Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Titanium vs. Niobium: The Ultimate Metal Showdown

Six years ago when I first started making allergy-free titanium jewelry, there weren’t a lot of options out there. (At least not that I could find—which is why I decided to make them myself!) Since then titanium jewelry has become a lot more popular—happy news for those of us with sensitive ears!

Then a few years in to my titanium jewelry venture, I started learning more about niobium—another pure non-alloyed metal that many people with metal allergies have success wearing. I did some research, made myself a trial pair and recruited a few friends to be my guinea pigs. Success! So I added a niobium line to my Etsy shop.


Since I started this shop I’ve made over 2,000 sales and many more offline—mostly to people like me who had allergic reactions to most earrings and who had thought they were doomed to naked earlobes for life. Of those sales only three people have ever had any kind of reaction to my titanium or niobium earrings. And when we exchanged their earrings for the other metal, they were good to go.

Customers often ask me questions about which is better: niobium or titanium. Here’s what I tell them:

Hi I just ordered some titanium studs from your website. My daughter got her ears pierced in February and they still haven't healed. We have done everything we have been told except try titanium. Is this the right thing to try now and are your earrings truly nickel free? We are just really frustrated and tired of infected ears.
- Stacey*
 (*names have been changed to protect their privacy)  

Hi Stacey, 
Thank you for your order and for contacting me. I'm sorry your daughter is having so much trouble! You are definitely doing the right thing to try titanium. My titanium is grade 1 pure titanium from a trusted U.S. supplier whom I have been with for years. There is absolutely no nickel. I have yet to have a customer who could not wear either titanium or niobium and most can wear both.
~ Variya


Would you recommend starting with trying titanium first or going with niobium?

Hi Carrie, 
A lot of people start with titanium mostly because they are more familiar with it.  Both are great options.  I recommend choosing something you can leave in while your ears recover, such as small hoops or post studs.
~ Variya    


I've gotten several different earrings from you and I believe they were all titanium. Should I try niobium? Are they both equally good for extra sensitive ears? Is one more tolerated than another or does it depend on the person or are they both pretty equal? I really want the pearl post earrings but I'm not sure which metal I should go with.  

Hi Stella, 
Thank you for contacting me and for choosing my earrings! You should give niobium a try! Most people can wear both because they are pure metals. Make sure you use pure niobium (which is what I offer). If you order niobium from me and find that you can't tolerate it I would be happy to exchange it for titanium.  
~ Variya   

The pearl post earrings Stella wanted (and got!)
If you have questions about niobium vs. titanium that aren’t answered here, please contact me. I’d be delighted to help find an answer for you.