Electrically Colored Niobium

Do you know how a soap bubble has a lot of color but has no paint or pigment? The thickness of the bubble causes light-wave interference which creates color, just like a blue jay feather or an oil film. These colors are not like the rainbow, they are bronzes, teals,  purples and so on.  Niobium itself is a pure element, which is gray in color.  After I cut, form, texture and drill a piece of niobium, I apply masking or other techniques to isolate the section I want to color. The pieces are dipped in a solution that will carry an electrical current. As I increase the voltage I apply to the niobium, the clear oxide thickens and the colors evolve.

1. Cutting masking away in order to layer colors

2. Anodizing through mesh

3. Dipping into the anodizing bath

4. Rinsing

5. Paired up for earrings

6. Sawing pieces and assembling them for “Double” designs

7. “Double Clouds” ready for ear wires

8. “Double Cloud” niobium earrings

9. Layered niobium, 18k vermeil and freshwater pearl earrings