Without a clear description, two rings, one made of black zirconium, the other tungsten, would be unrecognizable, especially to all of us who don’t have much experience in the world of jewelry making and metals that are often used.
And so, if you are looking to buy a wedding ring made of one or the other non-traditional metals and you need to decide between black zirconium and tungsten, you may have to spend hours, if not days, researching these two metals.
But we don’t want you to. Having been where you are, we took the time to not just research but compile all the important information about these metals to help you make the right decision regarding your wedding ring.
Today, we’ll be reviewing everything you need to know about black zirconium and tungsten. So, let’s jump right into it!
What is black zirconium?
Boasting a number of elegant finishes like the satin finish, highly polished finishes, hammered, bead blast, cross finishes, and even patterned finishes on top of the hammered finish, there is no doubt that black zirconium is one of the most elegant metals that is made into jewelry.
And thanks to the beauty of this metal, it makes sense that it is one of the metals whose popularity is growing by the day among individuals looking for unique and elegant wedding rings.
We’d also recommend black zirconium rings if you are searching for a ring that stands out and is multifunctional, elegant, and subtle. So, how about a proper introduction to this metal.
Black zirconium is one of the popular metals used in jewelry making. It is made from zirconium, a grayish-white, lightweight metal that looks like titanium. Zirconium is one of the elements on the periodic table, and it is known for its incredibly high degree of chemical resistance.
Zirconium will not react readily with acids, bases, solvents, or any other application; it is very durable, almost indestructible, versatile, elegant, hypoallergenic, and long-lasting, all features that have seen zirconium used in many applications across industries like medicine and even in engineering, submarines, warfare, etc. Zirconium also boasts a very low conductivity of heat and electricity, but exposure to heat gives it its black color.
Naturally, zirconium is light-colored, with a silver-grey hue. To create the stark black zirconium, zirconium goes through a specific heating process through which a layer of complex black oxide develops or, instead, grows over the zirconium metal.
Interestingly, that black oxide layer is much harder/ stronger than the raw zirconium, although thinner. But it lasts for pretty much the ring’s lifetime, and the oxide layer is the primary reason for the durability of the metal.
Note that the oxidized zirconium layer is dark, but it is not purely black, and so it will appear dark or light depending on the lighting conditions you choose to expose the metal to.
Some of the features that stand out from the black zirconium include that this metal is durable, highly resistant to scratching, and will not develop scratch marks early on; it is also tough but still malleable, allowing for customization, engraving, and cutting.
Despite its hardness, it is shatterproof, which makes it a preferable option to tungsten. Also, black zirconium is safe on the skin – low conductivity makes it suitable for electricians. It is hypoallergenic means that you won’t have to worry about allergies.
Pros and cons of black zirconium
- No plating or replating is necessary
- It is durable and offers great value for money in the long run
- It is considerably budget-friendly in that its much cheaper than most other metals used in making rings, like solid gold or titanium
- The black color of black zirconium is elegant and simply stunning; also fashionable
- It is a solid, versatile metal that is malleable and easy to work on to create different designs and finishes
- It is shatterproof, strong, and durable; and it will last a lifetime with you never worrying about refixing it
- It can be cut off in case of emergencies using diamond-tipped jewelry cutters
- Hypoallergenic, non-toxic, and biocompatible
- Easy and low maintenance
- Many stylish options to choose from, especially for wedding rings for men and women
- Resizing a ring made of black zirconium can be a bit of a challenge; not impossible the resizing process and costs are too steep.
- Limitations in color options
- No classic feel that lasts for many years.
What is tungsten jewelry?
Tungsten rings, better known as tungsten carbide rings, are easily the most common ring types for anyone looking for a ring made of alternative materials or just a black ring.
These rings are made of a chemical compound formed from mixing tungsten with carbon atoms and tungsten carbide, which is the reason for the ring’s uniqueness.
Interestingly, tungsten carbide jewelry starts in powder form before the molecules are pressed together in powder form and into the desired shape.
This manufacturing process leaves you with not only a stunning ring but also one of the hardest and strongest, most scratch-resistant pieces of jewelry.
And so, in terms of its durability and strength, a ring made of tungsten carbide would be the best one to spend your money on, and you will be happy to know that this ring will not break the bank. Note that its hardness is rated 8-9 on the Mohs hardness scale.
The other features that make tungsten carbide jewelry stand out include the fact that it is lightweight (relatively), hypoallergenic, and long-wearing.
Pros and cons of tungsten
- Looks stunning
- Available in various styles and designs
- Strong, challenging, and durable
- Mostly hypoallergenic
- It cannot be resized
- In emergencies, it can only be removed by cracking it using the vice grip pliers.
- It’s hard but brittle, and it will break if you drop it on a hard surface
- Tungsten carbide may have trace amounts of nickel, triggering an allergic reaction for some with sensitive skin.
Differences between black zirconium and tungsten
1. Hardness and durability
While black zirconium and tungsten carbide rings are durable and hard, tungsten carbide’s hardness tends to hang on the brittle side, meaning that it can easily crack if it drops on a hard surface, and it may not last forever as you may have hoped. Black zirconium easily lasts for a lifetime with proper care.
2. Customization options
Black zirconium allows for more metal customization options regarding the ring size, finishes, engravings, inlay metals, patterns, etc. This is not exactly the case with tungsten carbide rings.
3. Cutting ring in case of emergencies
Your ring made of black zirconium would be easier to cut off the finger, while a ring made of tungsten carbide must be carefully cracked.
4. Scratch resistance
Black zirconium would scratch when pressed against a hard surface or on something like a diamond, but tungsten rings’ chances of getting scratched are very low.
Black zirconium vs. tungsten, which one is better?
Both metals offer numerous advantages, and on the surface, they are both significant metals, and you would look great in a wedding ring made of either metal.
However, if you choose one, a few factors must come into play. Black zirconium is a better choice because it has all the features you need, from durability and its lightweight design to hypoallergenic properties. It is safe mainly for electricians.
It is also easier to resize and can be cut off in emergencies. The only challenge would be its price tag. And so, if you don’t mind spending a chunk of money on a ring, tungsten carbide would be a better choice.
Black zirconium and tungsten are both elegant metals used in jewelry making. They have stunning finishes, are durable, safe from allergens, and have elegant finishes.
But black zirconium is shatterproof (and offers more versatile finishes and styling options); tungsten is not.
Black zirconium is also much more expensive than tungsten. So, think of these before buying a wedding ring made of either of these metals.
Tiger is a fashion&jewelry lover. He is also a fashion jewelry manufacturer that help thousands of small business to grow and also do business with some big fashion jewelry brands. He is a truly metal expert and he will share some information you are looking for.