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Tungsten - Ring Buyer's Guide

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Tungsten carbide is an extremely strong and durable material. It is commonly found inside nuclear reactors, but has recently been popularised for jewellery. Tungsten rings have recently become a popular choice for people who work with their hands or in environments with strong chemicals as the material is corrosion and scratch resistant. These rings are available in many different styles and with lots of different finishes, meaning there is a tungsten ring to suit everybody.

Tungsten rings with bevelled edges
Tungsten ring with bevelled edges.

What is Tungsten Carbide?

Tungsten carbide is a chemical compound of tungsten and carbon atoms. It begins life as a fine grey powder, but it can be pressed and formed into shapes using specialist machinery. It is common for use in industrial machinery; to make cutting tools; in armour-piercing shells and other weaponry; and jewellery.

Due to the nature of the material, once tungsten carbide is shaped it cannot be reshaped. It is twice as hard and dense as steel. In fact tungsten can only be polished with industrial abrasives. Tungsten rings are 10 times harder than rings made from 18 karat gold.

Because tungsten rings are so hard and stiff, they are resistant to scratches and dents. However under extreme impact they can shatter. For some people this is preferable to the alternative option of precious metals which bend on impact and can require cutting off the finger in an emergency. It is up to you which material sounds more suited to your lifestyle.

Tungsten rings with rose gold IP plating
Tungsten ring with rose gold IP plating.

Tips for Purchasing Tungsten Rings

If you have decided that a tungsten carbide ring is right for you, there are a few steps you should take before purchasing.

  • Ensure you know your size! Tungsten rings cannot be resized, so you will need to be certain before you make your purchase. Try some sample rings in the same width and depth as your preferred tungsten style to make sure the ring is comfortable for you.
Tungsten rings with round cubic zirconia
Tungsten ring with round cubic zirconia.
  • Take the weight into consideration! Remember that tungsten is extremely dense and will feel much heavier on your hand than the equivalent ring in another material. If your sample ring feels slightly loose, the tungsten equivalent may slip down your finger when the sample would not.
Tungsten rings with black and blue IP plating
Tungsten ring with black and blue IP plating.
  • Buy in advance! Tungsten casting is a specialised skill. The process involves a specialised environment. Therefore they cannot be made on express like a precious metal band could. If your heart is set on tungsten, leave plenty of time for this specialised manufacturing to take place. This way you can avoid being left hanging on your wedding day.
Tungsten rings with ceramic lines
Tungsten ring with ceramic lines.