With the price of gold, platinum and even palladium and silver breaking records daily, jewelry designers and manufacturers have been looking for low-cost alternative metals. For jewelry designer Scott Kay, an answer for men’s wedding bands is Cobalt.
More specifically the answer is BioBlu 27, a metal alloy made of 65 percent cobalt, 29 percent chromium, and 6 percent molybdenum. According to Dan Scott, Scott Kay chief marketing officer, this non-magnetic, naturally white metal alloy has high strength, corrosion resistance, and wear resistance.
"This metal is as white as platinum. It doesn’t tarnish, chip or fracture,” Scott said Monday. “And it isn’t plated. It’s white, through and through.”
Scott Kay introduced the product two years ago in a limited launch, under the brand name SK Cobalt. However, now the company has begun full-scale product push with eight collections that will be shown at the upcoming Couture Show in Las Vegas, June 2-6. The product is already available at Helzberg Jewelers where it is marketed as Scott Kay Brute Cobalt and at Jared the Galleria of Jewelry marketed as Brawn Cobalt by Scott Kay. By the time the jewelry tradeshow begins, Scott Kay cobalt wedding bands will be available at 1,000 retail locations, Scott said.
BioBlu 27 received its name from the metal alloy’s creator, Carpenter Technology, a Reading, Pa.-based metals developer, manufacturer and distributor. “Bio” refers to the biocompatibility of the material, which can be used in other applications such as prosthetics, and “Blu” refers to the cobalt in the material. The number 27 is the number on the atomic table for cobalt.
The rings, without additional precious metals or gemstones, run from about $225 to $370. This is competitive with other wedding bands made with alternative metals, particularly tungsten carbide rings. This is the second part of the story.
In addition to talking up the benefits of its BioBlu 27 rings, Scott Kay has been literally hammering home the message (more on that later) that tungsten carbide rings are not as strong and resilient as many claim, such as on this website. In fact its extreme hardness is most likely its ultimate weakness, according to Scott.
“We came to a shocking revelation that when you drop a ring on a hard surface it breaks,” Scott said. "It cracks and shatters after being dropped and in contact with a hard object.”
To attempt to prove this, two years ago Scott Kay himself held a press conference where he broke tungsten carbide rings with a hammer. I included the video below of the event along with a video by Titanium Kay, a company that sells tungsten carbide rings, that provides some perspective and balance on the “hammer test.”
This is as far as I’m going with these dual claims, at least for now. However, if you have any experiences with either of these metals as jewelry, please share them in the comments section below.