Monday, 3 pm
Sepia photography is especially powerful when the subject is palladium. Don’t you think? The previous article features a few photos of the ring in progress.
Your car’s catalytic converter is probably made with palladium. In fact, the automobile industry uses palladium more than any other industry, including jewelry making. Palladium is used, also, in dentistry, the production of aircrafts, surgical and electrical implements, and musical instruments.
Like its “cousin” platinum, palladium is soft and silvery-white, but while it is more malleable and not as dense as platinum, it is actually harder.
Palladium was first identified in 1802, by English chemist and physicist William Hyde Wollaston (1766 – 1828). It was extracted from crude platinum ore found in South America. It is interesting to consider platinum here, since Wollaston is better known for developing a way to turn platinum into malleable and more practical ingots.
He went to great lengths to keep his process a secret, nearly until his death. He amassed great personal wealth as a result of being the sole supplier of platinum in all of England for about 20 years. Even then, platinum, and later palladium, were recognized as sharing the beauty and qualities of gold, but at a much lower cost.
In 1803, Wollaston named his precious find palladium, after the asteroid Pallas, which had made a great impression upon the world a few months earlier. The asteroid in turn gets its name from the goddess Athena, or Pallas Athena, goddess of wisdom and prudent warfare in ancient Greece.