The History of Titanium Jewelry
For some reason, there seems to be almost no information out there about the history of titanium jewelry. We figured we’d have to at least impart a bit of information for the curious out there.
Here is what we do know. The use of titanium in jewelry is a modern phenomenon, not something that human civilization has been involved with for a long time (as with gold). Titanium was only discovered in 1791, and an efficient method of adapting titanium ore to a usable metallic form for jewelry has only been with us for a matter of decades.
As far as we can remember, the first titanium jewelry was being sold in the early 1990s. Well before the craft reached its maturity (i.e. now), initial jewelers had even figured out “anodizing” – the almost magical process of bringing brilliant color to titanium (and some other materials) by applying an electrical charge to it.
It seems to be a complete mystery as to who exactly was the first to make titanium jewelry; however all we can offer is that Eric Pless here at Titanium Rings Studio was one of the first, so we often put these questions to him.
Eric is our chief designer (and, no less, our chief in general) and remembers experimenting with a sheet of titanium during the early 1990s. How he came to having the titanium to experiment with in the first place almost didn’t happen: Eric was on the phone ordering jewelry materials from his supplier, and decided on the spur of the moment to request a sheet of titanium, too. It was an off-hand decision that forever changed his destiny.
During these experiments, and watching how versatile and beautiful titanium was to work with, Eric knew that he would from that point on devote his working life to titanium jewelry.
To understand the gravity of this decision, you have to understand the craft at that point in history. For the experienced jewelry designers who made the switch to titanium, this was risky stuff. On the one hand, there is thousands of years of jewelry-making tradition (using materials like gold and silver) and a guaranteed market for it; on the other, a brand new metal for which there was no demand, let alone even common awareness (at the time). Eric chose the big question mark, but it paid off.That’s about it from our end, but if you can fill us in on some of these blanks, please get in contact with us. It’s not surprising that there’s now a Wikipedia page about titanium rings, given their rising popularity. We’ll add to this as we know more!
- Susan Smith