Titanium is a lightweight transition metal. In its natural state, titanium is a dark silver-y colour.
Titanium is the most bio-compatible metal. Bio-compatible means it’s resistant to attack by body fluids. Other metals can break down inside your body. Titanium is often used in permanent surgical implants. The pores in the metal allow for the tissue to attach.
While great for these implants, porosity in body jewellery is a solid no-go. For body jewellery, titanium needs a mirror-like polish to reduce porosity. When exposed to air or water, titanium immediately reacts with oxygen. This reaction creates a thin, inert oxide layer. The titanium alloy contains aluminum and vanadium. Yet, the oxide layer doesn’t contain either.
Titanium jewellery is available in a range of colours. At BodyMods, we colour our titanium through anodization and PVD coating.
To anodize jewellery, you’d place it in an electrolyte solution and zap it with an electric charge. Anodizing creates a colourful oxide layer on the jewellery.
The colour results from refraction of light through the oxide layer. It’ll vary depending on how thick this layer is. You can control the thickness of the layer by adjusting the voltage.
The layer wears away over time, causing the colour to fade or change. How long the colour lasts depends on the thickness of the layer and the amount of friction on the jewellery.
Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) coats the titanium with a metal coating. This metal varies depending the final colour you’d like. For example, our Blackline jewellery uses titanium carbide.
Under the umbrella of PVD is ion plating (IP). We know plated jewellery has a (well deserved) bad rap, but ion-plating is different. Hear us out! PVD + ion-plating allows you to adjust for things like hardness and durability. This means your IP coating will outlast traditional plating by a long shot. We’ve also heard from our customers with allergies that they don’t react to our ion-plating! This is anecdotal, so please take that into consideration when ordering.