As you shop around for jewelry, you’ve probably noticed the terms anodized jewelry, electroplated jewelry and even PVD plating. What’s the difference?
Let’s start with the basic difference between electroplating and anodizing. Electroplating involves coating one metal surface with another metal, whereas anodizing involves thickening the naturally occurring oxide layer on the surface of the metal surfaces.
So how does the anodization process work? Anodizing involves running an electric current through the jewelry while it is immersed in an electrolyte acid solution. This draws a layer of oxide particles to the surface of the jewelry that changes the color of the piece. The color of the metal will change based on the voltage of the electricity that is used.
Several metals can be anodized, but titanium and niobium will be the safest and best for body jewelry. Anodized titanium is safe and durable, since no other metals are introduced in the process. The thicker oxide layer that’s created during anodization makes the jewelry stronger.
- One thing to note is that while anodized titanium is durable, the color can fade over time. It will not won’t peel or flake, but being only 1 to 2 nanometers thick, it will wear down.
Here at Bodyartforms, we offer anodized titanium from our vendors as well as the option to anodize pieces in house. You will see the option to do so if there’s a dropdown menu when selecting the jewelry.
Electroplating is similar to anodizing. The jewelry is placed in a bath of electrolyte solution and then an electrical current is applied causing microscopic particles of the metal in the desired color to deposit on the jewelry. This process is often used for surface finishing to make the jewelry more aesthetically pleasing.
Electroplated jewelry is cost effective and has increased resistance against corrosion and wear. But like all other jewelry, the color can start to peel or fade with regular wear and tear.
Another type of plating method is PVD plating or physical vapor deposition. During this plating method, metals like steel or titanium jewelry pieces are heated to an incredible high temperature in a sealed vacuum with the material that will be used for coating. During the process, the material moves from a condensed vapor to a thin solid film on the jewelry surface. PVD plating is used to create many colors including black, which can’t be done with anodization.
Even though the coating is very thin, it is very hard, which makes the jewelry scratch and wear resistant. Like the other methods we mentioned, regular wear and tear will affect the jewelry. Over time, PVD jewelry can fade and even chip.
If you’re ready to shop for jewelry, check out our website at Bodyartforms.com. All of the jewelry on our site will include the material information, so you know exactly what you’re buying. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot us an email.
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