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Niobium

Plum Violet

Plum Violet

Broccoli

Broccoli

Blueberry

Blueberry

This is one of our favourite metals to work with here at Jewellery my Design, with its vast array of colours and finishes it really does lend itself to some VERY eye catching designs and some very trendy colours, whether to match with a particular outfit or provide a quirky accent Niobium is definitely one to try. This is especially true if you are prone to metal allergies as Niobium is a Hypo-Allergenic metal and therefore suitable for everyone.

The niobium oxide layer is very fragile and care should be taken when wearing any quality jewellery. Niobium makes a great addition to jewellery, but it should never be worn constantly. All of your jewellery should be worn with care – it’s not meant to be worn to bed or swimming or cleaning and other household tasks.

The following is an excerpt from The Periodic Table: An Indispensable Pocket-sized Guide to the Elements  by Paul Parsons

Used in jewellery and body piercings, niobium rather suits its exotic name, which is derived from Niobe, daughter of King Tantalus in Greek Mythology.

Niobium is a soft, shiny grey metal when pure and has no known biological role.  It was discovered in 1801 by the British chemist, Charles Hatchett.

Like titanium, tantalum and aluminium, niobium can be heated and anodised (a process that increases the thickness of the oxide layer on the surface of the metal, thus boosting its resistance to corrosion). This creates myriad beautiful colours as light is passed through the oxide layers.

As niobium is hypoallergenic as well as resistant to corrosion, it's a good choice for jewellery.

"Niobium may not be a household name, but if you have a pacemaker fitted, or have ever had an MRI scan to detect medical conditions, you owe a lot to this intriguing metal"

The following has been Reproduced with the permission of chainweavers.com (our suppliers)

 Niobium (Nb) is a very ductile, malleable metal which is very slow to work-harden. The oxide layer, though harder than the niobium itself, is less than 1/10 the thickness of a human hair and is relatively fragile. Abrasion will quickly wear the oxide layer, so you really don’t want to go building sand castles while wearing your niobium.

Nb is also hypoallergenic and extremely corrosion resistant. Colors are much more vibrant than titanium but are difficult to accurately reproduce using photographic methods for printing and/or computer display. We have done our best to show accurate representations of our colors but the differences between computer monitors and printers make this task difficult at best.

Nb is one of several ‘reactive’ metals which are anodized using electricity with no dyes or pigments. Voltage creates varying thickness oxide layers which produce colors by interference. These oxide layers range from 50 millionths of a millimeter to 100 millionths of a millimeter in thickness. Light is reflected from the oxide surface and from the metal surface slightly delayed. It is the interference between these two reflections that either cancel a color wavelength or enhance a color wavelength of light. The thickness of the clear oxide layer determines the interference wavelength / color. It is this interference that also allows the color to vary dependent upon the viewing angle. This color shift is more pronounced for some colors i.e.: blueberry (blue-purple) and rhubarb (pink/green). By the way, our rhubarb color has yet to be duplicated by any other niobium ring supplier. As the name suggests, the color shifts from pink to pale green depending upon the angle of the ambient light and viewing angle.

Anodizing niobium is NOT an exacting science. There are many variables which prevent results from being repeated by using an exact recipe. If the person who “wrote the bible” on anodizing niobium cannot do it; we certainly have no expectation of being capable of reproducing exact results. 

 

 

To view the full range of colours click here

 

Website Created by Fiona Barron, JMD

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