Confused whether you should invest in Platinum or Palladium? Palladium and Platinum are two precious metals that have existed for a while. Yet, their existence, properties, and uses have only come to light in recent years, making them a part of the mainstream precious metals industry alongside the gold and silver.
With more familiarity, these metals have also won over many investors and collectors. Why? Well, there are many reasons. From their scarcity to investment appeal and the changing consumer preference, multiple factors add to the value and demand of Platinum and Palladium.
But this also leaves room for the question, "Which of these two white metals is a better investment option?"
To find an answer, join us in this detailed comparison of Platinum and Palladium.
Palladium: A Closer Look
Did you know Palladium is one of the rarest metals, with a value of 0.015 ppm (parts per million)? This adds to the scarcity of this glowing silvery-white metal, discovered by the English Chemist William Hyde Wollaston in 1803. Interestingly, William named this metal after a recently discovered asteroid, Pallas Athena — named after the Greek mythical character Athena's poetical name.
In terms of applications, Palladium is a common metal used for the production of:
Platinum: A Comprehensive Examination
Platinum is another popular and rare precious metal that has a silverish-white appearance. This rare metal is dense, ductile, highly reactive, and malleable. What's more? Just like Palladium, Platinum also has an interesting history of discovery.
It was back in the 16th century when Spanish explorers discovered Platinum alongside gold. After the discovery, this metal was termed "platina," derived from the Spanish word "plata", which means "silver".
Similar to Palladium, Platinum is also used for manufacturing various products like:
Palladium vs Platinum: Key Differences
Before delving into how Platinum and Palladium offer various benefits as part of different investment categories, let's compare the two rare metals below.
Price (as of November 2023)
Slightly below $1000/oz
As of November 20, 2023, it is recorded to be slightly above $1000/oz
Higher density than palladium
Lower density compared to platinum
More common than palladium
15 times more rare than platinum
Whiter and more lustrous
Slightly darker in appearance
Higher melting point
Lower melting point
Jewelry, catalytic converters, electrical contacts
Catalytic converters, electronics, dentistry
Which is Better for Jewelry?
When it comes to jewelry, it's important to carefully consider your metal options and pick one that best adds class, appeal, and lasting value to the jewelry you invest in. After all, it's an asset you will hold for years.
But how do you know which of the two metals better suit your jewelry investment needs? To find that out, let's compare both metals according to the following factors:
Palladium has a slightly darker tone in silver than Platinum. Platinum's lighter color makes it an excellent metal for highlighting the color of gemstones — a perfect jewelry combination if you like showing off fancy gems.
Palladium and Platinum are strong metals that withstand wear and tear better than gold. However, Palladium is somewhat more scratch-resistant than Platinum.
Platinum is slightly less vulnerable to rust and corrosion than Palladium. Still, both metals tend to age over time. However, you can always polish them to bring back that shiny appearance.
Platinum, being denser than Palladium, is heavier, leading to its predominant use in men's jewelry. However, both men and women investors often choose platinum jewelry for the substantial and luxurious feel associated with this heavier metal. In contrast, those who prefer lightweight and minimal jewelry often opt for Palladium pieces, as they offer a lighter sensation when worn.
Generally speaking, Palladium jewelry is less expensive than platinum jewelry. This makes Palladium an ideal option for those looking to invest in rare metal jewelry at lower rates.
Investment and Financial Considerations
Planning to invest in Platinum or Palladium bars/coins? Honestly, it's a popular investment option for many. From adding them to precious metals IRA accounts to holding their physical possessions and even trading them online, there are plenty of ways to put your money into these rare metals.
But remember that Palladium's higher rarity compared to Platinum makes it a less liquid asset. This means you can't easily sell it whenever you need to liquidate the Palladium you hold.
Regarding price, Platinum has witnessed a decline in demand in 2023 due to the emergence of electric cars that don't require catalytic converters made of Platinum. Having said that, Platinum's average monthly price as of September 2023 was around $920.9 US dollars per troy ounce.
Comparatively, Palladium – once a top performer among the four primary precious metals – has also been on the lower end lately. Since its high of $3,440 per ounce in March 2022, it has struggled to reclaim its high value. However, as of November 20, 2023, Palladium’s value was slightly higher than that of Platinum, being $1,091.39 per ounce.
Environmental and Ethical Factors
As Melanie Müller, a raw materials expert at the German think tank SWP, says:
"Mining raw materials is always problematic, both with regard to human rights and ecology."
According to her, the production process of platinum group metals (PGMs), including palladium, is highly toxic.
Examining the world’s largest platinum group metal (PGM) producers, such as South Africa, clarifies her concern. Precisely, PGM mining — has and continues to — leave many African miners with chemical burns and severe lung damage due to acid drainage (a frequent issue in platinum mining).
Not to mention how this frequent acid drainage leads to various harmful impacts on the environment, including soil degradation, contamination of other metals present in the mined rocks, and the impact on the pH levels of water and soil, disrupting the entire ecosystem.
Ultimately, both Platinum and Palladium have positive and negative traits, weighing equally in most aspects. Whether considering their price volatility, growth potential, popularity, investment options, liquidity, or applications — we highly encourage you to thoroughly evaluate all these factors before making your decision.
Considering these aspects along with your specific investment goals will help you make a more informed decision.