Completely nickel free, Niobium is an excellent piercing jewelry material. It makes an especially great alternative for people who haven’t been able to wear metal jewelry in their piercings because of nickel allergies or metal sensitivities. While I don’t call any metal hypoallergenic because there’s always the possibility of a reaction, I do consider Niobium as close to hypoallergenic as a piercing metal can get.
So, why does Niobium make such a great body safe piercing material? Because nothing is alloyed with the metal - Niobium is elemental, lending it the characteristic of being highly biocompatible. Another huge perk is that it has virtually no susceptibility to tarnish. This makes maintaining your jewelry super easy!
Aesthetically, Niobium is a lustrous grey metal which polishes to a beautiful, shiny finish extremely readily. I love how well the dark grey color pairs with silver and gold accents - the resulting contrast makes very eye catching jewelry. If you aren’t a fan of the natural grey color, Niobium piercing jewelry can also be anodized to create many colorful options, like purple, lime green, and peacock blue. The only downside to anodizing endless-style nose rings is that eventually the color will fade over time as the ring is opened and closed.
It’s important to note that anodizing is not the same as plating metal. Anodized Niobium and titanium are safe for body piercings because the color actually comes from an inert oxide layer that forms on the surface of the metal when it is exposed to oxygen. Both metals naturally form a thin, clear oxide layer with exposure to oxygen – the anodizing process just takes this step further to create a thicker oxide layer, which in turn creates a rainbow of vibrant colors. The thickness of the oxide layer is what determines the color. Although the color will fade eventually, it does not scratch off.
On the other hand, the color of plated jewelry can flake off, which makes it an unsuitable piercing jewelry material – especially for long-term wear.
It’s important to make sure the Niobium piercing jewelry you’re buying is pure and high quality because lesser grades of Niobium can cause a reaction in some individuals. I use Type 2 Niobium in my jewelry work, which is an unalloyed, high quality, commercially pure material – it’s also made in the USA.
Interested in trying out a Niobium nose ring or tragus hoop? Check out my available Niobium jewelry !
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