Are you looking for tungsten carbide rings pros and cons? Tungsten ring has its advantages and disadvantages. If you want to know more about tungsten rings, its history, you come to the right place.
While precious metals like gold and silver remain popular choices of jewelry materials today, an increasing number of men (and women) are slowly swapping out the gold, silvers, and platinum for alternative materials and metals.
One of these alternatives is tungsten. Rings made of tungsten have been, for the past few years, taking center stage when it comes to jewelry metal/ material alternatives, and looking at some of the tungsten rings around, it doesn’t surprise us.
But before you ride with the tungsten wave, how about a look at the history of tungsten and all the things you might not know about this jewelry material. Tungsten, also called wolfram or ‘heavy stone’ refers to a chemical element that’s also regarded as one of the world’s hardest metals. It comes as close to diamond in its hardness – so, yes, wearing a tungsten ring means that you are wearing one of the hardest metals out there.
Wolfram, a derivative of volfram (Swedish) was discovered in 1781 by a renowned Swedish chemist and has since been adorned worldwide mainly for its toughness, resistance to extreme temperatures, as well as its high density and hardness. These are the features that also make tungsten the ideal material for making rings for men.
Besides its masculine appeal, tungsten is also quite stylish, and the fact that it’s available in different styles and colors means that there’s something for every man looking for something different. Also, tungsten is sleek with a polished look, and it also boasts a minimalist style.
But just before we delve into the benefits and the disadvantages of tungsten, you might want to know that the jewelry piece we know well as tungsten doesn’t exist in its pure form, but as tungsten carbide. Tungsten carbide is a tungsten alloy made of 80% tungsten and 20% carbon. In other cases, however, the tungsten/ copper mixture is 85/15, with cobalt or nickel used in place of carbon.
Why not use tungsten in its pure form?
As mentioned above, tungsten is one of the hardest metals on earth; in fact, it comes next to diamonds on the MOH scale, at 9 (8.5-9) while diamond stands at 10.
Unfortunately, its hardness is not entirely a good thing. As hard as it is, tungsten is very brittle in its pure form, Alloying is, therefore, the only way to bring down its brittleness.
The addition of carbon not only enhances its durability, but the resultant tungsten carbide is also scratch-resistant, hard, and perfect for everyday wear.
Pros and cons of Tungsten Rings
Pros of tungsten rings
The biggest winning point for tungsten rings lies in their durability. ( here I write a topic on: how long tungsten ring can last?)This durability comes from the hardness of the metal, as well as its alloying with carbon. As mentioned above, tungsten is harder than most other metals. It’s ranked at between 8.5 and 9 on the MOH scale while diamond is ranked at 10.
But how does it compare with other metals used in jewelry making? Well, gold is ranked at 3 on the MOH scale, platinum is a 4.5 and titanium is ranked 6. By sitting high on the hardness scale with the likes of Spinel and Sapphire, tungsten is a top-rated element.
In case you are wondering how the hardness of material impacts its durability – know that when you are dealing with hard metal, it means that the material in question will not scratch or even break easily.
Tungsten is scratch-resistant, and the only metals that can scratch it are the ones ranked higher than it on the MOH scale. Given the hardness and the scratch resistance of tungsten, you won’t have to worry about your tungsten ring looking old and scratchy after some months. Tungsten rings will retain their initial polished look throughout.
- Beautiful color
The other reason why tungsten makes an excellent material for rings has to do with its beautiful gunmetal gray color. So, in addition to the minimalist design, its durability, and the scratch-resistance, its gunmetal gray color further accentuates the masculine feel of the tungsten rings. Besides, the gunmetal gray color, you can also find tungsten rings in white, white gold, platinum, and two-tone black.
Regarding color, there’s one thing you should know though – this is the fact that black tungsten rings are not naturally black. If your tungsten ring is black, that color comes from plating with a black coat. So, even though it looks great, you’ll have to take the piece for replating after some time.
Tungsten rings are not the most lightweight rings on the market, but the weight of your tungsten gives it that solid and substantial feel that you need. Tungsten is heavier than titanium, gold or stainless steel.
- Natural Luster
Tungsten rings are also gaining popularity in the jewelry world because of their natural luster, which is maintained throughout. Thanks to the hardness and the scratch resistance of tungsten, all tungsten rings retain their natural sheen/ luster for a very long time. Because of the gorgeous luster than never dulls, tungsten rings have their luster regarded as the forever-polished luster.
When buying jewelry, one of the things you need to consider is whether the jewelry will tarnish or get corroded, losing its natural shine. With tungsten, you won’t need to worry about this since tungsten is unreactive and it will never tarnish.
- Emergency Removal
Contrary to popular beliefs, tungsten rings are removable easily in the event of an emergency or even swelling.
Cons of Tungsten Rings
Given the hardness of tungsten, it’s very difficult to resize a tungsten ring. So, you need to make sure that you get the right size the first time.
- Skin Health
If you buy a tungsten ring made only of tungsten and carbon, then you shouldn’t expect any allergies. However, if the jewelers throw in nickel and cobalt instead of carbon, you might get an allergy to your ring. To be safe, check that the ring is nickel and cobalt-free. (here is a post that will teach you how to do it)
Unfortunately, the hardness of tungsten, even with alloying, makes this material vulnerable to shattering, especially under high pressure.(Check out this post: 2 wedding rings that will break under high pressure) We recommend that you buy a tungsten ring that comes with a lifetime warranty for replacement in case your ring breaks.
- Electrical conductivity
You should also avoid tungsten rings is you work around electrical components or if you are an electrician because tungsten has some electrical conductivity properties.
Should you buy a tungsten ring?
Tungsten is one of the most beautiful materials used in the jewelry world. It boasts a classy, minimalist feel, looks great and never loses its luster. While it cannot be resized, you can have it replaced. So, if you are looking for these qualities in a ring, yes, buy a tungsten ring.
If you don’t mind the fact that you cannot resize the tungsten ring and if you don’t work around electrical components, the minimalist masculine feel of the tungsten ring could be exactly what you need.