Tungsten Rings: Pros and Cons
Written by Annabelle
April 22, 2019
If you've been searching for something nice and durable to wear on your hand, chances are you've run across “tungsten.” This material has become increasingly popular, but as with all jewelry metals, there are always pros and cons! Take a look at what you need to consider before you decide to add tungsten rings to your collection.
What is Tungsten?
Tungsten is a rare metal; on the periodic table, it is an element marked off as “W.” It's famous for having the highest melting point of all elements, at 3422 °C, and has a density comparable to gold. In its natural form, the metal does not rust or oxidize, making it a desirable material for jewelry.
There's often some confusion regarding the name for tungsten jewelry, since the terms “tungsten” and “tungsten carbide” are often used interchangeably. Pure tungsten is rarely used for jewelry purposes. In fact, all tungsten rings on the market are actually made from varying grades of tungsten carbide, an alloy that contains tungsten and other materials such as carbon, cobalt, nickel, and titanium.
Tungsten Rings Pros
- Durability: The main reason why people purchase tungsten; its durability makes it scratch-resistant and perfect for people who have more active lifestyles. It pairs well with designs that use brushed finishes, making it a popular choice for men's wedding rings.
- Hardness: It's almost impossible to bend tungsten, which means that your ring will never go out of shape! Silver, gold, and platinum rings will bend easily over time, requiring reshaping.
- Weight: Tungsten has the density as gold, making it nice and hefty. It's also nowhere as expensive as gold in terms of pricing.
- Allergy-free: Tungsten is naturally hypoallergenic in its pure form. High-quality tungsten carbide alloys are also hypoallergenic despite containing other elements; only cheaply made tungsten alloys will irritate sensitive wearers if the ring contains nickel.
Tungsten Rings Cons
- Not resizeable: The standard ring resizing process involves cutting into a ring and adjusting the size up or down. Tungsten's incredibly high heat point makes this procedure impossible for most jewelers. In addition, tungsten becomes brittle after its first casting, which means that it can break if tampered with. It's important to buy a ring that's the right size, with a clear return policy just in case it doesn't fit.
- Shatter-prone: While it's not possible to bend tungsten, it is possible to break tungsten. It won't crack if you simply drop it on the floor, but if you drop it from a second-floor balcony it will definitely shatter.
- Resistant to metalwork: Due to tungsten's nature, solder (a low-heat metal alloy) does not stick. This means that tungsten rings cannot even be sized down via alternative methods, such as adhering silver balls or lining to the interior. In addition, it is extremely difficult to polish and remove engravings from tungsten without special tools. Keep this in mind if you're planning to get something engraved on a tungsten ring; the inscription has to be correct or you might not be able to get it off!
Now you're ready to get started on buying a tungsten ring! Let us know in the comments below if you have any questions about this peculiar metal.