Cobalt in jewelry: its pros and cons

Cobalt has now become an unconventional jewelry choice. But little by little it is making its way as one of the alternative metals used in jewelry, instead of platinum, gold and silver. One of the reasons why it is gaining space in the world of jewelry is its similar appearance to white gold. So it is not surprising that many men mainly consider using this metal for their wedding bands.

However, despite the increase in its popularity, cobalt is a metal that is still far from the precious metals that we know. That is, there is still little that people know about him. So next we will tell you what cobalt is and what are the pros and cons of its use. For you to decide whether or not you should buy cobalt jewelry.

What is cobalt?

Metallic cobalt is a relatively rare metal. Since in its pure state it is not found freely in nature, but is extracted as a by-product of the extraction of other minerals such as iron, copper, nickel and silver among others.

Cobalt is a transition metal with atomic number 27 in the periodic table and its symbol is Co. Its name comes from the German “kobalt”, which means evil spirit or goblin. And it was baptized with this name due to superstitions, since the Germans of the medieval era believed that the goblins mixed it with other metals to make them sick.

Despite this, cobalt was recognized as a basic element and entered the periodic table in 1735. When it was identified as a metal in its own right, by the Swedish chemist and mineralogist Georg Brandt. It is a transition metal that has similar properties to silver, platinum, and tungsten.

However, one thing to keep in mind is that cobalt in its pure form is not suitable for jewelry. So it is alloyed so that it can become stronger and also more malleable and secure. Well, it has been discovered that it is rich in vitamin B12, which is essential for the health of animals and humans. But in high concentrations it can have important health consequences.

cobalt in jewelry

We already know that cobalt jewelry is usually an alloy with other metals that can be tungsten, iron or chrome. In fact, the other name for cobalt is cobalt chromium, which is due to the high chromium content in cobalt jewelry.

Generally though, cobalt jewelry is considered hypoallergenic. Before you buy, you should ask what other metals are present. Since some cobalt jewelry is often alloyed with nickel, an element known to be responsible for jewelry allergies for some people. So if you have sensitive skin, you don’t want it on your jewelry and especially your wedding rings.

Despite its attractive silver color, not all cobalt jewelry has this color. So it is possible to buy black cobalt jewelry which is gaining popularity. The reason for this is that they have a unique and avant-garde look, which perfectly matches the modern style that people are looking for. But, in addition, cobalt jewelry is so versatile that we can use it both in formal looks and in some more casual ones.

On the other hand, the other types of cobalt that we can find in jewelry are plated. In fact, you can have it gold plated if that’s what you want. Since it is cheaper, but you will only be able to enjoy gold for a while, which will depend on its use and care. But you will inevitably have to get your jewelry plated again if you want to keep its golden appearance.

Cobalt Pros

This metal has many advantages that have made it popular. Among them we have:

It is similar in appearance to white gold.

Cobalt chrome is the only metal that closely resembles white gold. This is because it is a highly reflective material and can therefore shine as brightly as white gold. What is undoubtedly a feature that many like their jewelry to have. So you can wear jewelry that looks like white gold, but for a fraction of the price.

Does not tarnish or corrode

The other advantage that cobalt has is that it is a highly corrosion-resistant metal and does not tarnish easily. Therefore, cobalt jewelry maintains its original state even under heavy wear and can be worn for a long time. On the other hand, while it has the appearance of white gold, unlike white gold, cobalt does not require regular plating. Which means that we can enjoy its shine and luster for longer.

it’s affordable

If you’re on a budget, no doubt you’ll want to opt for cobalt jewelry. Although cobalt is not as cheap as steel, it is generally less expensive than precious metals like gold or platinum, even if it contains diamonds. To get an idea of ​​the price, for example, if a white gold ring costs $750, its cobalt version would only cost around $170.

However, you should keep in mind that things other than metal can influence the overall price of a cobalt ring, such as other materials, quality, and brand.

It is extremely scratch resistant

One of the characteristics why men like this metal a lot is its high resistance to scratches. Which means you won’t have to worry about the condition of your ring if you lead an active lifestyle or have to use your hands a lot for work.

It is ideal for daily use

Cobalt is harder than precious metals like gold, palladium or platinum, making it perfect for everyday use. Even if the ring is subjected to intense pressure, you don’t have to worry about it bending or breaking. This is one less worry when it comes to wedding rings, which must be worn daily for a lifetime.

For reference, we can say that, for example, a cobalt ring is four times harder than its platinum version, which is known as the hardest precious metal. On the other hand, it should be mentioned that, despite their hardness, cobalt rings can be cut safely in an emergency.

It is neither too light nor too heavy

Some metals, like titanium or carbon fiber, can feel quite light, while others, like tungsten, can feel very heavy. But cobalt is in the middle of the two extremes as they are the same weight as white gold. That way, when you have a ring on, you can enjoy the comfortable, neutral feel.

It is hypoallergenic

For those who have a problem with other metals, nickel-free cobalt-chrome alloys are hypoallergenic and your skin won’t react to them. In fact, this alloy is so biocompatible that it is used in the manufacture of surgical instruments and knee and hip prostheses.

Cons of cobalt in jewelry

Like all materials in jewelry, cobalt also has some advantages that we must consider before buying:

It’s hard to resize

This is an inescapable topic when it comes to alternative metals in engagement rings. Since our fingers tend to change size over time. But in the case of cobalt rings this can be a difficult task due to cobalt’s hardness, although not impossible.

However, many jewelers may not undertake the work because it requires a lot of effort. So you may have to replace the ring if you can’t find someone to do it. Although some couples do not care, for others it can be a traumatic decision if they are very emotionally attached to the ring.

The variety of finishes is limited

Although cobalt in jewelry is growing in popularity there is still a limit to the range of designs that jewelers can make. Well, it is not easy to fuse gemstones into very elaborate and intricate designs. Which makes most of the designs especially for men and very few for women. Reason why he is seen as a masculine metal. Although over time it is possible that this will change, but unfortunately, for now it is not the case.

It’s hard to record

Due to its durability, traditional etching methods do not work with cobalt. So the engraving will be more difficult and the jeweler will have to resort to laser machines to do the job.

no investment value

Cobalt is not a precious metal and has no investment value. So if you are looking for pieces that increase in value over time, cobalt jewelry may not be the best option.

Cobalt is definitely the ideal choice for those looking for something affordable and durable that has the appearance of a precious metal without being one. However, finding cobalt jewelry can be difficult as it is not a conventional metal.