Heavy metal was an Eighties sound but today anything metal has to be light. And strong, like titanium. Titanium's family in the periodic table includes zirconium and hafnium - not the sort you often invite over for dinner because they're so pricey. Isolate it, and you have a metal that aerospace engineers love because it weighs half as much as stainless steel, with the same strength. Its biggest use is in aircraft frames and jet engines because it can stand temperatures up to 600 Centigrade (it doesn't melt till 1600 C). Frank Gehry liked it so much he wrapped up his newest building, the beautiful Bilbao Guggenheim, in shimmering titanium (right). You can wear titanium as a wrist watch or as eye glasses called "Air" and "Ice". You can ski on it, bike it up mountains and hit a ball so pure it jumps off the club face with speed and force to land dead centre in the fairway. Or photograph the action with the world's lightest digital cam-corder by JVC. It won't corrode, which is why medical instruments are always made of it. Or collapse which is why pilots' ejector seats are made of it. Ron Arad found one in a Camden market from a jump-jet that didn't make it. But he isn't thinking about making his own furniture in titanium yet - the material is too expensive to tool up for anything but big production numbers. But it's plentiful, making up about 1.4 per cent of the Earth's crust. So as we use more of it the price will come down.

The JVC mini DV digital cam-corder is the weight of a big paperback, pocket sized, with sophisticated editing and special effects, 100 times zoom and stereo sound; all for pounds 1,175; the JVC DVX with fold-out screen is pounds 1,600. Both from Dixons

Rimless eye glasses with titanium alloy temples as light as "Air" cost pounds 250, in four styles - oval, panto, cat's eye and scoop-edged square. The best thing about the "Air" range is the case: the world's most covetable, for pounds 25. From 440 Dollond & Aitchison branches nationwide

Another first: binoculars in a titanium body from Nikon. The 5x15 DCF are light and heavy duty, adapted for indoor use with a prism and a high reflection mirror for a 10 per cent brighter image than other roof prism binos. pounds 499.99 (0181-541 4440 for stockists)

The Biggest Big Bertha Driver, with a longer shaft and bigger head in titanium, allows the energy-efficient golfer to hit harder without swinging harder. pounds 450 (0181-391 0111 for stockists)

Forty per cent lighter than the identical watch in stainless steel, the Eco-Drive Titanium Chrono watch by Citizen uses daylight to drive its quartz movement. A tiny photo-electric cell behind its ceramic face converts light into electrical energy which is stored in a battery and released when needed. It will run for six months in darkness. pounds 479.99 at The Leading Edge in Selfridges Basement, Oxford Street, London Wl.

Rally bikers need the latest Raleigh M-Trax titanium bicycle frame, pounds 695 for the polished version, pounds 625 for the satin; add on components to suit requirements. For stockists, telephone 0115 942 0202, ext 4053 or 2538

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