Tungsten

Tungsten is one of the most notable new metals in the world of mens jewelry, and it is also the hardest jewelry metals ever made.  As a result, one of the first things men notice about tungsten is its weight.  When the metal was first introduced, it was primarily used for men’s wedding rings, but now it is also used in mens bracelets, necklaces, watches and pendants.  Some men prefer the added weight of their tungsten jewelry because they like the way it adds “gravitas” to the meaning behind the ring.  But that’s not the only reason men appreciate this industrial metal.

Tungsten, or tungsten carbide as it is commonly known, is a whole lot stronger and more scratch-resistant than other metals used in fine jewelry.  While it may not have the intrinsic value associated with precious metals like gold and platinum, tungsten is a far more practical choice for men who want a piece of jewelry that lasts.  It is hard to damage a tungsten ring without making a serious effort, and it requires very little maintenance.  Even if it does show signs of wear, it can always be polished back to its original luster.

How does tungsten compare to other metals?

  • Pricewise, tungsten is much less expensive than gold and platinum.  However, it is usually more costly than stainless steel and sterling silver.  Designer tungsten rings are noticeably more expensive than non-designer rings, but it is worth the price difference when you find the perfect ring.
  • When it comes to strength and durability, tungsten is hard to beat.  Other industrial metals, such as titanium, cobalt and stainless steel, have altogether different properties than tungsten.  While all of them are hypoallergenic, tungsten is denser than the other three and it has a slightly different color.
  • The color of tungsten is closer to that of hematite than it is to white metals like platinum, giving it a lustrous dark hue that is unlike any other metal.  Glossy black tungsten is often paired with natural tungsten for a unique two-toned look.  Black tungsten can also be contrasted with whiter metals like titanium or stainless steel, but some men prefer the look of natural gray tungsten on its own.

What are some common misconceptions about tungsten?

When you start shopping for tungsten rings, you may hear that they are impossible to remove in the event of an emergency and may even require the removal of a finger in lieu of the ring.  This is not true; specialized tools can be used to break a tungsten ring into a few large pieces.

Another common misconception about tungsten is that it causes skin irritations.  This is only true when the metal is alloyed with cobalt, which can interact with the oils in the skin, but most people have no reaction to cobalt.  Manufacturers have found that this can easily be remedied by using nickel as a binder.

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