Professional Jeweler Archive: Ti One On

April 2001

Professional Insider/Trend Spotting

Ti One On

The metal of the moment is strong, light and showing up in the mainstream

Credit the end of the Cold War and subsequent reduction of the military-industrial complex, Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, or the new Macintosh G4. Whatever the reason, titanium is the metal of the new millennium – at least for now.

Titanium (“Ti” on the elements chart) is three times stronger than steel, weighs 42% less and is chemically inert. These properties made it the material of choice to produce missiles, submarines and aircraft parts.

Techno Style

In 1997, the world caught its first glimpse of the Guggenheim Bilbao, a swirling free-form building clad in titanium. The metal reflects different light values during the day: shiny silver in sunlight, industrial gray under overcast skies and glowing gold in the rising or setting sun.
This year’s release of the titanium-covered Apple Macintosh G4 – a stylishly thin and light laptop – promises to send ripples through the design community, just as the iMac started an explosion of candy-colored bulbous plastic designs in computers, housewares and other gadgets.

Even cell phones, bicycles and baby strollers are being made from or clad in titanium – or plastic treated to look like titanium. Be prepared to capitalize on this metal of the moment.

In Your Store

Titanium probably isn’t new to your showcases – timepieces with titanium have been fairly common since the late 1990s. Now may be the time to stock more titanium watches and really call attention to them.

Titanium jewelry has been much less available. Spectore Corp., Deerfield Beach, FL, is one of the few manufacturers that has offered titanium jewelry. Spectore President Ed Rosenberg, a third-generation jeweler, showed titanium jewelry at a 1982 Jewelers of America Show, where it received an underwhelming response. Rosenberg may have the last laugh though. His company’s sales have quadrupled annually in recent years, and some large-production jewelry manufacturers now turn out titanium designs.

Frederick Goldman Inc., for example, has added titanium collections to its ArtCarved and Diana brands. The ArtCarved Titanium Wedding Band Collection bows this month, offering six styles – some accented with 18k yellow gold – that are $149-$499 retail.

– by Liz Smutko

Titanium covers the sleek G4, makes a matte fashion statement for Michelle and Boccia watches and puts the shine on wedding rings from ArtCarved (one set paired with 18k yellow gold).

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications