There are two different types of tungsten metals on the market. One is simply called “tungsten“, the other is called “tungsten carbide“.
Tungsten carbide is the best.
The word tungsten actually means “heavy stone” in Nordic. And when they say it’s heavy, they mean it. When customers pick up a tungsten ring for the first time, they are instantly surprised by the weight.
And not only is tungsten heavy, but it’s extremely durable as well. That’s why jewelers love to do the file test.
What’s the file test?
It’s where the jeweler takes out a stainless steel file and attempts to scratch the tungsten ring with it. To see this demonstrated, make your way to a tungsten retailer, or watch a video on Youtube, as in the one here:
They also have a sledge hammer test, saw test, bullet test…) Tungsten is so hard that there are only 2 things in the world that will scratch it: corundum (ruby and sapphire) and diamond.
Tungsten and the Moh’s scale:
Tungsten carbide (8.5-9 on the Moh’s scale of hHardness) is mixed with carbon (what a diamond is made of) to give it that extra strength and durability. But this durability also makes tungsten very hard to work with. It takes 30-40 steps just to get tungsten into a fashionable ring to wear. That’s insane.
You have to heat it to a massive 6200° (3422c) in order to work with it. That’s hot.
So now you understand why stores can advertise tungsten as “100% scratch proof.” It’s true.
Most tungsten rings come with a lifetime warranty, which is excellent. Because if you ever lose or gain weight and need your ring re-sized… Guess what? You can’t! Tungsten can’t be sized. It has to be special ordered in the correct size (prices will vary, so keep your original receipts and invoices). That’s tungsten’s biggest fault. But I look at it this way: If it looks brand new forever… Having to order it is just a minor flaw.
I love the way tungsten feels, and the way tungsten looks (it polishes up to a beautiful mirror finish). Plus, tungsten’s gunmetal dark-grey color is awesome. It reminds me of hematite.
Tungsten is also hypoallergenic.
Tungsten carbide (atomic number 74 – symbol WC) is bonded with the element nickel. You won’t have to worry about allergies to nickel because there’s less than 1% added. These rings are hypoallergenic and will never stain or irritate your skin.
The other tungsten rings (labeled just ‘tungsten‘) are cheaper and mixed with cobalt. Cobalt can irritate the skin and actually cause the ring to discolor, oxidate and even stain the metal permanently (which can’t be polished out).
The cobalt is what interacts with your skin’s body acids and causes this staining process. Plus, tungsten (not tungsten carbide) can scratch (and that’s because it’s only a 7.5 on the Moh’s scale).
So you have to be careful when you’re out shopping for tungsten rings. You may think you’re buying a perfect durable ring, but it could develop problems later (no one wants rashes).
Is is tungsten carbide?
Always look for “tungsten carbide” in the ring shank. Look at the display signs and tags. They should state clearly that the rings “don’t contain cobalt” or “cobalt free“. You’ll be glad you looked.
Tungsten carbide is everlasting. No other metal compares to it. Silver scratches. Gold scratches. Platinum scratches. Titanium scratches. You see, being virtually indestructible makes tungsten the king of all metals.
Tungsten is quickly gaining in popularity as well. Men love it. It’s heavy (feels like you have a real ring on), it’s inexpensive (about the same price as gold), and it’s durable… Like Superman. You can even buy other jewelry like bracelets and watches in tungsten too. Very cool.
Who produces tungsten?
China produces 75% of all tungsten mined in the world, but Austria, Bolivia, Portugal and even Russia produce tungsten as well. Up until lately, tungsten was widely used in the mechanical industry, but with this new trend in men’s modern jewelry, I’d say that tungsten is here to stay… Forever. Literally!
One last note about tungsten…
Avoid ultrasonic cleaners (clean them by hand with mild, soapy water). It’s been stated that ultrasonic cleaners, steam cleaners and ionic cleaners (plus harsh chemicals) can actually cause tungsten to spot.
How this is possible with the hardest metal on earth, I don’t know???
But, I do know, that tungsten doesn’t scratch.
It looks great.
It feels great.
And it’s got men trying to destroy it… HA!
Some tungsten retailers are telling guys that if they can harm, hurt or damage the ring in anyway, no problems, they’ll replace it for free. Guys are having fun with this (see Youtube again). Not that I recommend doing this… Your wife may get REALLY REALLY MAD.
But, with tungsten, what more could you ask for?
A sledge hammer?
Buy your tungsten carbide jewelry from Amazon today.