Do frame materials make a difference when shopping for—and wearing—eyeglasses? You bet they do.
Not only do the right materials make a big aesthetic difference, they also affect the long-term comfort of your spectacles or sunglasses; for those who wear glasses full-time, comfort is a huge component when choosing frames.
Less expensive options like some plastics are lightweight and budget-friendly, but they are may also be easy to break and can melt and/or warp when exposed to high temperatures. It is necessary to note, not all optical frame plastics are the same. Metal is the most ubiquitous material for frames, and typically is a much stronger choice than plastic; the quality of the frames depends largely on the type of metal and production method used.
Today we are going to take a look at some other, less common materials used in eyeglass fabrication, and the pros and cons of each.
Sold in exclusive boutiques, buffalo horn eyewear comes at a high price point (think $1000 or more to start) and are painstakingly hand-crafted. Distinctive striations and markings from individual horns make each pair of eyeglasses unique; naturally lightweight is exceedingly comfortable to wear. In addition, buffalo horn warms to body temperature and is also hypoallergenic, increasing comfort and wearability. The animal from which the horns are harvested, the Asian water buffalo, are in no way endangered, and horns can be harvested without any harm to the animal.
Carbon fiber is an incredible material, often used to construct bikes, aircraft, and golf clubs. High-tech, lightweight, and strong, carbon fiber is both highly flexible and durable. If you’re hard on your glasses, carbon fiber is a good choice. Although it is more expensive than other materials, a hard-wearing pair of specs can save you money on replacements in the long run.
From birch to bamboo to walnut, wood is another popular material for custom eyeglasses. Like buffalo horn, wood eyeglasses are generally unique, handcrafted, and available at a luxury eyewear retailer. Not only are wood frames comfortable, they are also a stylish and warm option.
18k Gold & Platinum
If you’re looking for the ultimate in luxury, you can shop eyeglasses in materials like 18k gold and platinum. Gold is hypoallergenic, flexible, and resistant to corrosion, and will certainly add a bit of sparkle to your face. Platinum is the ultimate in luxury, though it weighs more than gold so keep that in mind if you wear your glasses all-day, every day.
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