In your search for skin-safe, nickel-free, and hypoallergenic jewelry, you may have come across cobalt jewelry pieces. These kinds of jewelry are classy, elegant, and look really good, but should you buy cobalt jewelry if you have sensitive skin?
Well, keep reading for more insights into cobalt jewelry and whether this kind of jewelry would be ideal for you or not.
What is cobalt?
Well, cobalt refers to a transitional metal that doesn’t occur in isolation in nature, but it is No. 27 on the periodic table and has many properties that make it similar to metals like platinum, tungsten, or silver. Often, cobalt is bonded with copper or nickel during its mining process, and it cannot be used in jewelry making in its pure form.
The thing that stands out with cobalt is the fact that cobalt is well known for its lustrous and deep blue color, and it’s been used in jewelry, especially with rings where bold pigmentation was necessary. It’s also been used by jewelry since the earliest days, and it was used by ancient Egyptians and other ancient tribes.
But where did it get its name from?
Well, this relatively rare element occurs in nature in the earth’s core, and it’s mined from underground veins. Cobalt is a German-derived name from ‘kobald’, which is German for evil spirit or a gobbling. This name came about after superstitious miners came about the cobalt core when mining.
The official discovery of cobalt, however, dates back to 1735, and cobalt as a standalone metal was added to the periodic table afterward, with the name ‘kobald’ changed to cobalt. There are no superstitions attached to cobalt today, and this metal is a highly valued, versatile, and very useful metal used in jewelry making, among other industries.
What makes cobalt stand out in the jewelry world is the fact that cobalt is one of the most durable metal alloys that is not only lightweight but also up to 4x harder than platinum, which is metal that looks like its perfect alternative. And thanks to the natural hardness of cobalt, it is highly resistant to scratching, corrosion, and even chipping. You may also like its low-density nature, along with the fact that cobalt boasts a high degree of malleability, meaning that it gives you the opportunity to create strong and very dynamic jewelry designs that are lightweight and comfortable.
It’s worth noting that the cobalt used in jewelry is actually cobalt chrome, which is now one of the most popular metal options used in jewelry today, especially in making wedding bands for men. Its color profile, durability, and corrosion resistance make cobalt the perfect alternative for platinum and white gold.
Why is cobalt used in jewelry making?
As mentioned above, the kind of cobalt that is used in the jewelry world is actually not pure cobalt but an alloy.
For use in making jewelry, cobalt is alloyed with metals such as tungsten, iron, and chromium. In most cases, the chromium content used is quite high, and the cobalt jewelry is ideally made of cobalt chrome.
But there are times where cobalt is alloyed with a cheaper metal like nickel. Although the resultant jewelry is durable, this kind of jewelry is very problematic for persons struggling with nickel allergies, so you’d have to be careful about the cobalt jewelry you are buying and the metals alloyed with it. Avoid the cobalt jewelry with nickel.
Is Cobalt Hypoallergenic?
The cobalt chrome often used in jewelry is very safe to wear, and it’s highly hypoallergenic. As a result, cobalt chrome is often used to manufacture the best varieties of surgical equipment, as well as joint and dental implants.
The use of cobalt in this way shows that cobalt chrome is bio-compatible, and you wouldn’t have to worry about getting or suffering an adverse skin reaction when you wear jewelry made of cobalt.
But you should avoid cobalt that is alloyed with nickel because it would only spark and worsen skin allergies. If you have sensitive skin, opt for a nickel-free cobalt alloy.
If you guys want to know more about jewelry metals, please read this full guide: What Metal Jewelry is Hypoallergenic?
Detailed pros and cons of Cobalt jewelry
- Cobalt boasts a lustrous appearance and finish
If you are looking for the best white jewelry but cannot afford the high price tag that is associated with platinum or white gold, cobalt chrome jewelry would be the perfect option for you. Cobalt chrome rings boast a high reflective index, with a nice gleam that looks like what you see on white gold but at no extra cost. The best part is that the cobalt jewelry doesn’t corrode or get tarnished easily, meaning you wouldn’t have to worry about the need to constantly polish or replate the ring, as you would with a white gold ring. Its ability to retain its original color for a long time means that the jewelry looks great for many years to come.
- Color versatility
Even with the high demand and overall preference for silver-hued cobalt jewelry, the black cobalt rings and jewelry varieties are now the highly sought-after accessories for individuals who like the unique and striking appearance of black cobalt pieces, especially if you would like to try out something modern and different.
Cobalt is relatively affordable when compared to different precious metals, but it looks just as good as precious metals, which means that if you are looking to save your money and invest in quality at the same time, Cobalt would be the ideal option for you.
Cobalt chrome jewelry is cheaper than platinum or white gold, but it can be more expensive than tungsten or titanium jewelry.
Keep in mind, however, that branding and the workmanship of cobalt will influence the overall price of cobalt jewelry. But it is significantly cheaper than most other high-grade metals.
- It’s durable
This is the other winning aspect of cobalt jewelry that makes it a preferable metal option for most people looking for something different.
Cobalt boasts a very high degree of scratch and corrosion resistance, and it generally lasts longer. A cobalt ring will not easily break, get scratched, or have a loose form.
When compared to tungsten or titanium, however, cobalt is not as hard but still harder than palladium, gold, or platinum.
You will be happy to know that these rings will not warp or bend when under pressure. In emergency situations, the cobalt ring can be cut safely.
- Easy maintenance
The cobalt chrome jewelry doesn’t require constant maintenance when compared to jewelry made of platinum or white gold that tends to get scratched easily, calling for constant polishing, and in other cases, re-plating. Cobalt rings last years before you can even think of polishing, even with rough wear.
Cobalt chrome jewelry is hypoallergenic and safe on your skin, especially if you struggle with skin allergies.
- Cobalt jewelry is lightweight and feels comfortable when worn
- The rings would be hard to resize
- There are limited designs for the ring, and not many options for women
- Hard to engrave
- Cobalt is not valuable because it is not a precious metal
Should you buy Cobalt jewelry?
Though hard to resize and you will not find cobalt rings in very intricate designs, cobalt jewelry is hypoallergenic, affordable, durable, and looks just as good as high-end jewelry made of platinum or white gold. And you should absolutely buy it if you are looking for something different.
Cobalt (cobalt chrome) jewelry is hypoallergenic and ideal for persons with sensitive skin. But you should avoid cobalt alloys with nickel in them. Read more jewelry metal posts here or 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.