I carry a range of coloured titanium jewellery pieces and am often asked how the colour is created and why some colours are unavailable. The goal of this post is to explain what anodising is, how the anodising process works, and why certain colours are not available.
Polished titanium is naturally silver in colour. As mentioned in my previous posts in this three part series, implant grade titanium is by far the best metal for piercing as the composition of the titanium alloy used in ASTM F136 is tightly bound so that it cannot break down under the skin and release metal particles inside the body meaning that it is fully biocompatible and suitable for long-term wear under the skin.
However, some people do not want jewellery that is silver in colour but still desire titanium jewellery. This is where anodising comes in!
Anodisation is the process of applying heat or electricity to the titanium. By doing this the refractive properties of the metal are brought out because various oxide thicknesses are created on the surface of the titanium. The resulting titanium oxide is what causes the vivid colours of the titanium! The colours are directly related to time and voltage. Titanium itself will not change colour or tarnish but anodisation can wear off if it is exposed to very acidic pH, so always be careful with your anodised jewellery!
QualiTi has a wide variety of colours, but red and black are not available. The reason for this is that the anodising spectrum of titanium does not include red or black. You can find black coloured titanium, but it is not anodised – it is coated with a different technique such as as PVD. Depending on the jewellery quality and the technique and coating used, the jewellery may or may not retain the black colour, so it is important to ensure that any black titanium pieces purchased are high-quality so that the coating doesn’t wear off!
Hopefully, this post has helped explain exactly what anodising is and how it works. I’m always willing to answer any questions to the best of my knowledge and if I don’t know the answer I can provide resources that go far more in-depth!