Big Rush in UK for Palladium Jewelry Hallmarking
Source: Commodity Online (8/18/09)
". . .palladium is tapping into growing demand for white precious metal jewelry in the last few months"
The reason for this is that there is a big demand for low-cost white precious metal jewelry following the rise in gold prices.
According to reports, around 5,000 articles were hallmarked by the four UK offices in Birmingham, Edinburgh, London and Sheffield in the first nine days after a change in the law created the palladium hallmark on July 22.
According to experts, palladium is tapping into growing demand for white precious metal jewelry in the last few months—in sharp contrast to the introduction of hallmarking of platinum in 1975 where for the first nine years less than 100 units were handled each year.
The metal, which is a member of the platinum group, has proved an attractive proposition to many jewelry buyers in the current economic climate as it is tarnish-resistant and durable but much less dense and expensive than platinum, meaning the same look can be achieved at a fraction of the price.
Volumes of 9ct gold, the long serving old faithful of every woman’s jewelry box, have been in drastic decline, from nearly 24 million articles in 2001—70% of all items hallmarked—to only 8 million in 2008.
This year so far 3.5 million silver items have been marked, as opposed to only 2.9 million 9ct gold.
This is in contrast to a growing demand for white gold—created in 9ct and 18ct by adding different elements to traditional alloys, and platinum which contributes around 300,000 units per year.
The palladium hallmark, like all other UK hallmarks can only be struck in the UK by one of the four independent assay offices.
Every item of gold silver or platinum sold in the UK must be hallmarked, unless it is under a specified weight, and the hallmarking numbers released by the four UK assay offices are an excellent barometer of trends in the market.