What is Palladium – And Why Should You Buy It?

Posted - November 30, 2023
what is palladium

If we asked investors to name their favorite precious metal, we’d probably get an even distribution of three main answers. Gold, silver, and platinum have distinguished themselves as the most popular precious metals on the market. This should come as no surprise, given the thousands of years of history behind each one of them. 

But there’s another precious metal that has become a staple in many diversified bullion portfolios. We’re talking, of course, about palladium. Palladium is a little-known precious metal, but that’s starting to change. 

What is palladium, and should you add it to your portfolio? Palladium is one of the newest precious metals discovered by scientists. A combination of beautiful palladium products, industrial use-cases, and promising price trends makes palladium a must-have for your growing collection. 

What is Palladium Bullion? 

Let’s start with the very basics: what is palladium? On the periodic table, its symbol is Pd. Palladium offers several unique chemical properties, some of which help make it a premier precious metal for use in modern industrial technologies. For instance, palladium is both the least dense and easiest to melt out of all the metals in the platinum group to which it belongs. 

To the untrained eye, palladium might look quite a bit like platinum. I even have trouble spotting the difference between the two at times! But it’s important that investors wondering, “what is platinum” learn a bit about what makes it unique compared to other precious metals, including platinum. 

To help you better understand what palladium is, let’s take a look at its history. 

History of Palladium

Compared to gold and silver, palladium is still a baby. It was initially discovered in 1802. A physicist named William Hyde Wollaston noted his discovery of the new element before listing some of it for sale at a local shop in West London. 

Since then, palladium’s history has been characterized by a growing number of industrial uses found for the precious metal. At one point, a combination of palladium and chloride was used to treat tuberculosis. Although this treatment proved dangerous and isn’t used in the modern medical era, this fun fact highlights palladium’s importance to industry and technology. 

What is palladium used for today? A number of essential technologies in the medical and automotive industry use palladium. However, the lion’s share of industrial demand for palladium comes from the production of vehicles. The catalytic converter – a core component of modern cars – uses palladium. 

For decades, it was actually platinum that played the largest role in the construction of catalytic converters. Because palladium is replacing platinum in some key areas of industry like the automotive sector, some investors believe that palladium is actually the new platinum. 

Investing in Palladium 

The vast majority of palladium is used in industry, but that’s starting to change. In 2017, around 86% of the world’s palladium sales went to the automotive industry for the production of catalytic converters. Other industrial applications and jewelry are also important markets that make use of the up-and-coming precious metal we call palladium. 

However, a growing number of stackers are turning to palladium as an investment. In 2021, global demand for palladium caused its price to spike to over $2,981 per troy ounce. At times, palladium has actually been far more valuable than platinum! 

Argor-Heraeus 1 gram Palladium Bar Reverse
Argor-Heraeus 1 Gram Palladium Bar

What is palladium investing? Some collectors buy palladium bars and coins to help diversify their precious metal portfolios. It isn’t super hard to see why this might benefit the average gold or silver stack. Unlike gold and silver, palladium’s main draw is its industrial importance – not just its beauty or collectability. 

Palladium Bars

Compared to palladium coins, palladium bars offer extreme value to palladium investors. Because they don’t usually feature the intricate designs you’d find on a Canadian Palladium Maple Leaf, palladium bars can be a great way to cut down on premiums and save some money. 

We’ll explain more about some of the most popular palladium bars later in this guide. What is palladium investing? For some collectors, palladium investing means trying to get as much of this rare, valuable precious metal as possible. For these stackers, palladium bars are the way to go. 

Palladium Coins 

Not all investors prioritize savings over everything else. To some collectors, finding beautiful palladium coins is the goal of investing in palladium. What is palladium known for? While the precious metal is mostly lauded for its usefulness in medical tools and automobile technology, palladium coins are a popular way to invest in palladium bullion. 

For now, the only palladium coin Hero Bullion has in stock is the Canadian Palladium Maple Leaf Coin. This coin is available in its full 1 oz weight and features a palladium purity of .9995. Carrying on the legacy of the Canadian Maple Leaf series, this coin merges past with present to give investors an entirely new piece of history to own. 

Reasons to Invest in Palladium 

What is palladium, and why should you consider investing in it? There are a number of reasons why so many bullion stackers are turning toward palladium to build their investment portfolios. For the purposes of this guide, we’ve chosen three main advantages to investing in palladium: high industrial demand, impressive price action, and beautiful designs. 

High Industrial Demand 

Industrial demand may not be high on the wishlist of many precious metal investors, but we consider it to be very important. All precious metals have intrinsic value because of their scarcity and beauty. But when we compare palladium to some of the other precious metals on the Hero Bullion website, it offers an entirely different degree of usefulness. 

Just take a look at recent history. What is palladium’s price right now? Palladium is trading at just over $1,000 USD at the time of writing this article. During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, prices skyrocketed to a whopping $2,900 per troy ounce. 

Why such a dramatic shift in price? While palladium’s increasing popularity among bullion investors is partly to blame, the main cause of palladium’s all-time high price in 2021 had more to do with the industrial sector. A shortage of catalytic converters caused demand to skyrocket for palladium. 

What does this mean for palladium’s investment outlook? It tells us that palladium’s price is closely related to its industrial demand. For some investors, this makes palladium a premier investment opportunity, as it can help them diversify their portfolios. 

Impressive Price Movements

Palladium is a volatile metal. We’ll talk about this later on in the guide when we discuss palladium’s downsides, but we’d like to focus on the positives for now. What is palladium’s price history? Palladium has slowly climbed in price over the past few decades, which has helped to convince major mints like the Royal Canadian Mint to start releasing brand new palladium products. 

As demand for the precious metal continues to grow, we wouldn’t be surprised if palladium had another major price breakthrough in the near future. 

Beautiful Designs and Aesthetic 

Palladium’s appearance is quite a bit similar to platinum. We find that coins and bars made with palladium have less of the characteristic shine associated with platinum. For some investors, this matte-like finish makes them beautiful to own and trade. 

We also anticipate that the variety of palladium coins and bars available on the market will increase in the next couple decades. Major world mints have already begun offering new palladium products that didn’t exist just a few years ago. 

What is palladium’s future? We can’t say for sure. However, the beautiful designs and explosive popularity of palladium following the COVID-19 pandemic seems to suggest a favorable outlook for the precious metal. 

Downsides of Palladium 

There are downsides to every precious metal – and this includes palladium. What is palladium’s main downside? We’ve chosen two major disadvantages to investing in palladium: minimal price history and volatility. 

Canadian Palladium Maple 1 oz Coin - Random Date Reverse
Canadian 1 oz Palladium Maple Leaf Coin

Minimal Price History 

Because palladium’s bullion market is considerably newer than gold or silver, it’s hard to make the same historically informed judgements about its price history that we can for the older markets. What is palladium’s price history? Long story short, palladium doesn’t have much to offer when it comes to historical price evidence. 

This could be a good or a bad thing, depending on your risk tolerance. For some investors, the new and exciting global market for palladium coins and bars makes this a unique opportunity. To others, there just isn’t enough evidence yet to determine whether these favorable trends are here to stay. 

Volatile Price Action 

Volatility should be nothing new to you if you follow the precious metal markets. Palladium is exceptionally volatile. Prices can change significantly from month to month – or even daily. We recommend exercising caution if you’re looking to invest in a large amount of palladium. While industrial demand for the material makes the investment look promising, it’s impossible to be sure. 

What is palladium’s volatility index? Compared to other, more traditional investments, palladium is very volatile. This volatility, once again, could either be a pro or a con. It just depends on how much risk you are willing to take on with your precious metal investments. 

Best Palladium Coins and Bars

What is palladium, and how do you invest in it? Below, we’re going to be walking readers through three of the most popular palladium products on the market today. As we explained earlier, palladium doesn’t quite meet our standards when it comes to a versatile investment. 

We’ve had a few investors ask us: what is palladium’s best product? Our answer is that the Canadian Palladium Maple, 1 oz Palladium Bar in Assay Card, and Argor-Heraeus 1 Gram Palladium Bar are all great choices for new palladium stackers. 

Canadian 1 oz Palladium Maple Leaf Coin 

Let’s start with one of the most beautiful palladium products we offer. It’s actually difficult to find quality palladium coins from government mints. However, we think that the Canadian Royal Mint has absolutely delivered with their Canadian 1 oz Palladium Maple Leaf Coin. 

The coin’s appearance should be familiar if you’re a fan of the silver and gold Maples that preceded it. The obverse depicts Queen Elizabeth II. In the future, the coin will instead include a portrait of Charles III, Britain’s new King. 

On its reverse, you’ll find a certified classic Canadian symbol: the maple leaf. What is palladium from Canada? For the Canadian Royal Mint, the Canadian 1 oz Palladium Maple Leaf Coin is the perfect way to introduce new investors to all that palladium has to offer. 

1 oz Palladium Bar in Assay Card

What is palladium, and how can I buy cheap palladium bars? If you’re looking to save a bit of money while buying from one of the fastest-growing precious metals markets, our 1 oz Palladium Bar in Assay Card is a great option. 

1 oz Palladium Bar In Assay Card
1 oz Palladium Bar in Assay Card

These bars come new in their Assay Cards. For the uninitiated, an Assay Card is used to certify the authenticity and purity of a gold, silver, or platinum bar. We’ll ship you a random palladium bar with this product, which means you could get one from any mint that makes palladium bars! 

Because of the element of chance involved in this particular product, you may be able to snag some pure palladium for a lower price than you’d pay for a brand name product. 

Argor-Heraeus 1 Gram Palladium Bar

Now that you know the answer to, “what is palladium,” you might want to learn about one of the world’s most consistent producers of quality palladium bars: Argos-Heraeus. A.H. is always on the cutting edge of minting technology, and they absolutely changed the market with their fractional palladium bars. 

The 1 gram bar from Argor-Heraeus is a great choice, especially if you’re looking to invest in palladium without dropping thousands of dollars on a full 1 oz bar. 

Final Thoughts: What is Palladium? 

So what is palladium? Palladium is one of the newest precious metals on the planet, and it’s quickly become one of humanity’s most important assets. Palladium is used in a number of industries, and we don’t see its industrial demand going away anytime soon. 

As industrial demand continues to climb, palladium has found a new home among investors. Hero Bullion’s quality pure palladium bars and coins can help you diversify your portfolio with a whole new class of asset. What is palladium, and how can it fit into your investment portfolio? 

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About The Author

Michael Roets is a writer and journalist for Hero Bullion. His work explores precious metals news, guides, and commentary.