Metal Finishing Techniques: Anodizing, Electroplating, PVD, and More

When exploring jewellery options, you might encounter unfamiliar terms that leave you puzzled. Here’s a simpler explanation to help you out. “Anodized” and “electroplated” are two different methods used to change the colour of jewellery and what is PVD? Today, we’ll explore these terms to ensure you have a clear understanding of what each means, helping you make well-informed decisions when purchasing jewellery!

PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition): PVD, or Physical Vapour Deposition, is a unique coating process that lets you change the colour of a metal piece. Here’s how it works: The metal piece is put inside a vacuum chamber, and all the air is removed. Then, the piece is given a negative charge, which attracts tiny atoms of the coating material. These atoms settle on the metal’s surface, transforming it into the desired colour. PVD can create a spectrum of colours, from classic black to vibrant rainbow or elegant rose gold tones. It’s a versatile and durable method for adding beautiful colours to metal jewellery.

Anodized: Anodized jewellery is coated with a protective-coloured layer using a unique electricity process. This makes the jewellery more vibrant and durable.

Anodizing is an electrochemical process used to change the colour of a metal, but it’s not like adding a coating on top. Instead, it creates an anodic oxide finish on the metal’s surface, which alters its colour. Imagine it like using permanent hair dye on your hair. The dye penetrates the hair strands and changes the colour from within, similar to how anodizing changes the metal colour from the surface. The metal item is immersed in a chemical bath during anodizing, and electricity is applied. This creates a controlled oxidation process, forming a durable, coloured layer on the metal. The resulting colour is long-lasting and won’t easily rub off, just like permanent hair dye stays in your hair for an extended period.

On the other hand, PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) is like using semi-permanent hair dye. It doesn’t change the metal from within but instead coats the outside of the piece with a thin layer of colour. PVD jewellery goes through a vacuum chamber where colour materials settle on the surface, giving it the desired hue. The colour from PVD may last a long time, but it may eventually wear off over extended use or through heavy abrasion.It’s essential to note that for body piercings, solid titanium is often preferred for its biocompatibility and safety. While plated jewellery can be acceptable for specific situations, when getting pierced, you should opt for ASTM F-136 titanium, which is of high quality and safe for piercings. Fabulous black jewellery can be appealing, but waiting until your piercing heals before using it is better.

Electroplated: Electroplated jewellery gets a thin layer of precious metal (like gold or silver) deposited on its surface using electricity. This adds value and enhances the jewellery’s appearance.

Anodizing is an electrochemical process that changes the metal’s colour from within, like permanent hair dye. PVD is a vacuum coating process that adds colour to the outside of the metal, like semi-permanent hair dye. Always choose piercing-grade titanium for safety for piercings, and you can explore fun black jewellery options after your piercing has healed properly.

Electroplating is similar to anodizing in some ways. It is placed in a unique bath filled with metal particles to give the jewellery its desired colour. Then, an electric current is applied, causing these tiny metal particles to stick to the jewellery’s surface. This process gives the jewellery its colour, just like anodizing does.

Now, let’s talk about “annealing.” Annealing is a heat treatment method that makes the metal less brittle and more flexible. It becomes more malleable and less prone to cracking when bent or stressed by heating the metal and then slowly cooling it down. This makes annealed jewellery, like closure rings, a great choice if you frequently change your jewellery and prefer that style. It allows the crew to withstand bending and opening/closing without breaking.

Summary: electroplating is a process where metal particles stick to jewellery to give it colour, similar to anodizing. Annealing is a heat treatment that makes the metal more flexible and less likely to crack, making it ideal for jewellery like closure rings that undergo frequent bending and manipulation. Buying jewellery can sometimes feel overwhelming with all the different terms and options. But don’t worry. Here’s an essential guide to help you make more intelligent purchases and still get the style you love:

Anodizing and Electroplating: These are processes that change the colour of jewellery. Anodizing uses electricity to create a durable colour on the metal’s surface, while electroplating adds a thin layer of metal to give the jewellery its desired colour.

PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition): PVD is a high-tech coating method that can create various colours on jewellery using a vacuum environment to apply a durable material layer.

Annealing: This heat treatment technique makes metal jewellery less likely to break when bent or stressed, making it ideal for pieces like closure rings that need flexibility.

With this knowledge, you can confidently choose the right jewellery that suits your preferences and needs without feeling overwhelmed by all the terminology.

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