“Wow, is that some kind of silver?”

Nowadays more and more the answer is “No, it’s titanium.” The material is a conversation starter because it’s still new enough that many people aren’t aware of it yet. But it’s grown in popularity quickly enough that you can find a wide range of classic and modern jewelry pieces.

You’ll tend to find them from specialty jewelry makers. That’s because titanium requires a very different manufacturing process. And since it’s only been used to make jewelry since the 1990’s, it’s not something every jewelry maker has mastered.stn28Rings_2

Titanium has some unique properties. It’s sleek surface, which can be done in a polished, matte or satin, looks great with all kinds of inlays and stone settings. A wide variety of rings (including lots of wedding rings), in particular, have been developed with pattern inlays and stone settings that appeal to women. But the strength of it also appeals to men who like it’s durability and what some call it’s “space age” appearance. As you’ll find on CelticJewelryDesigners, it’s a great medium for Celtic knot and other designs.

Tough, Really Tough.

Titanium is three times as strong as steel. It doesn’t dent or scratch, meaning it doesn’t need to be shined or buffed, and rings made of it don’t lose their shape over time, as is sometimes the case with gold. It’s a healthy choice in the sense that the material is biocompatible with almost all types of human skin – it’s 100% hypoallergenic. That means that just about anyone can wear titanium without getting rashes or other reactions. Jewelers who work with it almost never mix allergenic substances into it, though that is often done with gold and silver. Though it’s hard to confirm, some people believe that wearing titanium can actually relieve pain in certain places.ck36RIng_2

Fans of titanium sometimes hand their jewelry to a friend, to enjoy the surprised reaction. It’s far lighter than just about any other jewelry material – a reason that some people find it uniquely comfortable to wear.

You’ll find rings, bracelets and lots of other great baubles made of titanium in a wide variety of prices, depending on inlays and stone settings. The material itself is moderately priced, but it requires sophisticated technology to be fashioned into jewelry.

Some key titanium facts:

  • It can be harder to resize than gold or silver jewelry (it can’t be soldered) so you want to be sure about sizing on any ring you buy made of it.
  • Some jewelry sites will tell you it’s so tough you can’t get a ring of it taken off in an emergency, but that’s not true. A titanium ring is only slightly tougher to cut off than a gold ring. It’s about as resistant as steel.
  • It’s highly resistant to corrosion, and generally won’t tarnish like traditional jewelry metals.
  • It was discovered near the end of the 18th century and named for the titans of mythology. But the technology to turn it into jewelry did not become widely available until the late 1990’s.
  • Because of it’s strength and lightness, titanium is used in everything from racing cars to laptops, airplanes and gold clubs.
  • guggenheim-museum-bilbao-landmark-1

  • The world famous Guggenheim Museum in Balbao, Spain (shown at right), is covered in panels made of titanium.
  • Tension settings, where a stone is suspended between the two sides of a ring, are done mainly with titanium because it’s the only material strong enough to handle it.
  • Titanium exists in meteorites, the sun and in other stars.

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