Why Noël Yovovich Loves Titanium and How to Create Colorful Titanium Jewelry
I love titanium. It feels like my special technique to me. The extra something that allows me to make my jewelry colorful, painterly, really uniquely my own. By the same token, I want other jewelry artists to know about titanium jewelry making and try it, because I know their work will be different from mine and I want to share this wonderful technique that few people currently use.
Titanium is a metal, an element, like silver, gold, and iron. It’s one of what are called the “reactive metals,” which is a bit hard to understand since it’s used to make replacement hips and pins to hold broken bones precisely because it doesn’t react with your body. But it does react to heat or voltage, by turning an amazing series of brilliant, permanent colors. It is also very light, very strong, and quite inexpensive.
Titanium can be sawed, filed, drilled, but not soldered, at least not in an oxygen atmosphere. So in most titanium jewelry uses, it needs to be cold joined–riveted, wire wrapped, or set like a stone in a bezel (my particular favorite). It can be bent or domed, but it can’t be annealed like other jewelry metals (because if you heat it, it changes color), and it can be difficult to polish.
Color, Imagery, and Light
What it can do, though, like no other material, is be textured and colored, giving it unlimited creative potential. What I personally love to do with it is create colorful textures and detailed imagery. And you can learn exactly how to do that in my video, How to Color Titanium for Jewelry.
One of the things I love about creating imagery on titanium–and this is something I didn’t have time to go into in my video–is the way it reflects light. The way texture on titanium catches light is totally unlike any other material. The same texture and color that leap out at you from one angle can disappear from another. So, when you hold a piece or wear it and it moves around, it shifts and changes. This gives it a unique illusion of depth, an animated quality, a life all its own, especially because when jewelry is worn, it is constantly in motion.
This quality also makes it a challenge to photograph, of course. It took my photographer a while to figure out how to make my titanium and silver work look its best. Worth it, though, in my opinion!
In my pendant called “I’ll be Waiting,” the upstairs window is cut through the silver and copper to show yellow titanium behind it. When you tilt the piece back and forth, the “light” seems to go on and off, because the yellow looks black from some angles. By contrast, the sky was sand-blasted using glass beads before I colored it, so it looks velvety and deep.
And look how the colors pop in the piece titled “Gone Home,” about my long-ago home in Florida. The sky is part sand-blasted, part brightly textured, to show you a gorgeous Florida sunset.
I never get tired of exploring what I can do with anodized titanium. I hope you’ll try it too!
Explore the world of colorful, unique titanium with Noël in her video workshop, How to Color Titanium for Jewelry.