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When you think of wedding bands, gold or platinum likely comes to mind. However, an increasingly popular material on the market is neither of these and happens to be far more affordable than both. If you're on the hunt for something that's bold and unique, Tungsten Carbide might be the ideal ring option for you.
What Is Tungsten Carbide?
Tungsten Carbide is the result of combining or alloying carbon with Tungsten, hard and dense metal with a high melting point. Tungsten Carbide occasions a deep gray color in its untreated, natural state but can be polished, sandblasted, or carved to give it a wide range of finishing aesthetics.
“The best quality Tungsten Carbide rings include at least 80% Tungsten,” says Blue Nile senior merchandiser Roxanna Rector. “This combination makes rings that are strong, hypoallergenic, tarnish-resistant, and that will maintain their polish for a lifetime.”
Meet the Expert
Roxanna Rector is a senior merchandiser for Blue Nile and is based in Seattle.
Ready to learn more about tungsten carbide rings? Read on to become an expert on the pros and cons of these rings.
Pros and Cons of Tungsten Carbide Rings
Tungsten Carbide rings have a lot going for them. Rector notes that they check off all of the boxes. These rings are: hypoallergenic, tarnish resistant, and will remain polished virtually forever. Tungsten Carbide rings are also high scratch-resistance, so you don't have to worry about being cautious. Lastly, tungsten carbide's increased hardness and durability makes it highly sought after.
Additionally, Tungsten Carbide rings tend to be far more affordable than their gold and platinum counterparts. Plus, it essentially never loses its polish, which makes wearing it forever far more effortless.
Of course, there are some shortcomings that coincide with purchasing a Tungsten Carbide ring. For starters, there’s a chance that your supplier may be offering a ring with a purity level that is lower than 80%. Second, “because of its natural hardness properties, the ring is susceptible to cracking if dropped on a hard surface like cement or marble,” Rector notes. And as previously mentioned, because Tungsten isn’t malleable like gold, it can’t be resized. It’s also worth noting that these rings are typically heavy, which can be a plus or minus depending on your preference (Rector adds that they are a comparable weight to platinum).
What to Look for in a Tungsten Carbide Ring
As previously noted, if you’re buying a Tungsten Carbide ring it’s important to find one that’s at least 80% Tungsten.
- How can I tell if the ring is high quality? “At this purity, it is 10x harder than 18k gold and has a weight that’s substantial and luxurious, similar to platinum,“ Rector says. Sometimes sellers will use an expensive filler in place of Tungsten, causing the value and integrity of the ring to diminish.
- How is tungsten carbide weighed? Another important factor to consider is size. Because Tungsten Carbide rings are incredibly hard, they cannot be sized. “Consider buying your regular size as well as a half size up and keep the one that fits the best,” she notes. “If you buy a ring 6mm or wider, you may need a slightly larger size than what a ring sizer will tell you due to how much of your finger the ring will cover.”
How to Care for a Tungsten Carbide Ring
Because Tungsten Carbide rings are so durable, they require little to no maintenance. “The most important way to care for Tungsten rings is to ensure you don’t drop them on hard surfaces such as marble or cement, as they can crack and be difficult to repair,” Rector says.
History of Tungsten Carbide Rings
Tungsten can be traced back to the 1700s. “It was first extracted from ore, discovering the element with the highest melting point of all metals,” Rector explains. Fast forward to the 1800s and Tungsten Carbide is synthesized for the first time and “used for industrial purposes for its extreme durability, such as cutting tools in the 1900s and modern-day precise surgical instruments.”
Ahead, scroll through 20 sleek and modern Tungsten Carbide wedding rings.
Larson Jewelers Beveled Diamond Tungsten Wedding Band
For extra shine, choose a band that has a stone. This .06 carat round cut diamond band pairs nicely with the white gold bezel on the ring. The best feature of the band? Although it's lighter in color, it won't show scratches, thanks to the tungsten carbide's natural durability.