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Help! Why Is this Tungsten Ring So Much Cheaper on Amazon?

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"I'm shopping for a tungsten ring, and I found one on Amazon that is only $20 and way cheaper than anywhere else I've looked like on timelesstungsten.com, etc. Why is there such a big price range? Is there really a difference between cheaper and pricier tungsten rings?"

This is a question that gets asked often. A shopper on a budget is new to the tungsten ring marketplace and types "tungsten rings" into Google to browse sites like Timeless Tungsten. After picking out a style, she decides to check Amazon to see if she can find it cheaper. That's when she sees tungsten rings for $20 and wonders if there's something wrong... with us.

It's a fair and valid concern. The short answer is: you get what you pay for.

True, there are some cheap tungsten rings on Amazon. But there are some hidden factors that aren't being considered in the price equation. It's worthwhile as a ring shopper to know what these are.

Before you go with a presumably cheaper ring on Amazon, ask yourself these questions first:

Is there a lifetime warranty?

Amazon provides excellent customer service for the first 30 days after your purchase, even if it's from a third party seller. But try getting the same level of support from a seller selling $20 tungsten rings after the 30 day window has passed. If your ring was purchased from Timeless Tungsten, you would automatically be covered by our industry leading lifetime warranty policy. If your ring should ever break of shatter, we will replace it for free. What kind of warranty are you getting from your ring on Amazon? Is there even a warranty at all?

Let's say your ring breaks (it can happen), and you purchased it from Amazon and it's well beyond the 30 day return period. You would probably be stuck with $20 worth of worthless tungsten carbide. But if you had purchased your from Timeless Tungsten, you'd have a free replacement waiting for you.

Can you exchange your ring if your finger size ever changes?

Tungsten carbide, unlike a traditional ring metal like gold, cannot be resized due to its hardness. Gold is malleable and can be cut or added to adjust ring size. Tungsten is simply too hard to reshape. While Amazon's exchange policies are certainly generous, we're not certain how easy it would be to exchange your tungsten ring if your finger size should ever change. Timeless Tungsten's lifetime resizing guarantee allows you to exchange your ring for the same style in a different size... for life. We understand that one of the most desirable features of tungsten, it's hardness, is also a limitation when it comes to resizing. Our guarantee makes it so that your tungsten ring works like a traditional ring. If you ever need it "resized," we'll replace it for free.

Is the ring made from jewelry grade tungsten, or cheaper industrial grade?

Or, to put it another way: is your skin allergic to cobalt and will the ring tarnish over time?

Most shoppers don't realize that tungsten actually comes in two grades: jewelry grade and industrial grade. One is perfectly suited for fine jewelry, the other is and should only be used for industrial machinery. What makes these grades different lies in the alloy binder that is mixed with the tungsten carbide to create the ring. While binder choice may seem like a minor difference, it greatly affects the ring's physical properties.

Let's start with industrial grade tungsten carbide: it uses cobalt binder alloy. Cobalt is a known allergen that can cause skin reactions and dermatitis. Unfortunately, most people don't realize that cobalt can cause allergies or that it is used in cheaper tungsten rings. Another property of cobalt is that it tarnishes easily, which is fine for industrial use... or if you like wearing black rings that were formerly metal in color. Take a look below.

This photo is of two of the same ring made from industrial grade tungsten. The ring on the left is new, never worn and has a visible brushed stripe down the center. The ring on the right was worn and has thoroughly tarnished over time due to the cobalt binder. It's so black that even the center stripe has completely disappeared. Cobalt can react this way during contact with chemical cleaners or even the skin's natural oils.

That's why there's jewelry grade tungsten: it uses superior nickel binder alloy which eliminates these problems. Nickel is hypoallergenic and safe to wear. It is also resistant to tarnishing and will not blacken. A jewelry grade tungsten ring will maintain the same luster and brilliance as the day you first wore it. Needless to say, all Timeless Tungsten rings are made from jewelry grade tungsten carbide with nickel binder alloy.

How is the craftsmanship?

When it comes to tungsten rings, labor actually factors into a surprisingly important role in quality. Traditionally, metal rings like gold are created from molds into which molten metal is poured and cast. After the metal cools, it requires minimal labor to polish before it is ready for sale. This process also benefits from reduced material waste. Tungsten rings cannot be made this way. Every tungsten ring, regardless of its design, starts out in the same rough cast. It must undergo intensive machining, grinding, and polishing to achieve the end product, akin to a statue being carved from stone marble. This is a labor intensive process that also produces more material waste. Cheap tungsten rings are cheap due to less time spent on labor. This translate to rings that are not made with as much precision or care, which ultimately translates to lower quality.

Every one of Timeless Tungsten's rings are manufactured with dedicated craftsmanship and precision labor. By purchasing a ring from Timeless Tungsten you are not only getting a ring of higher build quality, you are also helping to support jobs, workers, and fair wages.

In Conclusion

Let's return to our hypothetical ring shopper. After reviewing these questions, she begins to understand why there is such a large price range when it comes to tungsten rings. Cheap tungsten rings like the $20 ones found on Amazon are quite literally made from cheap tungsten, which can cause allergies and tarnish over time, and go through less labor time, which reduces quality. She knows that rings sold on Timeless Tungsten are of the highest quality and construction, and are backed by industry leading lifetime warranty and resizing policies. If she ever has a problem down the line, she knows she will be able to get support from a jeweler that stands behind its products for the lifetime of her ring. The same level of support is questionable from a $20 ring seller on Amazon. Yes, you very much get what you pay for.

"But it's only $20...," she whispers to herself.

To that, let us part with an excerpt from Terry Pratchett's Men at Arms. Though it is a fantasy novel and not a textbook you'd read in your socioeconomics class, we find some truth to his words.

"The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.

Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.

But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that'd still be keeping his feet dry in ten years' time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.

This was the Captain Samuel Vimes 'Boots' theory of socioeconomic unfairness."

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