Titanium's popularity with jewelers growing

Thu Sep 1, 2011 7:49am EDT
 
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By Silvia Antonioli and David Brough

London (Reuters) - Titanium, a minor metal used in the aerospace industry and in wiry spectacles, is gaining favor in jewelry design for its lightness, rigidity, antiallergenic qualities and ability to be transformed into bold colors.

Several up-and-coming Italian jewelry designers interviewed by Reuters this week said titanium, one of the most abundant elements in the earth's crust, is an increasingly popular choice for their creations because it is much cheaper and lighter than gold and other precious raw materials.

"For the same weight as gold, I can design a much bigger surface area in titanium, which makes the metal ideal for larger earrings," said Milan-based Alessia Ansaldi of Alessia Ansaldi Design.

Mattia Cielo, whose award-winning Vicenza-based company has been at the forefront of titanium jewelry design in recent years, said, "Titanium makes it possible to produce big pieces, which would be heavy if produced with other metals."

Cielo added, "Titanium currently represents about 5-10 percent of what we produce, but it will surely grow to high double digits soon."

Titanium, a hard metal suitable for jewelry, weighs a quarter of gold and costs a fraction of the price of gold and silver, although titanium prices have more than doubled over the past two years due to tightness of availability of supplies from top producer China.

HIGH INDUSTRIAL COSTS

The increasing use of titanium in jewelry is part of a global trend to use new materials, partially in response to soaring prices of precious metals, designers said.   Continued...