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Tungsten Rings Pros and Cons

25th Mar 2014

Nowadays it is quite common to see both men and women sporting tungsten rings on their fingers and at some point it may have even crossed your mind to buy one for yourself to wear. If you are in the market for a tungsten ring but want to know a little bit more about the pros and cons of tungsten carbide, this article is for you.

Tungsten rings technically refer to tungsten carbide rings. The name has just been shortened possibly due to misuse or laziness or a combination of both. All "tungsten rings" like the ones sold on Timeless Tungsten are "tungsten carbide rings."

With that confusion cleared up, what exactly is tungsten carbide then? To answer that question, let's start with tungsten itself. It is a metal ore that is extracted from the Earth and commonly used in industrial machinery. Tungsten, when it is combined with carbon, becomes very strong and is thus referred to as tungsten carbide. Just like white gold is really a mixture of gold and palladium, tungsten carbide is derived from two elements as well. And just like how white gold is a little bit more durable than regular gold, tungsten carbide is much more durable than tungsten.

Tungsten itself is rated at a 7.0 on the Mohs scale of hardness. When combined with carbon to form tungsten carbide, its hardness increases to 9.5. To put it into perspective, gold has a hardness of 2.5 while diamond has a hardness of 10.0. Tungsten carbide is very hard.

Because of its beautiful luster and extreme durability, it naturally found its way into mens and womens fine jewelry when gold and silver prices were at an all time high over a decade ago. Because it is man made, tungsten carbide ring is much cheaper to produce akin to cubic zirconia.

While the diamond industry wants everyone to de-value cubic zirconia as it is a threat to their mining business, the fact is a man-made diamond is more flawless and pure than anything found in nature. But it is much, much cheaper. The same goes for tungsten rings. While traditional jewelers who deal in gold and platinum will look down on tungsten rings, secretly they are just scared that tungsten rings will start outselling their traditional counterparts which would put them out of business.

Meanwhile, modern-day jewelers like Timeless Tungsten are embracing the new-age trend for alternative metals which are much more affordable, look just as beautiful, and last much longer.

There are a number of pros to buying tungsten rings:

  • Tungsten rings are very durable and highly scratch resistant
  • Tungsten rings do not oxidize
  • Tungsten rings do not fade
  • Tungsten rings do not lose their luster
  • Tungsten rings are easy to maintain
  • Tungsten rings are more affordable than traditional metal rings
  • Tungsten rings have a naturally beautiful metal color similar to that of stainless steel
  • Tungsten rings cannot be engraved per se, but they can be laser etched
  • Tungsten rings lend themselves to unique designs not possible with traditional metals
  • High quality tungsten rings, like the ones sold at Timeless Tungsten, are 100% hypoallergenic and cobalt-free (be warned that cheap, low quality tungsten rings may contain cobalt and cause skin reactions)

Of course there are also a few cons to tungsten rings:

  • Contrary to popular belief, tungsten rings are not bulletproof or indestructible
  • Tungsten rings are highly scratch resistant, but not scratch proof
  • Tungsten rings' incredible strength is a double edged sword, making it brittle to hard impacts
  • Tungsten rings cannot be resized, again due to their strength

The pros and cons of tungsten rings should be considered before deciding whether or not to you want to choose it for your wedding wear or every day fashion statement. Tungsten rings are rapidly gaining in popularity, especially with today's younger generation wanted to wear rings different from the ones their parents wore. With soaring gold and silver prices and a more budget-conscious generation arriving at "wedding age" it is easy to see why you see more and more couples are sporting a pair of tungsten rings on their fingers as they exchange wedding vows.