Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Exotic metals for black jewelry

We’ve recently started to get a number of clients asking for black jewelry, particularly bands. This topic has been covered in a few older posts, but since they are all from a number of years ago, we’re interested in understanding if there is any new consensus/information among the community.

For anyone making black jewelry, what types of metals do you recommend using? Are there differences in the casting or finishing process for using these exotic metals?

Are there any coating techniques that can provide a black finish on silver or gold that do not wear off quickly?

  1. There are no black metals period, end of story.
  2. All “black” metals are coatings of various kinds
  3. Coatings wear off, some faster and some slower but any item that will see high wear like rings are not a good candidate for any kind of coating.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


1 Like

What Jim said.
Trust me.
-Jo Haemer


I don’t know about black metal period but I do know that ANY coating will
wear off.
Even ceramic coatings will do but it will take longer.
Patina like the ones used on tsuba’s with rokusho is a coating aswell.
That’s why it’s called a coating and not a metal.

The only treatment which resist the tooth of time -more or less- is niello.
However, I don’t know if niello can be called a metal as it is a alloy of
silver, sulfur, koper and lead.

Thanks everyone for your responses, it certainly makes sense that no coating will last forever.

Has anyone worked with metals such as titanium or niobium? These seems to be a bit more gun metal color than black, but I’ve seen them offered by a few places so was curious to learn more.

Niobium and Titanium aren’t dark colored naturally. You can heat color Nb to get a dark grey/black color that is slightly thicker than anodized oxides but others are correct, nothing lasts forever!

Reactive Metals Studio, Inc
Deborah, Michele & Sharon
928-634-3434, 800-876-3434, 928-634-6734fx


Hi Custom made,
Re the refractory metals, such ad titanium etc, yes ive been a titanium smith on a proper scale such as forging bowls jewellery etc up to 18in dia. so i know what this metal needs to get it to do what you want.
Now how thats done im not prepared to say, all i can comment is that if its been done before then it can be done again, IF your good enough or clever enough to find the way.
Any technology that has a serious commercial value is NOT free. I guard my process very carefully.

Now re the titanium strips mentioned by James Miller, Can you please say what the thickness is? width and length without the 3rd dimension is regrettably not enough.
And most titanium thats available is one of the V6A4 alloys. If you want to work it then use only the 999 commercially pure. Its a lot softer relatively. Tho work hardens on forging.

This isnt a metal thats suited to a bench jeweller, its much more suited to an industrial workshop, with proper fly presses and power press tools.
Now ive just got working a micro plasma argon arc welder this goes down to .1 of an amp and is designed to fuse under argon metals down to 10/1000 tho in thick.
Open the door to making the smaller items.
hope this helps.