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This is a ring machined from a solid block of pure crystalline titanium. I start with a piece of titanium crystal bar, select an attractive area to become the top surface of the ring, and then machine away everything that isn't ring. (Much as Michelangelo said that to create his statue of David from a block of marble he simply cut away everything that wasn't David.)
The crystal surface is "natural" in the sense that it grew that way as the bar was being formed out of titanium iodide gas. (Of course it's not a naturally-occurring mineral you would dig out of the ground, since that growth happened in a factory. But neither is it an entirely artificial surface intentionally formed in that shape.)
Titanium has a reputation for being hard to machine, but this high purity material is actually fairly easy to work with, as long as you're using a solid tungsten carbide milling bit and lots of high-grade cutting fluid. Because it consists entirely of fairly large crystals, it's brittle and cannot be resized by bending or rolling, which means the rings must be cut to the exact final size right from the start. Brittle doesn't mean weak: The bands are actually very strong despite being quite thin. Brittle simply means that if you apply enough force, the material will crack instead of bending: In the case of these rings, that's quite a lot of force.
If you're interested in a ring like this for yourself, they are for sale on a special order basis from my partner Max Whitby and myself. The price has not been set, but will probably be around $500. It's higher than the typical titanium rings you see for sale elsewhere because there is only a limited supply of this titanium crystal bar left in the world, and they're not making any more (a new, cheaper process for purifying titanium has been invented which does not result in crystals of this sort). And each ring must be custom-machined from a carefully selected piece of crystal bar: No two are alike.
This is a ring for someone who really appreciates titanium: It's the only element sample I carry with me everywhere. (Well, except for my titanium dental implant, but somehow that's not quite the same thing.)
Source: Theodore Gray
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 14 December, 2005
Text Updated: 11 August, 2007
Sample Group: RGB Samples