability to facilitate cross-coupling reactions, among other transformations, has revolutionized drug development processes. So although palladium isn’t present in the final drug product, palladium is key in contributing to the synthesis of life-saving medications and pushing the boundaries of medicinal chemistry.
Jewelry & Decorations
Bracelets, bangles, rings, necklaces, and chains are common types of jewelry made from or with palladium. The popularity of palladium jewelry rose during World War II, which is when platinum was declared as a strategic metal, reserved only for military use. Today, Russia, South Africa, the United States, Canada, Australia, and Ethiopia are all known to be the primary producers of palladium.
High-quality palladium usually contains 95% palladium and 5% ruthenium, an alloy known as 950 palladium. To see if your jewelry is authentic palladium, inspect your piece to see if it’s marked “PD950”. If it doesn’t have this marking, take your piece of jewelry to an appraiser or to our refinery where we can determine its contents.
Decorative items, such as Christmas ornaments, are also known to be plated with palladium. Georg Jensen has a Christmas cone ornament with palladium plate as its material!
More Industrial Uses
Palladium alloys are used in many other industrial applications, like petroleum refining, hydrogen purification, groundwater purification, fuel cell generation, and rocket propulsion systems.
Wherever you happen to find scrap palladium, know that Garfield Refining has the expertise and resources to help you determine what to do with it. Established in 1892, we have more than a century of experience in refining precious metals. We serve various industries, including dental offices, private individuals, jewelers, pawnbrokers, crematories, and more.
If you decide to sell your scrap palladium, look no further than Garfield for your refining needs.
Consider selling your scrap palladium now by downloading a free shipping label here.
Call us today at 888-677-9254 to find out why Garfield is a premier precious metals refinery.