What is Black Zirconium?
Zirconium is an element and a metal very similar to titanium. As a matter of fact, you can’t tell a difference by looking at
It is slightly heaver than titanium, but not as heavy as stainless
steel. It has a unique property of being able to be turned black.
It is machined from solid bar the same way titanium rings are made from solid titanium.
Some rings are made from something called Black Titanium. It’s a
proprietary alloy of one large company, and it’s actually an alloy
of mostly zirconium with a little titanium thrown in for good
measure. It has more to do with marketing because people recognize the
term titanium, and not so many recognize zirconium. It’s the
zirconium that turns black; titanium doesn’t do that. The method and process
are exactly the same. My rings are crafted from pure zirconium and
The blackening process is interesting. The raw ring is the color of
titanium or stainless steel, and it gets heated to high heat in a specific
atmosphere. When this happens, zircon, a clear ceramic coating floats to the surface. The color changes to bronze, then to blue, then to
yellow and other colors as the heat increases. The color is caused by interference of light waves, the
same way that oil on a wet parking
lot gets its colors. Constructive interference of the lightwaves
creates a very pure blue and other colors.
As the heat increases, a second order of colors is formed over the
first. Then a third and fourth and more is added. As the oxide
gets thicker, the wavelengths of light reflecting off the surface
start destructively interfering, until nothing is left but a shiny
It has the look and slippery feel of Hematite. It is an extremely
inert surface, and zirconium is used in artificial knee joints for
The surface is also pretty hard, at a Mohs hardness of 8.4, where diamond is 10 and titanium is 6.5 and gold is around 3.
Because zirconium is a strong metal, special designs like any of
our tension sets can be made in it. There is also the possibility
through the oxide to create engraved or colored effects. The
imagination is the limiting factor on what’s possible. We also do
continuous inlay rings featuring inlays of hardwoods, meteorite,
stone, and acrylics.