To many people, titanium is a mysterious term. General understanding of the public for this metal is that it is a very hard substance, and some may know that is very light as well, especially for folks who own any titanium watches. We would like to clarify some common myths about this metal and give brief explanation for each one.
Titanium is a newly found metal
Titanium is new to many industries and recently applied to many new applications, but the metal was first discovered in 1791, in England. It was discovered by an amateur chemist in an impure form called rutile. It was not used widely until the last century because the technique for extracting titanium from its naturally occurred ore remained a failure until 1910. It was used in many applications after it was shown that its alloys can be produced commercially by reducing titanium tetrachloride with magnesium in 1940.
Titanium is very hard
It depends. It has to be noted that the metal (chemical periodic table symbol Ti), is rather soft compare to the commonly known “strong” version, which is the alloys made from a mixture of titanium, tin (Sn), aluminum (Al) and vanadium (V). In jewelry industry, titanium is offered in different grades. The pure titanium is much softer than the other two alloys, known as 6Al4V and 6Al4V2Sn. 6Al4V means that the alloy consists of 90% titanium, 6% aluminum and 4% vanadium.
Titanium is a precious metal
Quite on the contrary, titanium is abundant on the Earth and not precious at all. Nevertheless, titanium is listed among the precious metals silver, gold and platinum under precious metal categories. Also, the price range for titanium is similar to the precious metals that are actually scarce on the Earth. The reason is that although the metal itself is abundantly available, the process for producing titanium alloys is expensive compare to traditional precious metals. The technology for creating titanium alloys involves extremely high temperature and vacuum condition, and tight control of environment to avoid any contaminations. This drives the prices of titanium jewelry to the range of jewelry just like gold jewelry.
Titanium is indestructible
Wrong. Even though titanium alloys have high strength and resistant to wearing, it can be damaged. In fact, it can be worked almost in the same ways as other jewelry, such as resizing, filing, polishing and engraving. However, special equipment is needed to do so. Therefore, in case of an emergency, titanium rings can be cut off like any other rings, except that some special equipment is needed. Note that pure titanium can be scratched and bent just like gold and silver jewelry.
Titanium is hypoallergenic
Right. Titanium alloys are inert and does not contain nickel or cobalt which most people with more sensitive skin are allergic to. They will not change color or cause outbreak to virtually anybody. In short, titanium jewelry is very safe to wear.