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Contemporary Metal Options

Posted by Lynda Reigle on

Anodized Titanium: Titanium (see below) has an extraordinary capacity to take on vibrant colors when anodized. The electrochemical anodization process uses different voltages to vary the naturally occurring oxide layer, producing a range of stable colors that will not fade or change over time. Known as “The Rainbow Metal”, it is popular with both men and women. Colored portions are recessed to protect them from surface abrasions but items should be removed before handling gritty materials (such as beach sand or potting soil…). Dirt or lotions can be cleaned with warm water and a soft cloth.


Argentium®: is a purer silver alloy than traditional sterling silver. The use of germanium in the alloy makes it more tarnish resistant than sterling and easy to maintain. A brighter white than other white metals, Argentium® does not need to be rhodium plated. Produced using only recycled silver, Argentium® guarantees the traceability of its raw material and many people appreciate the material’s low carbon footprint. Argentium is readily sized and engraved by traditional means. Light surface scratches may be polished, otherwise clean with a lint free cloth.

Black-Ti™: is a proprietary alloy created by the aerospace industry in collaboration with metallurgists. Exposure to extreme heat turns the titanium surface ceramic hard and ebony black, rendering a molecular change that is permanent and absolutely scratch resistant. It offers all the benefits of lightweight titanium with a distinctive sleek look and added durability. Black-Ti® can be engraved with laser engraving.

Ceramic: though not a metal, high-tech ceramics are a popular metal-alternative and thus included on this list. Available in white, black or pink, ceramic jewelry is valued for its scratch resistance, heat resistance, hypoallergenic and fade resistant properties. Ceramic jewelry has the same basic hardness and durability as Tungsten and both have a greater hardness than Titanium. The material may exhibit wear over time, and can potentially crack if struck hard enough. Clean with warm water and soap or alcohol. Ceramics can be steam cleaned but avoid ultrasonic cleaners.

Cobalt: is medium-weight and hypo-allergenic. It is whiter than titanium and tungsten and takes a very lustrous polish. Cobalt rings are scratch resistant and will not chip or crack. They can be engraved by traditional methods. Clean with warm water and a mild soap, avoid harsh chemicals such as chlorine.

Stainless Steel: There are various grades of stainless steel in the marketplace. QG rings and Chisel® products are made of 316L, also known as surgical steel. It is very low carbon and hypoallergenic. It can be engraved by traditional methods and cleaned with steam. Items without gemstones can be ultrasonically cleaned. Popular in all categories in general and wedding bands specifically.

Timoku™: is a branded name combining the term Mokume Gane and the atomic symbol for titanium. Mokume Gane is the name for an ancient Japanese metal working technique that translates to “wood grain metal”. Timoku™ is created by layering thin sheets of black and grey titanium and exposing them to heat and pressure which causes them to fuse rather than melt together. The distinctive patterns symbolize the marriage of individuals and no two rings are exactly alike. Produced in the United States, Timoku™ is usually costlier than other contemporary metals due to the labor intensive expertise involved.

Titanium: is stronger than steel yet lighter than aluminum. It is nickel-free and exceptionally biocompatible — in fact it’s the metal used for surgical implants, making it a popular choice (if not the only choice) for people with sensitive skin. Titanium is naturally a soft gray, and though it is highly dent and corrosion resistant, it is not as scratch resistant as Black Ti™ or Tungsten. A satin or textured finish can disguise light scratches, and items can be easily repolished or refinished. Titanium can be engraved with a standard jewelry engraver and cleaned with steam or hot water. Ultrasonic is safe for items without gemstones. Popular as wedding bands and fashion accessories for both men and women.

Tungsten: is the heftiest of contemporary metals and in fact the name comes from the Swedish words tung heavy + sten stone. It is grayish in color and well known for its strength, durability and exceptional scratch resistance. It may potentially crack if struck hard enough. Made to last a lifetime, Tungsten is an excellent choice for men’s bracelets

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