In addition to the big three – platinum, gold and silver – there is a plethora of lightweight, modern‐looking and durable metals that have become popular for jewelry and wedding bands. Alternative or modern metals are especially popular with men, who appreciate their lightweight feel and extreme durability.
Cobalt jewelry is made from the same material used to build jet aircraft engines. Cobalt is harder than stainless steel and therefore, harder to scratch. Although not 100% scratch proof, cobalt is much harder than titanium and all other precious metals including platinum, gold and silver. Cobalt is also hypoallergenic. It is also used to make surgical tools and reconstructive implants for knees, spine and other areas.
Stainless steel is a metal with many uses. Most commonly, stainless steel is seen in kitchenware, appliances and hardware, stainless steel is also used to make watches and jewelry. Stainless steel is a silvery‐white color with a mirror finish that retains its shine and color very well and resists tarnishing. The most popular uses for stainless steel in jewelry are watches, bracelets, rings, earring posts and body jewelry since it is easy to clean, keeps a mirror shine and is strong enough for daily wear.
Titanium is versatile, lightweight and strong, with a silvery‐white metallic color. This metal is as strong as steel but is 45% lighter in weight, and is similar to platinum in its resistance to tarnishing. This metal has many uses ranging from armor plating, spacecraft and aircraft parts, to jewelry design. Titanium's strength, durability, and lustrous beauty make it an ideal choice for jewelry, especially for rings and bracelets that are subject to daily wear.
The name of this metal is derived from the Swedish words "tung sten" meaning "heavy stone." Tungsten is very heavy with a steel gray to tin‐white color and a lustrous finish. This metal has the highest melting point, and the most tensile strength of all metals. Due to the hardness of this metal, the shine is not apt to fade as with other metals that must be polished. Tungsten also has natural hypoallergenic properties that make it perfect for use in jewelry making.
Ceramic carbide is a relatively new in the jewelry arena. Ceramic carbide is a man‐made product – not the ceramic found in stoneware or pottery. Industrial ceramic carbide is extremely durable and nearly impossible to scratch. In combination with other materials like tungsten carbide, ceramic jewelry becomes the perfect choice for the active person. Ceramic carbide is also a material that people with metal allergies and sensitive skin can enjoy since it is completely hypoallergenic.