Implant grade titanium and surgical steel are some of the most popular metals used in the making of various pieces of body jewelry. But what are the differences between these two jewelry metals?
With the growing popularity of body piercings, everyone must know that not all body jewelry is suitable for your new piercing. You should take the necessary precautions in considering which metals are best for your new piercing to ensure you do not experience an allergic reaction or skin irritation. The same applies to people with sensitive skin or metal allergies.
Implant grade titanium and surgical steel are some of the metals suitable for body piercing jewelry. They are non-allergenic and non-toxic when exposed to various bodily fluids and tissues, ensuring your piercing heals appropriately without any complications. Let us discover other properties of these two metals when used in making jewelry.
Implant grade titanium vs. surgical steel
Many jewelers use implant grade metals to make items worn in or on the body. Many of these metal alloys have an ASTM ‘F’ specification certification to show they are suitable quality for use in medical applications. It is vital to ascertain that the ‘F specs’ are implant grade as opposed to surgical grade. However, both grades go through ‘vacuum melting,’ whereby the removal of impurities occurs, and stainless steel gets a smoother surface layer that prevents leaching of elements, like nickel, into the body.
Both implant grade titanium and surgical steel are biocompatible elements suitable for making body jewelry. Here are some differences between the two metals.
The differences between implant grade titanium and surgical steel
As mentioned earlier, you must understand the differences in piercing jewelry materials and their quality to ensure you are not compromising your health and appearance in the long-term. Implant grade titanium and surgical steel are an excellent option for your initial piercing jewelry. However, not all grades of these metals are ideal for jewelry.
316LVM and 316L stainless steel are more resistant to the body’s immune system as opposed to lesser grade stainless steel metals. These two grades of stainless steel comply with ASTM F138 Standards, which is the organization that establishes the safety guidelines for different types of materials used in making children’s toys, aircraft materials, and body jewelry. As such, they possess anti-corrosive benefits, reducing the chances of infections occurring.
Individuals with metal hypersensitivity should use implant grade titanium rather than surgical steel as it is the most hypoallergenic metal available in the market. Titanium is an elemental metal and does not contain any traces of nickel. The most preferred grade of titanium for initial piercings is ASTM F136 compliant. However, all grades of titanium are ideal for piercings as they do not contain any nickel, unlike stainless steel. It is resistant to bodily fluids and tissues and completely biocompatible.
Pros and cons of implant grade titanium
Titanium is a silver-colored and lustrous transition metal that contains low density but still exceptionally strong. The metal’s low density makes it extremely malleable and easy to shape into various designs suitable for body jewelry. It is also highly resistant to corrosion and scratching and has the highest weight-to-density ratio of ay metallic element. The metal is inert in nature, making it a perfect choice for making body jewelry.
This elemental metal combines with other metals, like aluminum and iron, to make it lightweight and more durable for other purposes, like making aerospace, military, and medical equipment. The metal is easily anodized to create a wide range of colors without affecting its quality. It also has relatively low thermal and electrical conductivity.
Implant grade titanium is quite expensive compared to surgical steel body jewelry. Like other traditional jewelry metals, it costs quite a bit to get genuine implant grade titanium jewelry. Similarly, titanium jewelry cannot undergo resoldering to increase or reduce its size due to its incredible tensile strength. Therefore, you cannot make your titanium ring smaller or larger. You will have to get a replacement.
Pros and cons of surgical steel
There are several grades of surgical stainless steel available in the market. Surgical steel is a type of stainless steel made from specific alloys, including nickel, iron, chromium, and carbon.
The biocompatible grades are 316L and 316LVM surgical steel, meaning they rarely cause any allergic reactions when used in making body jewelry. These grades have low-carbon materials, and their alloys are trapped inside the metal through a special process to ensure they do not escape from the material.
Surgical steel is also quite affordable and easily accessible, making it the most common material used in making body jewelry in the United States today.
It is highly resistant to corrosion, tarnishing, and scratching, and incredibly durable. The metal is also lightweight, comfortable to wear, and easily malleable to make various designs for body jewelry. In case of emergencies, surgical steel jewelry can be easily cut off using regular equipment cutting tools.
Despite its ease of access and affordability, surgical steel jewelry comes in limited styles and designs. More so, after a few years of use, its jewelry may lose its shine and polishing; thus, requiring re-polishing to restore it.
Resizing surgical steel rings is difficult due to its high melting point. More so, Buyers should beware that some jewelry labeled as ‘surgical steel’ is misleading as some manufacturers try to get the most out of their clients with counterfeit goods. Often, such products contain low-quality stainless steel that contains large amounts of nickel, causing an allergic reaction.
Jewelers use several metals in making body jewelry. Implant grade titanium and surgical steel are some of the most body-friendly metals available in the market. However, buyers must make sure that they understand the grades of these two metals and which is the most ideal for use. Guys, if you love our post, please do not feel hesitated to share with your friends. Let them know more about our educational posts here.
Tiger is a fashion&jewelry lover. He is also a fashion jewelry manufacturer that help thousands of small business to grow and also do business with some big fashion jewelry brands. He is a truly metal expert and he will share some information you are looking for.