Caring For: Niobium    

In addition to being extremely non-allergenic, one of the fabulous properties of Niobium is that I can actually change the color of the metal. I would love to tell you more about the anodizing process, and also give you a few tips on how to care for your jewelry.

Niobium is one of a group of metals called “Reactive Metals.” This means that is can easily undergo chemical reactions when combined with certain other elements. When niobium is subjected to an electrical current in a bath of water with a specific soap solution, it causes a layer of niobium oxide to form. The niobium oxide is perfectly clear, but changes the refraction of light on the metal. As the thickness of this invisible layer changes, the color changes.

Although the beautiful colors in niobium are permanent, they only affect the outer layer of the metal. Most of the recommendations about jewelry care for anodized niobium relate to treating the outer layer with a degree of respect.

Tips to Protect Your Jewelry

Hairspray, Perfume & Cosmetics. Just remove your jewelry when you are applying your perfume, hair spray, make-up, or lotion. When you are actually spraying (i.e. hair spray or perfume), try to cover your jewelry in a pouch or container. It’s fine to wear your jewelry as usual when you use mild soap products such as hand soap, dish soap, or shampoo. 

Avoid Household Cleaners.  Just as you would with any jewelry you care about, remove your Anodized Niobium Jewelry before using any chemical household cleaners.

Avoid Chlorinated Pool Water. Chlorine is really bad for most jewelry. Just remove your jewelry before you go swimming. If you should happen to forget, rinse it off in clear water soon after you get out of the pool. 

Avoid Sweat. Okay, you’re not going to stop sweating, but it is preferable to remove the jewelry before exercising, and after a hot day it’s helpful to just rinse off your jewelry in clear water. Occasionally individuals will have something about their body chemistry that changes the color of their Anodized Niobium Jewelry, too. I’m not sure how to prevent this, but just know that if it happens, it’s okay, and your jewelry is still safe to wear.

Storing your Jewelry

It is ideal to tuck your jewelry in a soft pouch, plastic bag, or jewelry box when you store it. For my own jewelry, I just hang it on a rack where it won’t get bumped or bothered, and I don’t worry about it. Keeping it in a pouch provides the additional advantage of keeping dust off it though, so I recommend it.

Cleaning

You really shouldn’t have to clean your jewelry that often. Just rinse it off in clear tap water every now an then, and you should be fine. If you’re concerned about the purity of the tap water in your city, you can use filtered water or distilled water. If you feel you need to use soap, rinsing it in a cup with a small dab of mild dish washing liquid will do the trick. Just make sure that you DON’T scrub at your jewelry with anything abrasive, and that you DO rinse your jewelry thoroughly before you wear it again. Especially if you already have skin allergies, you may also be sensitive to soap, and you want to be sure the soap is gone from your jewelry before you wear it. To dry your jewelry, just pat it dry with a soft cloth, or allow it to air dry.

Fear Not

I worry that I cause too much worry about things that are really very simple.

By anodizing your jewelry on my own equipment, the rules of the road have drastically changed. I can give your anodized jewelry the most solid layer of color possible AFTER it is already formed into jewelry. This means that any stress I put on the wire during jewelry making won’t cause scratches or weak points in the color as I work on it. It also means that the color you choose truly matches throughout the piece. Clasps, earwires, and all the links of the chain are certain to match.

By anodizing your jewelry myself, I can also take your custom request about what color you really want. Please realize the photos I provide are close, but not a perfect representation of what your final piece will look like. Disclaimers about the photo being affected by lighting conditions, individual computer monitors, etc. apply. In truth, the colors of anodized niobium are complex, and as you turn the piece in the light, you will actually see impressions of the “neighboring” colors from the chart. I can also create a spectrum of color for “rainbow” effect.

By the way, the natural steel-gray color of niobium is still fabulous, so don’t think that I’ve given up on it. “Natural Gray” is still the right color for many pieces, and will always be a great choice.

No Additives or Trans-Fat

The beauty of it is that, unlike some colored metals, Anodized Niobium has not been plated, dyed, or coated with any foreign materials. As a person with sensitive skin, you’ve learned that you have to ask questions others don’t. The layers of color sometimes have other “stuff” in them that you just don’t need. You should know that Anodized Niobium is still pure niobium all the way through. So really, just relax, and enjoy your jewelry. 


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