Pursuing Palladium

April 1999

Precious Metals:Metalsmithing

Pursuing Palladium

Zebra Designs expands the white wave with another member of the platinum group of metals

Silver and platinum jewelry is enjoying a groundswell of popularity. Designer Helmut Klysch of Zebra Design, based in Berlin, Germany, hopes to ride this white wave by creating jewelry with palladium, a member of the platinum group of metals.

Most jewelers don't carry much palladium, says Karen Lautanen, president of Zebra Design. "It has a very high melting point and is considered difficult to work with," she says. So Zebra uses PD 500, an alloy of 50% palladium, 40% sterling silver and 10% copper. This alloy offers an interesting color contrast to silver and gold, says Lautanen.

Klysch, who has a background in philosophy and art history, combines this contrast with innovative design and texture in jewelry that sells mostly for $140 to $260 keystone, though some necklaces rise to $520.

Zebra Design's jewelry sells mostly in the Northeast and on the West Coast, but that is changing as retailers, art galleries and museum shops across the country begin to understand palladium's beauty and durability. The company offers point-of-sale displays, postcards and literature to support retailers.

"Because of their sophisticated and yet classic German design and Klysch's attention to craftsmanship, these pieces are not meant to be worn for a season or two," says Lautanen. "People build collections over the years. Even though Klysch designs jewelry, many of our buyers think of it as art."

The company's spring collection incorporates gemstones such as tanzanite, rhodolite, emerald and blue topaz in palladium. Also new for spring is a collection of hinged rings and bracelets. Zebra Design jewelry is available in the U.S. through KWM Exclusives, New York City; (212) 382-4216. You also can see the jewelry on the Internet at www.zebra-design.com.

Tie clips feature a sterling/palladium combination that highlights the contrast between the two metals' colors.

Rings feature sterling silver, palladium and gold.

Rings with palladium motifs from the Scritto Collection feature emerald, rhodolite and moonstone.


Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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