Talking About Tungsten: Basics, Pros and Cons, and More

There are so many metals that it can be hard to keep track. Not many people are familiar with tungsten or how it can make your life easier. Tungsten is durable, sleek, affordable, and could be the answer you are looking for.😊

Rings, wedding bands, bracelets, and more are quickly becoming tungsten. But why? What is it and how much does it cost? With so many vendors selling tungsten jewelry now, this is everything you will need to know about this new craze.🌊

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What is tungsten?

Tungsten is a silver-gray-colored metal mainly used in electronics, specifically in alloys like lightbulb filaments. It is considered a rare mineral and is usually non-reactive, meaning it does not react harshly to water or air.

It is a scarce metal. You can find it inside reserves buried in the earth’s crust. Of all the metals, tungsten has a very high boiling point at 5,555 degrees Celsius.

Tungsten has a few unique characteristics. It is brittle at room temperature. Brittleness means you can pull it apart easily compared with other metals. Regardless, it is highly scratch resistant and durable.

What does tungsten look like?

Tungsten is shiny and metallic. It is a silver-white metal that appears bulky. It is a chunky block with ends that jut out at the side. Some tungsten can even look cubic, like a Tetris block.

Some personalized rings and wedding bands can include other types of metal like rose gold or platinum. This means you can specialize your jewelry to encompass different patterns and hues.

What is tungsten used for?

Humans mostly use tungsten for making and filtering energy. Tungsten is a useful filament that allows electricity to travel. People also use tungsten to paint wear-resistant coatings over other metals. The tungsten shields these metals from the elements.

Tungsten is also a popular choice of jewelry.🐞

Jewelry made of tungsten is running rampant. People are beginning to fall in love with tungsten rings, bracelets, and bands over the tungsten's comfort and price. Tungsten is non-irritating and glides comfortably over your skin. These qualities make it the perfect jewelry choice.

What is tungsten carbide?

Tungsten carbide is often confused with the element tungsten.⚠️ Tungsten carbide is its own material entirely. This material is half carbon, half tungsten; it is more powerful than steel. This combination of these two elements creates an alloy better than tungsten.

There are some considerable differences between the two materials in jewelry. Tungsten carbide rings are much stronger and more scratch-resistant than regular tungsten. Unfortunately, this makes them more expensive. Some other shops pass off unaltered tungsten as tungsten carbide to trick customers.

Tungsten Carbide Metal Wedding Band
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Some differences between regular tungsten and tungsten carbides include the following:

  • Color and weight
  • Strength (Tungsten carbides are stronger)
  • Ductility
  • Scratch resistance
  • Presence of other metals

It is important to know the difference between tungsten and tungsten carbide!

What are the pros of tungsten?

Regarding jewelry, there are significant advantages tungsten has over other metals. These are its durability, price, and scratch resistance. They’re also sleek and come in a variety of customizations.

Pros include:

  • Durability
  • Corrosion-resistance
  • Strength
  • Price
  • Comfort
  • Malleability

Find out which tungsten rings are right for you!

Tungsten is almost perfectly scratch-roof

Tungsten and tungsten carbide are some of the planet’s most scratch-resistant types of metals. On the Mohs scale, tungsten carbide rates 9 points. Diamonds are one of the only substances that can scratch tungsten. To give context, a diamond scores 10 points on the Mohs scale.

Keep in mind outer layers of tungsten rings might be covered in another metal. Black tungsten rings sometimes have this problem. Some of these black tungsten rings are coated in outer layers of titanium. This outer layer of titanium scratches easily.

To prevent damage, make sure your ring is thoroughly tungsten. If you prefer rings that use non-tungsten metals, take note of which parts of the ring can scratch and which can’t. If you’re concerned about scratching your ring. You can also take it to a jewelry repair shop.

Regular tungsten doesn’t rust.

Tungsten has oxidation resistance. This means your jewelry won’t go bad and start to peel or rust. It is awesome knowing that your rings will remain the same quality over time. It’s such a phenomenal metal.

💡Note that tungsten alloys and tungsten carbide have a higher chance of rusting. This is because they contain other metals that aren’t resistant to oxidation. Nickel and titanium alloy rings are at risk of rusting.

Tungsten is hypoallergenic.

Many metals can be irritants on the skin. Metals like nickel and cobalt can often develop skin allergies in people who wear them due to the way these metals brush off on the skin. Metal allergies often result in rashes, painful and itchy skin, and bumps. These rashes are unsightly and can ruin an outfit. Luckily, tungsten is not an irritant.

Hypoallergenics are substances that are not irritable to the skin. Tungsten, believe it or not, is hypoallergenic. Regular tungsten does not cause skin irritation as other metals might. Tungsten carbides also do not function as skin irritants because the amount of nickel they include is too low.

Tungsten is the way to go if you suffer from annoying skin allergies.

Tungsten is comfortable and affordable.

Tungsten is one of the world’s most affordable metals. Normal tungsten rings seldom go above a few hundred dollars. These tungsten rings often sell for a price in the ballpark of $200. Tungsten carbide rings are more expensive than regular ones, but they are still less expensive than gold.

On the contrary, golden rings can cost upwards of a thousand or more. The price of other metal jewelry can be unnecessarily high, especially when the quality of the metal is inferior to tungsten. So why waste money on jewelry that is more likely to bend and mold than tungsten is?

Tungsten is comfortable.

Tungsten products feel smooth on your body. They aren’t coarse or tight in an uncomfortable way. They don’t chafe your skin either! The glossy texture of the metal feels smooth and relaxing compared to other products.

These rings are pretty cool.😎 They’re in fashion, and you’re free to be as artistic as you want when designing your jewelry. Customized rings can include a carbon body with colored metallic platings ornamenting them. Embroiled jewelry and tungsten products with gold or platinum plating will be more expensive.

Tungsten rings don’t bend.

That’s right. Tungsten rings aren’t malleable enough to bend or shape. This means you’ll never find yourself with a lopsided ring or bracelet. Some materials are much easier to bend, like gold. Gold is a softer metal that shapes under pressure more easily than tungsten.

It’s not recommended that you try to bend tungsten jewelry, however. Tungsten’s poor ductility means your ring might crack or shatter instead of bend.

What are the cons of tungsten?

For all the good that comes with tungsten, there are some drawbacks. Tungsten goes overboard a bit when it comes to strength and hardness. Some of the qualities that make it such a good material can backfire.

Here are some of the ways that tungsten products are worse off than traditional jewelry:

  • Brittleness
  • Cheapness
  • Can’t mold or stretch
  • Very sharp
  • Can’t be easily resold

Make sure you understand what you’re getting into before making your purchase.

Tungsten is brittle

Tungsten is a metal that is prone to shattering.✍🏻 It’s possible to drop your tungsten ring from a height that breaks it. The material is even more vulnerable to shattering than steel is. Its brittleness is one of the metal’s biggest weak spots.

It’s not uncommon for people to get too comfortable with their tungsten jewelry. Someone who feels the weight and bulkiness of the ring might be inclined to treat it with less consideration. They might swing it around or roll it in a way that cracks it.

Tungsten jewelry can also fracture by impact force. Contact with a heavy surface or tool can easily smash the tungsten. If you hit an object hard enough while wearing the ring this can be a problem. Don’t get too comfortable just because it’s less expensive.

Tungsten won’t fit the shape of your finger forever

As you age, your fingers and wrists change shape. Their width, length, and girth grow larger or smaller. This means that a ring fitted to your size will not fit you in a few years. Because tungsten is so strong and brittle, it can not resize without breaking.

If you don’t remove the ring, it can cause problems with your blood circulation. If you wait too long, the situation may progress to the point where professionals must remove it.

This can be very expensive and irritating for people apprehensive about buying another ring. Gold and silver jewelry is better at growing with the shape of your fingers. This is because they are better malleable materials. If you want to save money in the long run, you might want to buy a ring you expect to grow into.⚖️

Tungsten can cut other materials.

If you like to sift through your old records or pick through trinkets and small objects, you might want to rethink wearing your tungsten jewelry. Because tungsten is so hard, tungsten jewelry can cut and scrape other objects.

The last thing you want is to scratch a CD in half by accident. Even worse, you might scratch the paint off your car or someone else's. Be careful waving your ring in front of softer metals and glasses.

Tungsten is cheap and can’t be easily resold

You will notice that many of the benefits of tungsten can flip on their head. Just as tungsten can be too hard, it can also be too cheap. One of the many novelties of collecting jewelry is to resell it later. Unfortunately, tungsten is not in demand the way precious metals are.

On top of this, tungsten jewelry is hard to resell because it can’t change shape. Most people customize their tungsten to fit their unique finger size when selecting the product. Everyone’s finger size is different, so it will be difficult for resellers when they find out nobody can wear their ring.

What are the cons of tungsten carbide?

There are some pitfalls with tungsten carbide alloys that sell on the market. First, tungsten carbide is much harder to sharpen. Since it is already such a strong material, few things can sharpen the carbide when it is dull. Overuse can make the jewelry dimmer in both texture and color.

Since tungsten carbide contains other metals, this might present a problem with scratching or corrosion. Likewise, tungsten carbide contains cobalt. This material is known to make fingers appear green. The condition is entirely safe but can look unappealing.

Tungsten vs. Titanium

Tungsten is not alone when it comes to up-and-coming jewelry. Titanium jewelry provides some of the same benefits that tungsten provides. Both materials are dense and durable. Titanium and tungsten are both resistant to rusting.

However, there are some notable differences between the two metals. Titanium is much lighter than tungsten. Tungsten rings are bulkier and heavier than titanium rings, which easily slide on and off. Tungsten is also a stronger metal.

What are the benefits of titanium?

Titanium is considerably inexpensive, even when you compare it to tungsten. Tungsten rings are more expensive than titanium rings. You need $200 to buy a tungsten ring, but you can buy titanium rings for less than $20.

Rings made from titanium are also slimmer than tungsten rings. Your finger may feel more comfortable with the titanium ring over time than with the tungsten ones. These rings fit easily in pockets without bouncing around. Titanium is also much easier to bend than tungsten is.

Why is tungsten better than titanium?

Tungsten is ultimately the stronger metal. Titanium only ranks 6 points on the hardness scale. This is a full 3 points lower than tungsten carbide. Tungsten jewelry is also much more resistant to scratching and corrosion.

In addition to being physically preferable to titanium, it’s also aesthetically better. Tungsten has a smooth texture and overall looks nicer.😻

Ultimately, titanium rings are the best resort for someone on a budget, but they’re always going to be worse quality than tungsten. Titanium can’t measure up against tungsten in any capacity except price.

Is tungsten right for me?

If you like inexpensive rings that last a long time and don’t feel cheap, look no further. These rings and bracelets are fashionable, durable, and don’t cost an arm and a leg.

Maybe you’re scrambling for an inexpensive but considerate gift for a loved one. Tungsten rings are the perfect gift for a family member or significant other. Maybe your nephew or brother wants one. 👉🏻If you want to go all-out, you can even customize these rings by adding gold or silver plating.

Some of the best qualities of tungsten jewelry include its scratch resistance, its price, and its hypoallergenicity. Its ability to combat corrosion and decay makes it stand out among other metals. Most people are impressed by just how good this material is.

Just remember that these rings have their flaws. Understand you might have to get another wedding band in a few years after you outgrow it. The rings are also prone to shattering if you are not careful with them. Fortunately, you can get a warranty on your tungsten jewelry.

What are some tungsten jewelry brands?

Here are some popular brands for buying tungsten jewelry:

Etsy is also a remarkable place to buy tungsten jewelry. This is because most of the tungsten rings and wedding braces are cheaper than you would find them at other vendors. Many people resell old items on Etsy so you can find a good deal.

Remember to stick to reputable sources when buying from Etsy. The website does not screen its items before they ship, so you have to trust whoever you're buying it from not to scam you.

We recommend shopping at Blue Nile

When shopping for tungsten, you need to consider your price range, warranty options, and the overall design of the ornament. We suggest shopping with Blue Nile, as they are an excellent company with quality products.

Blue Nile sells tungsten rings in many different settings and styles, like this 8mm Asymmetrical Black & Blue Engraved Wedding Band for $331.50. ​​You could also get a 6mm Comfort Fit Wedding Ring in Classic Gray for $175. Take advantage of the deals here.

Blue Nile’s other tungsten items range from $100 to $450. Their more expensive items are made from platinum and diamonds and can sometimes cost you thousands of dollars.

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