Professional Jeweler Archive: White Gold Mine

February 2005

Merchandise / Precious Metals


White Gold Mine

Palladoro rings will appeal to price-sensitive Gen Y'ers who like to design their settings online

BY MICHAEL THOMPSON


"Can you look in the white gold mine?” is a question Henry Van de Sype has heard too often during his 25 years in the jewelry business. It’s asked when customers see a white gold ring or bracelet with rhodium plating worn away to reveal the yellow or darkened core underneath. Inevitably, the customer is irate or feels betrayed that her white gold jewelry has now turned on her.

So she turns on the jeweler who sold it to her.

Van de Sype vowed to work on the problem of thinly coated white gold jewelry that appears discolored underneath. Platinum, one alternative, is too pricey for some consumers, especially younger Gen Y buyers making their first major jewelry purchases. So Van de Sype’s new company, Palladoro Designs, offers a comfortable middle ground: A ring made of an alloy of palladium – a platinum group metal – and 18k gold. When the metal is plated with rhodium, it won’t wear or show a darker core.

“From my experience with high-end jewelry, I see a large middle ground of consumers who want nickel-free white jewelry but aren’t willing or able to pay the price of platinum,” he says. Palladoro rings are available with diamonds or colored stones.

Palladoro also helps jewelers who sell its rings. With an order of 12 rings (roughly $4,000), the company gives the retailer online access to a computer program that helps consumers design their own rings in the store, particularly appealing to tech-savvy younger customers.

Design Mine

“Customers love to have a hand in designing their rings,” he says. “This program lets them sit with the jeweler and literally design it, see the prices and see what it looks like.”

The program, which the jeweler sees online from the store, prompts users every step of the way, including advising them how many gemstones will fit onto the desired ring design.

Ring styles include channel, bar or prong settings made with princess, baguette or round rubies, sapphires, emeralds or diamonds. Customers also can design gold or platinum rings with the program or can see how much the same ring would cost if made with platinum.

As a result, the consumer becomes personally invested in the ring and is more likely to buy it and not return it. With private access codes, jewelers keep all wholesale prices visible only to themselves.

The online access also allows the jeweler to order merchandise directly from Palladoro. Van de Sype offers the jewelry and the free program to jewelers nationwide.

  • Palladoro Designs, New York City; (866) 725-5236.
Palladoro rings feature a palladium and 18k gold alloy that’s less expensive than platinum, has none of the allergy risks of nickel-alloyed white gold and doesn’t discolor. Photo by Robert Weldon.

Copyright © 2005 by Bond Communications