Cobalt chrome has become one of the most desired metals for making jewelry, not just because of its silky-white, metallic look resembling white gold and platinum, but also because of its outstanding durability grades. Hence, the reason why modern men love wearing cobalt chrome jewelry. They treasure it as an option that can perfectly shoulder their look and lifestyle. Stay with us to learn more about this precious metal and its place in the fine jewelry world.
WHAT IS COBALT CHROME?
Cobalt chrome is an alloy used to make jewelry that will stand the test of time. The base metal is cobalt, which is a pure element with magnetic properties. (Additional info: chrome diopside is a gemstone-quality mineral, not metal). This makes cobalt chrome different from the other similar-looking metals, such as palladium, platinum, sterling silver, tungsten and titanium. Thanks to this singular property, cobalt is classified as a “transition” metal. Therefore, it is often mixed with chrome in order to eliminate the magnetic property and become a conventional jewelry-wearing option. Apart from chrome, cobalt can be also alloyed with other metals, including iron, carbon, tungsten and manganese.
THE MAIN PROPERTIES
Cobalt is one of the metals with the highest melting point (2723°F), meaning that it will remain solid at extreme temperatures. The most fascinating thing about it is that it will also retain its magnetic performance, which is nothing similar to the other precious metals you have ever heard of. In terms of hardness, cobalt ranks 5 on the Mohs scale, thus representing the durability of a precious metal at its finest. It is said that cobalt has impressive catalytic attributes (*used as an accelerator in chemical reactions). Learn more about this matter here.
We already said that outstanding durability is one of the primary benefits of wearing cobalt chrome jewelry. But, it is not the only one. There is a range of advantages related to this precious metal, such as:
» light and comfortable wear
» corrosion resistance
» unlikely to cause an allergic reaction (hypoallergenic)
Note that cobalt chrome has hypoallergenic properties when it is not alloyed with nickel. If you are prone to allergies, ask your jeweler about the metal composition of the jewelry you are interested to buy.
No precious metal is perfect, neither is cobalt chrome. These are the cons that it brings along:
» difficult to resize
» limited styles (not widely used in women’s jewelry)
The name of this jewelry metal is derived from “kobold”, a word of German origin that means “evil spirit”. However, the origins of its existence date back to Ancient Egypt, when people used cobalt to make pottery. In the world of chemistry and mineralogy, Georg Brandt is the name that stands out when it comes to the cobalt discovery. This famous Swedish scientist is known in history as the first person who discovered cobalt as a precious metal, although it had been around for centuries. This event took place in 1735. The next milestone in cobalt’s history happened in the 1900’s when Elwood Haynes, an American automotive entrepreneur developed the first cobalt alloy that was corrosion resistant and nickel-free. The alloy was made with chromium and it was named “satellite”. Basically, this is how this fantastic formula was brought to our industry and introduced the making-of cobalt chrome jewelry.
WHAT ARE THE OTHER USES OF COBALT?
The extraordinary properties of cobalt also find a great use in medicine. Thus, cobalt is widely used for making joint and dental implants that stand for outstanding quality and functionality.
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF COBALT CHROME JEWELRY?
The radiance of cobalt comes naturally, meaning that cobalt chrome jewelry does not require to be plated, which is generally the case with other precious metals, such as silver and white gold. In terms of cleaning and maintenance, cobalt chrome jewelry is ideally cleaned with a mild soapy water and a soft cloth. To retain its original sparkle and fresh look, it is recommended to take the jewelry to the retailer you bought it from for a re-polish.