Titanium is known as an extremely strong silvery white metal. Its name comes from the mythical Greek Titans, who were giants of great strength. Its name was assigned by Martin Heinrich Klaproth after titanium was discovered in Cornwall (UK) in 1791 by William Gregor. However, titanium was not produced in a pure form until 1910 when Matthew A. Hunter invented a method to produce 99.9% titanium. This method became known as the "Hunter Process".
One of the most famous titanium pieces is the exterior of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, which is covered in sections of bright titanium. The whiteness of the compound titanium dioxide is useful in the production of white pigments. As well as being light in color, titanium is also very lightweight, which is surprising due to its incredible strength. Because of the combination of titanium's light weight and superior strength, titanium alloys have become very useful in the aerospace industry and other spheres, including medicine and jewelry. Also, because titanium jewelry has such low density, it is one of the most comfortable metals when it comes to wearability.
Due to its strength and durability, titanium is popular for men's wedding bands. Like other precious metals, titanium is resistant to corrosion from substances such as saltwater and chlorine. It is a great choice for those who suffer from metal allergies, since it is hypoallergenic. However, buyers should always know the grade and purity of the material they are wearing. 99% pure titanium is known as CP (commercially pure) titanium. There are 4 grades of CP titanium. The common alloy used in jewelry consists of titanium with 6% aluminum, 4% vanadium, 0.25% iron and 0.2% oxygen. This is known as Ti6Al4V. Another alloy known as 6Al4V2Sn contains 2% tin. These alloys are stronger than pure titanium. Other titanium alloys are used as aircraft grade titanium, which tends to have a slightly lower purity level (for ease of use) than commercial grade titanium. Many producers of body jewelry will use this type of titanium and market it as 'aircraft grade' metal, but the truth is that it is not nearly as pure or strong as 'implant grade' titanium or Ti6Al7Nb, which is 6% aluminum and 7% niobium. This titanium is a medical grade of titanium approved for biomedical implants because of its purity and lightweight properties, and also for body jewelry because it is non-toxic and hypoallergenic. Titanium implants can last for several decades.
One downside to titanium jewelry lasting for life is that it is so strong that it can be difficult to remove easily in the event of a medical emergency. This also means that it is difficult to resize or adjust titanium rings, making it important to properly measure before buying a titanium ring and to not pile on the pounds or go on a diet before or after! Since our weight rarely stays the same throughout our lives, titanium may not be an ideal material for making wedding bands. Titanium is more affordable than both platinum and gold. This is because platinum is a rare material and titanium is much more abundant. This should be its selling point. However, the affordability of titanium is also what can be looked down upon, as many buyers may see it as 'cheap' and will never consider it to be as "classy" as platinum due to its lower price. Although titanium is very white, it can oxidize at high temperatures. This means that it can lose its attractive luster if exposed to extreme heat. Titanium can also be a difficult material for jewelers to work with because of its toughness and brittleness.
Titanium jewelry can be more fun than other metals due to the fact that it can be electrolytically colored. The treatment process is permanent and is known as anodizing. Although it is hard, titanium metal can be carved, engraved or etched to create interesting decorations, contrasts, brighter colors and even different finishes.
Nowadays, there are many choices of titanium jewelry, such as rings, earrings and fancy colored body jewelry. So if you are looking for a comfortable, lightweight, durable and beautiful piece of jewelry at an affordable price, try titanium jewelry, you may be surprised at how much you can get for so little cost.
- First Published: May-01-2015
- Last Updated: August-30-2017
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