Titanium ring

Last updated

Titanium rings are jewelry rings or bands which have been primarily constructed from titanium. The actual compositions of titanium can vary, such as "commercial pure" (99.2% titanium) or "aircraft grade" (primarily, 90% titanium, 6% aluminum, 4% vanadium), and titanium rings are often crafted in combination with other materials, such as gemstones and traditional jewelry metals. Even with these variations in composition and materials, titanium rings are commonly referred to as such if they contain any amount of titanium.


Rings crafted from titanium are a modern phenomenon, becoming widely available on the market around the 1990s. Titanium rings offer several unique properties: they are biocompatible (hypoallergenic), lightweight, corrosion-resistant, and have the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any crystalline metal. [1]


Titanium was discovered in Cornwall, England, in 1791 by William Gregor. It was also discovered around the same time by Hungarian mineralogist Franz-Joseph Müller von Reichenstein, and later in 1795 by German chemist Martin Heinrich Klaproth – who gave titanium its name, a reference to the Titans of Greek mythology. [2]

However, it was not until after 1932 that commercial use for titanium became possible, due to methods established by William Justin Kroll. Kroll devised ways of reducing titanium tetrachloride (TiCl4) into its metal form. [3] His process is still used today for commercially-produced titanium. [4]

The cost of titanium rings can be very high. This is ostensibly because the process of extracting titanium from its various ores is laborious and costly. [2] Although it is indeed expensive as an engineering material, it is far less expensive than the jeweler's usual precious metals, even silver. At the start of 2014, no prices for pure titanium or its common commercial alloys exceeded US $10 per pound. The process of machining titanium rings is expensive, and necessary since the metal is nearly impossible to craft by rolling or soldering in the way silver, gold, and even platinum are formed.

It is unknown who first crafted titanium into a ring or other jewelry piece. A titanium wedding-ring is used as a minor plot-point in the 1989 science fiction film and novel The Abyss . Titanium started appearing on the open market in approximately the 1990s. Since 2000, availability of titanium rings has become large-scale, with most online and bricks-and-mortar jewelry stores likely to carry titanium-based rings as part of their inventory. Many outlets now specialize exclusively in the design and sale of titanium rings.[ citation needed ]


Titanium rings are constructed using solid bars, tubes or sheets of titanium, which are cut into the desired shape and size of a ring. The metal can be machined using the same equipment and via the same engineering processes as stainless steel. [5] The usual jewelry-making techniques of rolling and soldering are not practical for titanium, although they can be fabricated by welding in an inert atmosphere using, for example, a laser welder.


Titanium has become popular as a jewelry material due to its various unique properties. Titanium is biocompatible (often referred to as hypoallergenic), or non-toxic to the human body. Similarly, titanium rings will not react with wearers who suffer allergies to other jewelry materials. [2]

It is highly resistant to most causes of corrosion, including sea water, aqua regia, chlorine (in water), and some acids. It is soluble in concentrated acids, however. [6] Titanium rings are therefore practical jewelry for those who regularly swim in the ocean or chlorinated pools. This is in contrast to some traditional jewelry materials, such as silver, brass, and bronze, which are prone to tarnish or other deterioration.

Titanium rings generally have higher fatigue resistance and strength-to-weight ratios than most other metals. [1]

Titanium rings are difficult but possible to resize. The amount of the reduction and increase is limited.

They are only slightly more difficult to cut off in case of emergency than for gold rings; titanium is comparable to steel in its resistance to sawing. [7]


Anodization of titanium rings is the process whereby an oxide film is formed on the surface of the titanium via an electrolytic process to create color. In the case of titanium rings, this process is performed after it is machined into shape. Oxidation changes the ordinary titanium color (generally silver, depending on composition and processing) and increases corrosion-resistance. The anodization process is extremely simple to carry out: the piece is immersed in an electrolyte, cola is popularly used, and a DC voltage, around 100 V, is applied. The voltage controls the thickness, and thus the colour, of the anodization.[ citation needed ]

Colors achievable through the anodization of titanium. Anodized titanium colors.svg
Colors achievable through the anodization of titanium.

Dyes are not necessary to color anodized titanium. The color that results on a titanium ring depends on the thickness of the oxide coating, which is determined by the anodizing voltage. The image to the left shows the color spectrum range that can be achieved by anodizing. The colors, which are simply different wavelengths of light, arise from constructive interference between the light reflected from the surface of the oxide layer and light reflected from the metal surface below.

Titanium compositions

Titanium can be alloyed with many other metals to enhance or alter titanium's properties. The most common alloy partners for titanium are aluminium, vanadium, iron, molybdenum and copper. Each alters titanium's properties for various purposes – for example, copper can be used to harden titanium.

One of the most common compositions for titanium rings is known as "aircraft grade" (also referred to as 6AL-4V or 6-4) titanium, because the composition is famous for its use in aircraft construction (however, it is also used for medical, marine and chemical processing purposes). It is a blend of 6% aluminum, 4% vanadium and 90% titanium (as well as trace amounts of iron and oxygen; max 0.25% and 0.2% respectively), and is one of the strongest and most lightweight of other known compositions. Aircraft grade titanium is often used in crafting titanium rings due to its advantageous and suitable properties (compared with other titanium compositions), as well as its wide commercial availability.


Inlays are the result of combining or two or more metals into one ring. It is not to be confused with alloying. The process of inlaying involves crushing the metals into channels, which are then trapped under pressure. On a ring, this usually results in metals sitting side-by-side on the surface – for example, a strip of gold running through the middle of an otherwise titanium ring.

The purpose of inlays are to enable the various metals within a titanium ring to be visibly distinguishable.


Titanium rings have been crafted into various distinguishable styles over the brief history of their development as a jewelry item. Some of these styles are:


Titanium ring styles referred to as "classic" have generally been crafted into a simple oval or circle with a smooth, shiny finish. Besides ordinary machining, no external techniques or equipment are used in its production.


Mokume-gane gives titanium rings the appearance of wood-grain. It is a Japanese (also early Medieval European) forging technique that was applied to Samurai swords in the 17th century. It required great skill on the part of the smith; though modern process today, such as controlled atmospheres and temperature-controlled furnaces make the technique easier to achieve.


Sable gives the appearance of soft silk.


Frost titanium rings have the appearance of being frozen – specifically, the frozen condensation that appears on an item that has been placed in a freezer.

See also

Related Research Articles

Metal Type of material

A metal is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appearance, and conducts electricity and heat relatively well. Metals are typically malleable or ductile. A metal may be a chemical element such as iron; an alloy such as stainless steel; or a molecular compound such as polymeric sulfur nitride.

Titanium Chemical element, symbol Ti and atomic number 22

Titanium is a chemical element with the symbol Ti and atomic number 22. Its atomic weight is 47.867 measured in daltons. It is a lustrous transition metal with a silver color, low density, and high strength, resistant to corrosion in sea water, aqua regia, and chlorine.

Vanadium Chemical element, symbol V and atomic number 23

Vanadium is a chemical element with the symbol V and atomic number 23. It is a hard, silvery-grey, malleable transition metal. The elemental metal is rarely found in nature, but once isolated artificially, the formation of an oxide layer (passivation) somewhat stabilizes the free metal against further oxidation.

Corrosion Gradual destruction of materials by chemical reaction with its environment

Corrosion is a natural process that converts a refined metal into a more chemically stable form such as oxide, hydroxide, carbonate or sulfide. It is the gradual destruction of materials by chemical and/or electrochemical reaction with their environment. Corrosion engineering is the field dedicated to controlling and preventing corrosion.

Passivation, in physical chemistry and engineering, refers to coating a material so it becomes "passive," that is, less readily affected or corroded by the environment. Passivation involves creation of an outer layer of shield material that is applied as a microcoating, created by chemical reaction with the base material, or allowed to build by spontaneous oxidation in the air. As a technique, passivation is the use of a light coat of a protective material, such as metal oxide, to create a shield against corrosion. Passivation of silicon is used during fabrication microelectronic devices. In electrochemical treatment of water, passivation reduces the effectiveness of the treatment by increasing the circuit resistance, and active measures are typically used to overcome this effect, the most common being polarity reversal, which results in limited rejection of the fouling layer.

Galvanic anode Main component of cathodic protection

A galvanic anode, or sacrificial anode, is the main component of a galvanic cathodic protection (CP) system used to protect buried or submerged metal structures from corrosion.

Brazing High-temperature soldering; metal-joining technique by high-temperature molten metal filling

Brazing is a metal-joining process in which two or more metal items are joined together by melting and flowing a filler metal into the joint, with the filler metal having a lower melting point than the adjoining metal.

Anodizing Metal treatment process

Anodizing is an electrolytic passivation process used to increase the thickness of the natural oxide layer on the surface of metal parts.

In modern Western body piercing, a wide variety of materials are used. Some cannot be autoclaved, and others may induce allergic reactions, or harbour bacteria. Certain countries, such as those belonging to the EU, have legal regulations specifying which materials can be used in new piercings.

Plating is a surface covering in which a metal is deposited on a conductive surface. Plating has been done for hundreds of years; it is also critical for modern technology. Plating is used to decorate objects, for corrosion inhibition, to improve solderability, to harden, to improve wearability, to reduce friction, to improve paint adhesion, to alter conductivity, to improve IR reflectivity, for radiation shielding, and for other purposes. Jewelry typically uses plating to give a silver or gold finish.

Titanium alloys are alloys that contain a mixture of titanium and other chemical elements. Such alloys have very high tensile strength and toughness. They are light in weight, have extraordinary corrosion resistance and the ability to withstand extreme temperatures. However, the high cost of both raw materials and processing limit their use to military applications, aircraft, spacecraft, bicycles, medical devices, jewelry, highly stressed components such as connecting rods on expensive sports cars and some premium sports equipment and consumer electronics.

Plasma electrolytic oxidation

Plasma electrolytic oxidation (PEO), also known as electrolytic plasma oxidation (EPO) or microarc oxidation (MAO), is an electrochemical surface treatment process for generating oxide coatings on metals. It is similar to anodizing, but it employs higher potentials, so that discharges occur and the resulting plasma modifies the structure of the oxide layer. This process can be used to grow thick, largely crystalline, oxide coatings on metals such as aluminium, magnesium and titanium. Because they can present high hardness and a continuous barrier, these coatings can offer protection against wear, corrosion or heat as well as electrical insulation.

Nitinol biocompatibility is an important factor in biomedical applications. Nitinol (NiTi), which is formed by alloying nickel and titanium, is a shape-memory alloy with superelastic properties more similar to that of bone, when compared to stainless steel, another commonly used biomaterial. Biomedical applications that utilize Nitinol include stents, heart valve tools, bone anchors, staples, septal defect devices and implants. It is a commonly used biomaterial especially in the development of stent technology.

Colored gold

Pure gold is slightly reddish yellow in colour, but coloured gold in various other colours can be produced.

An inclusion is a solid particle in liquid aluminium alloy. It is usually non-metallic and can be of different nature depending on its source.


Cobalt-chrome or cobalt-chromium (CoCr) is a metal alloy of cobalt and chromium. Cobalt-chrome has a very high specific strength and is commonly used in gas turbines, dental implants, and orthopedic implants.

Ti-6Al-4V, also sometimes called TC4, Ti64, or ASTM Grade 5, is an alpha-beta titanium alloy with a high specific strength and excellent corrosion resistance. It is one of the most commonly used titanium alloys and is applied in a wide range of applications where low density and excellent corrosion resistance are necessary such as e.g. aerospace industry and biomechanical applications.

Titanium biocompatibility

Titanium was first introduced into surgeries in the 1950s after having been used in dentistry for a decade prior. It is now the metal of choice for prosthetics, internal fixation, inner body devices, and instrumentation. Titanium is used from head to toe in biomedical implants. One can find titanium in neurosurgery, bone conduction hearing aids, false eye implants, spinal fusion cages, pacemakers, toe implants, and shoulder/elbow/hip/knee replacements along with many more. The main reason why titanium is often used in the body is due to titanium's biocompatibility and, with surface modifications, bioactive surface. The surface characteristics that affect biocompatibility are surface texture, steric hindrance, binding sites, and hydrophobicity (wetting). These characteristics are optimized to create an ideal cellular response. Some medical implants, as well as parts of surgical instruments are coated with titanium nitride (TiN).

Ti-6Al-7Nb is an alpha-beta titanium alloy first synthesized in 1977 containing 6% aluminum and 7% niobium. It features high strength and has similar properties as the cytotoxic vanadium containing alloy Ti-6Al-4V. Ti-6Al-7Nb is used as a material for hip prostheses.

Titanium adhesive bonding is an engineering process used in the aerospace industry, medical-device manufacture and elsewhere. Titanium alloy is often used in medical and military applications because of its strength, weight, and corrosion resistance characteristics. In implantable medical devices, titanium is used because of its biocompatibility and its passive, stable oxide layer. Also, titanium allergies are rare and in those cases mitigations like Parylene coating are used. In the aerospace industry titanium is often bonded to save cost, touch times, and the need for mechanical fasteners. In the past, Russian submarines' hulls were completely made of titanium because the non-magnetic nature of the material went undetected by the defense technology at that time. Bonding adhesive to titanium requires preparing the surface beforehand, and there is not a single solution for all applications. For example, etchant and chemical methods are not biocompatible and cannot be employed when the device will come into contact with blood and tissue. Mechanical surface roughness techniques like sanding and laser roughening may make the surface brittle and create micro-hardness regions that would not be suitable for cyclic loading found in military applications. Air oxidation at high temperatures will produce a crystalline oxide layer at a lower investment cost, but the increased temperatures can deform precision parts. The type of adhesive, thermosetting or thermoplastic, and curing methods are also factors in titanium bonding because of the adhesive's interaction with the treated oxide layer. Surface treatments can also be combined. For example, a grit blast process can be followed by a chemical etch and a primer application.


  1. 1 2 Matthew J. Donachie, Jr. (1988). Titanium: A Technical Guide. Metals Park, OH: ASM International. p. 11. ISBN   0-87170-309-2.
  2. 1 2 3 Emsley, John (2001). "Titanium". Nature's Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements. Oxford, England, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 451–452. ISBN   0-19-850340-7.
  3. Greenwood, N. N.; Earnshaw, A. (1997). Chemistry of the Elements (2nd ed.), p. 955. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann. ISBN   0-7506-3365-4.
  4. Lide, D. R., ed. (2005). CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics (86th ed.). Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press. ISBN   0-8493-0486-5
  5. Barksdale, Jelks (1968). "Titanium". in Clifford A. Hampel (editor). The Encyclopedia of the Chemical Elements. New York: Reinhold Book Corporation. pp. 734. LCCN 68-29938.
  6. Casillas, Norberto; Charlebois, Steven; Smyrl, William H.; White, Henry S. (1994). "Pitting Corrosion of Titanium". Journal of the Electrochemical Society. 141 (3): 636. Bibcode:1994JElS..141..636C. doi:10.1149/1.2054783.
  7. "FACT CHECK: Does Removing a Titanium Ring Require Amputation?".