the Blog Chain

The Magic Of Coloring Titanitum

It’s no secret that I adore color. I have often proudly referred to myself as a color whore, so the fact that I gravitate towards metals that turn beautiful colors should shock no one.

If you can dye a metal with a rainbow of durable and lasting colors (like Aluminum –link-), I’m all about it. But if you can turn a metal colors with MAGIC, I’m sold!

Ok maybe it’s not magic, but the science of anodizing some metals has magical results and so… magic.

Titanium is one of those magic metals!

Colors that capture the imagination.

The first time I became aware of titanium, I was 16-something shopping our local mall (remember those?) for things that would make me seem ‘rebellious’. I had been contemplating getting my navel pierced for some time, and the little piercing kiosk with all it’s glittering bits and baubles against a dark and forbidding backdrop drew my eye.

Of course, the little booth nestled midstream of a thousand other shopping teens was swamped with people browsing the overpriced mall goods. I virtually had to beg and plead for people to let me close, more often winning me an eye roll than a path forward.

And then, I was there! Standing in front of the bright lights gleaming off hundreds of pieces of rebellion inducing jewelry (or so I thought at the time). Silver studs, golden hoops, and flashes of brilliant crystal shouting at my eyeballs. But… what is that?!? Rainbows?

 Rainbows of color washing over nose rings and navel bars and cartilage hoops galore.

I was suddenly in heaven. So. Much. COLOR! But, stainless steel only came in silver, right? So what new amazing-ness was this?

Tentatively, I reached out to touch my glorious new obsession… only to be interrupted by the clerk with a haughty “Can I help you?”

“What is that?” I asked in awe of all the swirling hues.

“Uhh… an earring?” The clerk responded sarcastically, with a sniff.

“Yeah… I get that. But what is it made of? I’ve never seen stainless steel like that.”

“That’s not steel, it’s titanium.”

I stood there, staring at the jewelry display with a little “o” forming my lips… I was in love.

Elemental Metal Magic.

You see, Titanium is special. It is an elemental metal; that means it’s not mixed with other metals to give it strength, or luster, or prevent tarnish. This also means is contains no nickel! And if that isn’t enough (considering I have a fairly active nickel allergy) it’s super light, incredibly durable, and turns the most charming shades when you shock it with electricity.

Yes… you do an electric play scene with titanium and it blushes the most beautiful hues.

Titanium is what is known as a reactive metal. Not the tarnishing, turn-your-skin-green, gross rust type of reactive. It interacts with Oxygen to form a layer of Titanium Oxide, and the thickness of this layer is what determines which color you get. The titanium is submerged in a water bath, and then subjected to various levels of electric current. Each level of electricity produces it’s own unique hue, and no two sessions are every exactly the same. Blue may have bits of violet and teal in it. Teal may contain pops of blue or gold and so on, ensuring that every piece of anodized titanium jewelry is one-of-a-kind.

See? Magic.

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