What is Niobium jewelry?

BodyMods is passionate about educating and guiding clients to find the right pieces and styles of body modification for them. Because jewelry selection is an important aspect of your piercing experience, BodyMods has dedicated a section to niobium jewelry and body mods and help you get a clear insight into what this unique metal is and why it may be the right choice for you when picking out a jewelry piece for your piercing.  

Not many people have heard about niobium, but if you are fond of colorful pieces or have some kind of metal allergies, you may find this unique element very interesting and benefit from learning about it. 

Continue reading if you want to learn all there is to know about niobium and how it is the perfect choice for piercings for you.

What is Niobium

Have you seen colorful metal rings in jewelry shops? They are made of niobium. But have you wondered how a metal can have so many different colors? 

Niobium, also known as columbium, is a rare chemical element. It was named after Niobe, the daughter of Tantalus in Greek mythology. It is lustrous and greyish white in color, crystalline in nature and a malleable transition metal. When in pure form, its ductility is similar to iron, while its hardness can be compared with that of titanium. 

Around 85% of niobium comes from Brazil and is used in various commercial projects. For instance, it is normally used in alloys like stainless steel and aids in increasing the strength of the alloy. Alloys containing niobium are used in oil and gas pipelines, jet engines, girders and beams for buildings. Similarly, it is also used in making medical aids like pacemakers and prosthetics.

Niobium- a brief history

Niobium was first discovered in 1801 when Charles Hatchett, an English chemist, was investigating a mineral known as columbite. He added water and potassium carbonate to columbite, heated it and added an acid. This led to the formation of a metal, which Hatchett named columbium.

Until 1844, the discovery of columbium was questioned by scientists, who considered it to be another element. However, Heinrich Rose, a German chemist, endorsed Hatchett’s discovery in 1844. He isolated columbium and tantalum from columbite and chose to name it niobium instead of columbium.

Is niobium better than other metals used for body jewelry

Other metals commonly used for body jewelry include titanium and stainless steel. In terms of characteristics, niobium is quite similar to titanium, and jewelry fashioned out of pure niobium is at par with titanium jewelry. When acquiring a niobium jewelry piece, please ensure that it is made from pure niobium.

Both the metals are highly biocompatible and hypoallergenic. They are also nickel-free and do not corrode. However, titanium is a little lighter than niobium, but for small body piercing pieces, you cannot really tell the difference.

Moreover, niobium jewelry may be slightly on the pricier side. It can be attributed to the fact that the raw materials to make it are harder to procure, challenging to work with, and need specialized tools, particularly when fashioning small jewelry pieces. 

While stainless steel piercings are also popular, they are not suitable if you have nickel sensitivity. Jewelry made from 316L steel contains nickel. While the nickel is n bound in the steel alloy, it may pose a problem if you are sensitive to nickel.

Why use niobium for jewelry

Niobium is included as a metal on the APP’s (Association of Piercings Professionals) initial jewelry standards. 

Here’s why:

It is ductile

As suggested in an earlier section, niobium is ductile and can be used to make wires. Its ductility is a major reason why it is used in jewelry making. Since it is soft, insertion of the piercing is also easy. At the same time, it is durable and robust enough to resist scratches and prevent bacteria growth. 

It is beautiful

Niobium can be polished to give the jewelry piece a beautiful shine and polish. The silver-grey color of the metal looks beautiful when accented with gold, silver or copper and makes for beautiful pieces in contrasting colors. 

When anodized, niobium changes colors. When an electric current is run through the metal, the surface of the metal is covered with a thin layer of oxide. Varying voltages produce different oxide layers. Therefore, when light deflects through the oxide layers, the surface of niobium becomes colored. 

Since the metal is capable of forming a rainbow of colors, it makes for beautiful jewelry pieces. That is why niobium jewelry is such a popular choice at BodyMods. So, if you are fond of colorful jewelry, you have many options like purple, peacock blue or vibrant green etc. 

Similarly, niobium can also be heat-treated to make black-colored jewelry. It is safe for use as it does not have PVD coating, unlike black steel and will not peel or flake. 

It is safe for use

Another reason why it comes so highly recommended for jewelry is that it is hypoallergenic. Therefore, you do not have to be concerned about using it if you have allergic reactions to some kinds of metals. 

In its pure form, niobium is nickel-free. So, if you have not been able to wear metal jewelry in your piercings due to being sensitive to metal or having a nickel allergy, you may have just found a great alternative in the form of niobium jewelry. 

While it is common to have metal sensitivity, you can just as easily wear niobium jewelry in your ears. 

It is suitable for long-term wear

Another great characteristic is that it is resistant to corrosion, making it perfect for long-term wear. It does not react with body fluids and will not leave color on your skin, nor will it change colors. So, you do not have to worry about leaving it in for a longer period.   

It is easy to maintain

Since niobium does not react with body fluids or any other aspect of the wearer, you do not have to worry about your body piercing changing colors or tarnishing. Similarly, it is also very easy to clean. You can easily wash your piercing with soapy water and wipe it off with a soft cloth.

Get niobium jewelry at BodyMods today

At BodyMods, you will find premium niobium jewelry made of pure, unalloyed and high-grade niobium. We feature beautiful labrets, septum, navel, segment rings, barbells, etc., made from the highest quality niobium suited for all. 

Want to try niobium jewelry? Check out the collection featured at BodyMods today at https://www.bodymods.ca/product-category/body-jewellery/