Niobium. What is it?
Sometimes, I’ll be standing in our little pop up shop at a summer fair and someone will walk in and say “I have a bad metal allergy. What do you have that I can wear?” My first answer is almost always Niobium.
And then I get this look.
I get it.
Niobium isn’t something most folks have heard of or seen.
Most people don’t even think once, let alone twice about the jewelry they wear. They don’t worry about what is in the metal that they are putting on their body.
Or if it is going to make them itchy.
Or if it’s going to turn their skin the most interesting shades of green.
And then there are folks like me. I have a metal allergy (and a sun allergy, and a medicine allergy, and…). I’m allergic to nickel. It makes me itchy, swollen, painful, and miserable if I have prolonged contact with any high concentration of nickel.
And let me tell you a little fact I found out the hard way. That shit is in EVERYTHING.
Especially big box retail jewelry, even more so the cheapo “I got this at the mall for $1” junk (along with arsenic, and other nasty things).
It is even in Stainless Steel, although at a much lower, more bonded amount.
But not Niobium.
So, is Niobium like Sterling Silver?
Kind of, if you mean is it hypoallergenic, a precious metal that will gain value over time, and nickel free? Then yes.
However, Sterling silver is an alloy. It’s a mix of several different metals, mostly Fine Silver and Copper. Because it is Nickel Free, Sterling silver is a good choice for people that have a nickel allergy. But if you are like my sister, with very VERY acidic skin chemistry, then the small amount of Copper in Sterling Silver could be a problem.
A stinky, wierd, green stain of a problem.
Niobium doesn’t have any of those problems, because Niobium isn’t an alloy. It’s a pure metal. There is no filler or extra metals mixed in, it’s just pure simple Niobium fresh off the periodic table!
Pure, beautiful, elemental metal. Super hypoallergenic, super awesome. And as a bonus, Niobium turns beautiful colors when you pass an electric current through it. No dye, no plating, no weird juju. Just simple, colorful science.
I bet you didn’t think you’d be getting a chemistry lesson on a jewelry blog, huh?
So, if you are one of the lucky ones to have weird body chemistry or funky metal allergies, Niobium may just be the way to go!
Plus, who can resist the stunning, opalescent shades of beautiful Niobium?