What is Titanium?
Simply put, titanium is an metallic element found here on earth. (It is found on the Periodic Table of Elements, atomic #22.)
It is a naturally grayish color, but can be polished bright. It is incredibly strong. Maintains it's shape, does not bend or break. Is hypo-allergenic. For those techy folks it's melting point is 3034 degrees Fahrenheit. Takes a LOT of heat to melt it!
Titanium was first discovered at the end of the 18th century. The name was derived from the Titans of Greek mythology, known for their extreme and superior strength. Titanium is the only element possessing the strength of steel, yet with a weight
comparable to aluminum.
Titanium has positively and diversely impacted mankind more than any single element.
It has taken us to the depths of the ocean and to the far reaches of space. (85%
of the space shuttle's structure is titanium.) It is placed inside our bodies
and on our sporting equipment. It is only in the last few years that we have
begun to explore the artistic benefits of this miraculous
Titanium is the only element that offers the unique combination of beauty, strength,
Titanium now commands the highest levels of quality for many consumer product
industries; including sporting equipment, medical, automotive and marine, art
and architecture, gift ware and, of course, jewelry. Even credit cards now tout
their ultimate achievement with a titanium designation.
UNIQUE & EXCEPTIONAL PROPERTIES OF TITANIUM
* Highest ratio between strength and density of all metallic materials
* Extreme mechanical and thermal loading capacity
* Extreme tensile strength - stonger than steel but 42% lighter
* High corrosion resistance, particularly against oxygen
* Extremely bio-compatible because of it’s tissue compatibility and it’s elastic
History of Titanium
In 1791, William Gregor of England, discovered titanium in an impure form. It was first known as “Manachite”. It was later given the name “Titanium” by a German chemist, Martin Kloproth. He derived the name titanium from the Titans of Greek mythology, known for their extreme and superior strength.
In 1910, pure titanium was manufactured by M.A. Hunter, an American chemist. Hunter was able to extract the metal from the ores and developed the process of mixing rutile ore (TiO2) with chlorine and coke, then applying extreme heat, producing titanium tetrachloride (TiC14), which was further reduced with sodium to form titanium. The hunter process successfully produced high quality titanium.
Dr.Wilhelm Kroll, in 1946, developed the process currently used for producing titanium commercially. The Kroll process
reduces titanium tetrachloride (TiC14) with magnesium.
to an elite category of elements identified as strategic metals.
It wasn’t until 1910 that titanium was able to be separated from its
compound materials. By nature of its reactive properties, titanium could not
be processed by conventional extraction methods. It took nearly half a century
for scientists and metallurgists to develop a cost effective method for its
extraction and refinement. In the 1950’s Lockheed Corporation built the
SR-71 Blackbird spy plane – out of almost entirely titanium. Afterwards
the aerospace industry began using titanium regularly.
As previously mentioned, Titanium is an element (symbol Ti) like gold, silver and platinum. It is a non ferrous metal with the highest strength to weight ratio of any known element.
For this reason titanium is the favored material in the aerospace industry.
85% of the structural components in the Space Shuttle are made of titanium.
The average commercial aircraft contains over 1 ton of titanium. That is a lot of titanium! Especially considering the metal is light weight.
Titanium has impacted mankind more positively and diversely than any single
element in history. It is the element that took us to the depths of the ocean,
the far reaches of the galaxy and elevated our capacities in medicine, industry
"Few materials have as much potential for dynamic growth as titanium. It's on the cutting edge of some really exciting
and extraordinary developments, many of which are in newly emerging technologies." -
Sen. John Glenn
Titanium is inert.
Titanium has been embraced by the medical world for its superior bio-compatibility,
and is the preferred material for surgical instruments and implants. Titanium
is inert and therefore completely corrosion resistant. It does not react to
salt water, sunlight, or any body chemistry. Titanium is 100% hypoallergenic.
Titanium is the preferred material for surgical tools, implants, pacemaker
cases and other internal casings. It won’t react with any part of the
body, making it a great choice for even those persons most sensitive to other
materials. When a person has an allergic reaction when wearing a pair of gold
or silver earrings due to the alloys, it is recommended that they switch over
to titanium earrings. And unlike silver, titanium will never tarnish!
Titanium is extremely durable and strong.
Titanium is more resistant and has the highest strength to weight ratio of
ANY known element, which is why 85% of the Space Shuttles structure is titanium.
In fact that is why many titanium ring manufacturers have a lifetime warranty.
In jewelry applications, titanium’s strength allows for design capabilities
that were otherwise impossible. For example, tension set rings made with
titanium provides maximum security for the stone. Softer materials such as
gold, silver and platinum cannot make this claim! In fact, even the softest
forms of titanium start with over 30,000 psi tension, much more than platinum.
Titanium can be worn throughout active and demanding lifestyles without concern
for the excessive wear and tear that would be exhibited by gold and platinum.
Titanium is lightweight.
Only slightly heavier than aluminum with the strength of steel. Today, “light’ is
the quality standard in all fields. With jewelry, titanium’s light weight
translates into comfort. Platinum, gold and silver must sacrifice style and
function to reduce weight and costs.
Titanium is proven.
Titanium is the fastest growing category in jewelry history. Without exception,
titanium has dominated each and every market arena it has entered. From sports
products like bicycles, tennis rackets, and golf clubs, to marine hardware,
computer cases and jewelry, titanium symbolizes the new standard for excellence.
Even the term “titanium” has come to represent the highest standard
of excellence and quality. (For example: titanium credit cards.)
Titanium is pure.
The World Titanium Council endorses Spectore’s grey titanium which is
99+% commercially pure. No other conventional material can boast this claim.
14kt gold is 58% pure and platinum is generally 90% pure. For those who wish
to wear a pure metal, titanium is the logical choice.
Titanium is a noble element.
Titanium is the first new element to enter the noble metals arena of platinum
and gold in over 3,000 years.
Titanium is leading edge.
The technology used in working with titanium has significantly and positively
impacted manufacturing methods throughout the entire jewelry industry. Titanium
is the perfect marriage of art and science.
Titanium is virtuous.
Many say that had titanium been discovered before platinum and gold, it would
be the leading jewelry material today.
Titanium is fashionable.
Titanium provides the stylish rich grey tones of platinum at a much more attractive
price. Many designers such as Edward Mirell are designing fashion forward
cutting edges styles for titanium jewelry. Titanium is at the forefront in
the designer jewelry community. No other metal has experienced such a dramatic
rise in popularity as titanium.
Different grades of Titanium
No doubt you have noticed that there are many different grades of titanium jewelry on the market. Most titanium jewelry products being sold are some type of alloyed titanium - not pure titanium. We use a commercially pure (CP) grade of titanium. Within the CP category the most popular are grades 1 through 4. CP Grade 1 is the softest and Grade 4 is the hardest. The primary difference between the grades is the quantity of Oxygen, the addition of which creates the increases in hardness. We use CP Grade 2 in all of our gray titanium products. We found it to be the ideal balance between titanium's hardness and workability. It can be cut off, refinished, and engraved, yet it is resistant to marring and polishes well.
About Aircraft Grade Titanium
The vast majority of titanium rings being sold today are made of Aircraft Grade Titanium. Aircraft Grade Titanium is alloyed with aluminum, vanadium and tin to create a very hard metal. However, the World Titanium Council does not endorse aircraft grade titanium due to safety issues. In the event of emergency removal an aircraft grade titanium ring may not be easily cut off, creating a potential safety risk to one's finger. Also, they are much more difficult for a jeweler to refinish them, are not pure and cannot be easily engraved. All of our Edward Mirell titanium jewelry uses commercially pure titanium (CP) that has been endorsed by the World Titanium Council.
Want More Technical Info?
For some really great tech information on this exciting metal you can visit the International Titanium Association at Titanium.org. Their mission is to connect folks interested in using titanium with specialists from across the globe who can assist with raw titanium sales and technical assistance.