Sometimes getting lost in the shuffle with other more notable metals, palladium can stand on its own and has a unique history. Possessing a silver-white look and being part of the same family as platinum, it is no surprise to discover that palladium shares many of the same properties as platinum. Out of all the metas in the POM, the family of platinum metals, it is palladium that is the softest, least dense and the lowest melting point.
First discovered in 1802 during an experiment to purify platinum, palladium initial discovery was one of pure accident. Platinum was being dissolved into a mixture of nitric and hydrochloric acid with its residue being examined. And thus palladium was born. Upon this revelation, the inventor, William Hyde Wollaston, described the metal as the "new silver".
Further testing from other alchemists of the time revealed palladiums true nature, an alloy of platinum and mercury. However, the cat was now out of the bag and both knowledge and demand for palladium began to increase. It’s first major application was medical in its treatment for tuberculosis but was abandoned not long after due to many undesirable side effects.
It was not until as recent as the year 1990 that palladium has come back into focus. This stems from being used as a cheaper alternative to platinum as its low toxicity makes it ideal for a litany of uses. Today it is used in automobiles, computer electronics, hydrogen storage, jewelry, photography and the medical industry. It is for all of these reasons that palladium is now considered a versatile metal today and thus holds an important role as an investment metal as well. So, while not possessing the same celebrated history as the other metals, palladium can certainly hold its own and deserves a spot in every precious metal investor portfolio going forward.