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Is Titanium Really Worth It

October 17, 2017
by Anesa McGregor , Emmetsburg News

Since the 1990s, titanium has been used more and more to produce rings, but is this really a good choice? I have an interesting story about a titanium ring that I will tell you shortly. First, I want to give you some insight as to why titanium is used as a ring and why a person should stay away from it as a ring.

Titanium is the ninth most abundant element in the Earth's crust, which makes it easy to find and inexpensive. A shinning element with a silver color; it is highly resistant to corrosion and is biocompatible (hypoallergenic). It also has a low density making it light, yet at the same time, very strong. In fact, titanium has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any crystalline metal, and it is extremely durable. But sometimes simply because something has unique properties, doesn't always mean it's the best.

Because titanium is hypoallergenic, it does not interact with human skin making it safe for everyone to wear. Because it is highly resistant to corrosion, it is not affect by seawater or chlorine in seawater or pools. Simply put, it will not tarnish.

Mostly 99 percent pure metal is used for jewelry, making it strong and durable; being able to withstand very high levels of stress while being stretched or pulled before failing or breaking. Titanium rings will not change color over time meaning it requires less maintenance in the long run. Finally, titanium can be colored because it is one of the so-called reactive metals. When it is exposed to heat, an oxide layer develops that appears brightly colored, even though there is no pigment whatsoever.

But for all these positives, there are just as many negatives.

The strength of titanium can be a double edge sword. Titanium rings are very hard to cut (even with the proper tools) and very hard, if not impossible to re-size if needed.

The cost of titanium is cheaper than gold and platinum; however, because of the strength of the metal, the labor cost of making a piece of jewelry is higher. Titanium is not considers a Nobel Metal. Gold and platinum has been used for jewelry for thousands of years and titanium is relatively new and does not have the same value.

Another major downside to titanium is the fact that it is lacking in versatility. Soldering and prong settings cannot be used with titanium.

Now to my story, someone I know has a titanium ring. Working with tools and outside, this person's fingers shrink or swell depending on the temperature. Not wanting to lose the ring, it was put on the index finger during the last week we had of cooler temps. Not remembering it was on the index finger, by the time it was noticed it was too late.

The index finger had swollen during a weekend of warmer weather and the more he tried to get it off, the more swollen the finger became. Inevitably, a trip to the emergency room was to say the least interesting. See, it was not known exactly what the ring was made of because it had been a gift.

A regular ring cutter did not even scratch the ring. The emergency room personnel tried what they call the string trick. Keep in mind, the more things that were tried, the more the finger swelled. Finally an orthopedic doctor who was at the clinic was called and with much determination and a lot of twisting, pulling and squeezing, the ring finally came off. The finger however looked terrible. It was so purple at the tip it was almost black. An area in the middle of the finger above, including and below the knuckle was pure white. Then the finger was red and finally, there was a ring of white where the titanium ring had been. This all happened a week ago at the finger is still numb between the hand and the knuckle although luck was on this person's side because the finger was not amputated and appears to be fine.

I share this story only to make you think about purchasing a titanium ring. Is it really worth it?



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