1.- Anodized titanium 101
What is titanium?
Named for the Titans, the first sons of the Earth goddess, Titanium is a reactive metal (as opposed to ‘stable’ metals like Platinum (Pt), gold (Au) and silver (Ag) that have little or no reactivity to the elements around them). Reactive metals are defined by their sensitivity to their environment and because of this reactive property they exist in nature as compounds, not as discrete elements, and are never found in pure form.
As strong as steel but weighing 45% less, titanium is hypoallergenic and naturally lead and nickel-free. Decimononic jewelry is made of Grade 1 commercially pure titanium.
Is titanium expensive?
Titanium is less expensive than platinum, gold or silver; however, its natural properties (it is considerably harder than these metals and cannot be soldered, only welded) makes it very difficult to work and requires special equipment.
How can titanium offer such an amazing array of colors?
In a controlled process called anodizing, we expose titanium to a catalyst element in an electrolytic bath, then apply an electrical current that stimulates and perpetuates the resulting reaction. The strength and duration of the electrical current determine the thickness of the oxide layer that forms. After the anodizing process is complete, the transparent layer of oxide on the surface of the metal interferes with and distorts the light rays that pass through the oxide layer and strike the metal surface. The particular color produced is determined by the thickness of the oxide layer, which is in turn determined by the voltage and duration of the anodizing process.
Are the colors of anodized titanium jewelry durable?
As far as the oxide layer does not suffer any damage, colors are definitive (although they may fade a bit over time).
Using a special metal varnish would help to protect the surface of anodized titanium jewelry?
Probably, at least in the short term. However, varnish or lacquers may dull or crack with the past of time. We prefer to think in the long term and avoid this kind of short-term solutions.
2.- Metropolis Collection care tips
Most of the pieces of this jewelry collection combine sterling silver, titanium and gemstones. Correct handling, use and cleaning are mandatory to ensure its durability and beauty.
How should I manipulate my anodized titanium jewelry?
The anodized titanium surface has to remain as clean as possible in order to keep its coloring unaltered. For this reason, we recommend the use of cotton gloves when manipulating it. Avoiding dirt and damages like scratches is essential.
How should I clean my anodized titanium jewelry?
In order to keep its beautiful colors, the process to clean anodized jewelry requires great care. Keep always in mind that rubbing anodized titanium hard or scrubbing it may damage permanently the piece’s colored layer.
Follow these steps to keep your anodized Metropolis Collection jewels as spectacular as the day you bought them:
1. First, soak the jewelry in a solution of warm water and mild soap for several minutes to remove dirt. However, do not scrub the pieces as hard rubbing may damage its oxide layer, which gives the piece its color. Rinse the jewelry, preferably with distilled water (as you know hard water may produce scaling). If necessary, a degreaser (like KH Lloreda KH7 Degreaser® or Reckitt Benckiser Cillit Bang Power Cleaner Grease & Sparkle®, for example) can be used, but remember to rinse it thoroughly with water.
2.- If necessary, soak the items for a couple of minutes in a glass cleaning solution with ammonia (like SC Johnson Windex® or Ajax Cristasol®). Rinse the jewelry with distilled water.
3. Do not leave titanium to air dry if you don’t want your jewelry to look spotted afterwards. Pat the items dry with a clean, soft towel to blow your pieces dry. We recommend the use of a gas duster (also known as can of compressed air) or a hair dryer. Considering that most of the Metropolis Collection pieces are made using several metal layers joined together through cold connections, a correct dry process is very important to minimize humidity between the layers.
Other mechanical and/or chemical cleaning methods:
- Avoid ionic cleaners, as these devices generate controlled electrical current that passes through metals and this may damage the oxide layer of titanium.
- Cleaning jewelry pieces in a dishwasher is not advised (heat and harsh detergents will eventually whiten the silver).
- Remember to be careful when cleaning anodized titanium jewelry containing gemstones: Many of them can be damaged by ultrasonic cleaners or some jewelry cleaning solutions, so these options are not recommended unless you are certain that they are safe for your stones; in addition, make sure that the anodized titanium surface do not suffer from rubbing (that will scratch the color). Choose a cleaning method that is appropriate for the particular gemstones you have and will not damage them. Diamonds are quite durable, but softer gems should be handled with care. For example, pearls and opals are especially vulnerable.
- Avoid metal cleaning solutions or polishing cloths of any type when cleaning titanium. These products may have an abrasive action that will damage the oxide layer of titanium.
- Silver tarnish is easily removed when first noticed (usually as a yellowish tint). It will become increasingly difficult to deal with as it turns to light brown and eventually black. Occasionally washing an object with a non-lemon-scented phosphate-free detergent is preferred to waiting until tarnish forms and gets so stubborn that polishes have to be employed (remember that all polishes have some degree of abrasion.) Use a large cotton ball and rotate it regularly to expose unused surfaces, as elements in the tarnish itself can be very abrasive. For further information regarding silver cleaning, we recommend you the website of the renowned expert Jeffrey Herman.
Extra conservation tips
- Ideally, do not use hairspray, make-up of, perfume or sunscreen on areas that are adorned with jewelry (cosmetics and perfumes all conspire to cloud the brilliance of precious metals and gemstones). In any case, if you apply any comestics do it before putting on your pearls and let it dry first.
- Use common sense when wearing your jewelry and avoid impact damage by removing your titanium jewelry when engaging in activities that can expose your items to the risk of bumps, hits and damage.
- If your titanium jewelry piece contains other metals such as gold, silver or platinum, avoid wearing it when you are in the shower or in the swimming pool. The chlorine found in the water can damage the other metals in your titanium jewelry.
- Storage is very important: a container that locks out air is preferable, since reducing contact with air will slow corrosion; many jewelry stores have specialized bags and boxes available that help prevent tarnishing. Keep jewelry in separate bags, away from other hard items that may scratch surfaces. Avoid excessive humidity and direct sunlight if possible.
- Please, keep in mind that Decimononic jewelry pieces are not intended for children.
Treat your jewelry pieces with care. Store them smartly, wear them gently and keep them clean, as this will let you enjoy them as long as possible!