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Implant grade titanium is hands down the best material to have in your piercing. Sometimes people are drawn to other metals because they can be plated with different, more interesting colors. Luckily, titanium can be anodized to mostly any colors – it can even be changed to reflect different patterns! You likely have piercers around that can anodize your jewelry for you and they usually do it for free or cheap!
Titanium vs. other materials
Titanium is by far the cheapest metal that can be worn in body piercings. A lot of people want their piercings to look unique, so they may shy away from a regular silver metal. Luckily, titanium can be anodized, which changes the color! Other healthy metals that can be worn in piercings include gold (which can of course be gold, white gold, or rose gold), niobium, which can also be anodized and platinum.
The problems with plating
Some people opt for plating when changing the color of a piercing. Plating can be okay as long as it is plated with a good material and also the material underneath is implant grade. The problem occurs because most of the jewelry that is plated instead of anodized is only plated to hide the fact that the material underneath is subpar and unhealthy for a healing piercing. Just like anodization, plating wear away which will eventually cause the material underneath to touch your piercing.
While it may appear to be magic, anodization is simply an electrolytic finishing process that changes the oxide layer of the titanium with an electric current. The can be done very quickly and if your piercer has an anodizer in the building, it can also be done cheaply. Most of the time, anodizing a piece of jewelry will cost between $5-$10 at the piercer. Anodizing titanium is completely safe as it is not adding any other material to the titanium, it is simply changing the color.
Titanium color options
The most popular colors to anodize titanium include blue and purple. Titanium can also be anodized yellow so it can appear to be gold jewelry for a fraction of the price. Finally, the other color options for titanium are green and brown. If your piercer has a lot of experience with anodization, they can even anodize different parts of the jewelry different colors so it appears to be patterned! The most common pattern for titanium anodization is striped, but it can also be done in a sort of “oil slick” kind of way.
Anodizing titanium black
Unfortunately the most common color people want their jewelry to be is black. Titanium cannot be anodized black. If you find any black jewelry that claims to be titanium, it is most likely titanium that is plated with an unhealthy material. Luckily, niobium, which is another healthy option for healing piercings, can be anodized black! So if black jewelry is a must have, simply make the equally healthy switch to niobium. Niobium can be a little more expensive than titanium, but not nearly as expensive as gold.
Does titanium anodization wear off?
Titanium anodization will eventually wear off to reveal the natural silver color. An anodized piece of jewelry will keep its coloring anywhere from 8 months to 2 years. Luckily, because anodization is such a quick and cheap procedure, you can simply go visit your piercer, they will take out your jewelry, re-apply the coloring, and put the jewelry back in for you for roughly $10-$15 and 30 minutes. Please keep in mind that tipping your piercer for any visit is always expected.
How to keep anodization as long as possible
Anodized colors will eventually wear off, but they are especially susceptible to scratches. Piercings that go in and around the mouth will have their coloring worn away faster. The coloring will also wear away if the piercing is in a particularly sweaty area such as the genitals. In order to keep your coloring as long as possible, you should avoid touching it and knocking it as much as possible.
Don’t avoid having a safe and healthy metal in your piercing just because you want your jewelry to be more unique. Anodization is a process that can be applied to both titanium and niobium. Between the two of them, you can have healthy jewelry in any color! Anodization is likely something your piercer can do for you in house and will only cost $5-$15 and 15 minutes.