What they’re made of…
Just like frame style, it’s also important to choose frames made of a material that fits your lifestyle. For example, there are some frames that are more durable and less-corrosive than others, and there are frames that are better suited to prevent skin reactions, such as allergies. Additionally, frames can vary in price based on their type of material.
Eyeglass frames are generally made from a type of plastic or metal. However, there are several types of plastic and metal to choose from. Here are the main differences between plastic and metal frames, and some of the different material options in each category.
Plastic frames are not as durable and tend to break easier than metal frames. However, they are still highly desired for their fashionable look. Plastic frames come in every color and are extremely lightweight. It’s also easier to mold plastic into modern styles like wraparounds, which makes them popular for modern designers.
Blended Nylon frames are one of the strongest types of plastic frames, and therefore are preferred for sports and performance. They are lightweight, durable and comfortable to wear.
Cellulose Acetate is a type of plastic frame that is highly popular because it is very lightweight and has significant design features, like the laminated, layered colors look. It is also called zyl or zylonite. Cellulose Acetate Propionate is lightweight, hypoallergenic, and has more of an opaqueness quality than other plastics.
Metal frames are popular for their durability and sleek look. Different kinds of metal serve different purposes, and some of these subcategories of metal may be combined with each other to save costs and increase durability.
Flexon is one of the most popular types of metal frames because of its durability. This material is a titanium-based metal alloy that is extremely flexible. Its flexibility allows it to return to its original shape after being bent in different directions. This makes Flexon frames very popular for those who occasionally fall asleep with their glasses on, or have a habit of bending their glasses. Flexon is also resistant to corrosion, and is hypoallergenic for those who have allergic reactions to certain materials. Flexon is also known by different names such as memory metal, smart metal, and smart alloy.
Stainless Steel is also a popular lens material because of durability and corrosion resistance. Just like stainless steel kitchenware, stainless steel frames are easy to keep clean and are hypoallergenic when not combined with nickel. Stainless steel also comes in different finishes, such as brushed, satin and mirror.
Titanium is a super-light, durable and strong metal for eyeglass frames. It is resistant to corrosion and comes in several different colors. Titanium is more expensive than other frame materials, so, to combat higher costs, frame designers often use titanium alloys or titanium combined with other metals such as copper and nickel.
Aluminum is one of the least expensive and most abundant metal materials available. It’s easily malleable and very stylish, which makes it a valued frame material for fashion designers. Aluminum is a very weak material, so it must be combined with other materials to become stronger and more flexible.
Beryllium is a lightweight and stiff metal that can be blended into different colors for stylish frames. It is also resistant to corrosion and tarnishing, and is non-magnetic. Its non-corrosive properties make it ideal for people who live around salt water or have a skin acidity type that is very high. It is also less expensive than titanium.
Monel frames are also widely available and one of the most popular frame styles out there. Monel is malleable, but it is known to cause adverse skin reactions to some wearers. Monel alloys can help prevent the skin reactions.