A couple months ago I celebrated my 4 year wedding anniversary! I’m lucky to be married the love of my life and best friend Sara. We were together both before and when I was diagnosed with my nickel food allergy. Sara is my greatest support and advocate.
When we decided to get married there were so many details to work out, including picking out our wedding rings. Wanting something beautiful and affordable was important, but my first priority was getting something I knew I could wear daily with confidence and without an allergic reaction. Titanium is the only metal I know that doesn’t have any traces of nickel. We visited some local jewelers and had our ring fingers sized. We searched all over and found Boone Titanium Rings online and we feel in love with their Executive Series Acrylic Inlay with Malachite. I’ve proudly and adoringly worn my wedding ring now for over 4 years and never had any problems.
I can relate to how challenging finding beautiful and nickel free jewelry can be. I hardly wear any jewelry because of my severe nickel allergy. But no one should have to go without a wedding ring.
Bruce Boone the owner of Boone Titanium Rings agreed to answer some questions about his awesome nickel free rings. Inventing things since 5 years old, Bruce Boone used to make bike parts in titanium. This led him to make a titanium ring for himself in 1993. People saw it and everyone wanted one! Bruce went to Southern Poly as a mechanical engineering student. He moved to Roswell, Georgia in 2002 and has been creating rings full time since then. As “an inventor by nature” Bruce has 18 patents including the wood inlay rings, carbon fiber, stuff having to do with automatic paper towel dispensers, test equipment at nuclear plants and others. He’s acquired some serious equipment over the years, and can create most rings in a day or two.
Questions & Answers with Bruce Boone, owner of Boone Titanium Rings
Christy: Why did you start creating rings?
Bruce: I started by making bicycle parts from titanium in about 1994. I made titanium cogs and chain rings and went on to do things such as cranks and bottom brackets. The bottom brackets are the axles that go between the cranks, and I had short pieces of solid titanium bar left over. I realized that I could make myself a ring from it, as I had always wanted a titanium ring, but nobody made them at the time. Everyone that saw it wanted one! My business morphed from making bike parts to making titanium rings.
Christy: Since I purchased my ring in 2011, you’ve had a number of new designs. What inspires you when you design a new ring?
Bruce: I try to utilize the unique equipment I have and find fresh combinations of technologies that others haven’t yet worked with. This gives rise to pretty crazy products like a ring that has a working combination lock and has a safe that holds a real gold coin. I like thinking outside the traditional jewelry box into things that would be fun to wear.
Christy: How you make the rings?
Bruce: The rings are machined from a solid billet of titanium. They are not cast like most precious metal rings are, so that causes both manufacturing constraints and some design flexibility. The machines are very expensive and take a long time to master, so most traditional jewelers don’t use them. They allow the flexibility to make things like tension sets that are at the far end of what normal jewelers do. Computer controlled machines allow extreme accuracy to do things like press fits and laser welding that is not as common in precious metals.
Christy: Why do you choose to use titanium and specifically Aerospace Grade 6AL4V?
Bruce: Titanium is a great metal for rings. It’s hypoallergenic, meaning people that are allergic to white gold can wear it. It’s much harder than gold, so it won’t get dings or bent out of round. It is very lightweight and takes the heat of your finger very quickly, so it’s more comfortable to wear than gold. It also is more reasonable in price. We use aerospace grade titanium because it’s a lot harder than pure titanium, so it can be finished better, and it holds a finish longer than pure titanium. It’s still hypoallergenic, and is used in body implants.
Christy: Do your titanium rings contain any – even trace amounts – of nickel?
Bruce: There is no nickel in the rings.
Christy: How do you ensure your titanium rings don’t include any nickel? Especially when you also make meteorite and stainless steel rings that do or can have nickel in them?
Bruce: Since titanium is used in aerospace, it is very strictly controlled in manufacture. We get certs from the titanium source to be certain of its content. Meteorite does indeed have some nickel in it. It’s from the core of an asteroid, which is essentially the same stuff that made up the Earth. The Earth has a mostly iron with some nickel core, with other trace elements, and the meteorite is the same. While it is possible to have a nickel reaction to that, I’ve never heard of a single instance of someone having an allergic reaction to the meteorite. The stainless steel I use for rings has no nickel.
Christy: Can the lasers and machines you use to make the titanium rings have any way to contaminate the titanium metal during production?
Bruce: The laser is so hot that it literally vaporizes the material, so nothing is left in that spot. The normal turning operations on the lathe do use a coolant, but the coolant is washed off during the finishing process such that none would remain.
Christy: I love my titanium wedding ring. It’s an acrylic inlay of malachite from your Executive Series. What ring series would you recommend for people with nickel allergies to consider from your collection and what rings should they avoid?
Bruce: A ring of all titanium, cobalt chrome, or black zirconium is as inert as it gets. These are all materials used in body implants. The meteorite does contain some nickel, so if they are highly allergic, that one might best be avoided.
Christy: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Bruce: We try to keep the rings fun. We were the first to really take titanium to the next level. I designed the first rings with wood inlays that are common to the industry now. We also did the first carbon fiber and were one of the first to do asymmetric tension sets and one of a few doing meteorite inlays. We do a lot of unique designs with the lasers, both in terms of laser engraved designs and laser cut designs. I’m not aware of another company using a similar cutting laser to what we use, so we do try to leverage that. I am currently working on a line of dogtags that all have some sort of mechanical motions associated with them like one with a running deer, one with a Geneva mechanism drive train and others. These are prime examples of things we can do that our competition cannot, and are out of the scope of a traditional jeweler. We like to explore what’s possible.
Check out more of Bruce Boone’s work or buy your own at http://www.boonerings.com/.