Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Marvelous Selection of Tungsten Wedding Rings

By Heather Pike

While we do not recommend intentionally trying to damage your ring, tungsten carbide can endure a lot of abuse. Tungsten carbide rings are an 8.5-9.5 on the mohs scale. This means that the only way to scratch a tungsten carbide ring is to polish the ring with carborundum or grind it with a diamond grade abrasive.

There's a huge difference between a tungsten alloy ring and a tungsten carbide ring. How huge? If you're expecting a hard as diamond tough as nails piece of jewelry, make sure it's tungsten carbide. Tungsten alloys are softer and will scratch much more easily, meaning you'll lose your polish much sooner. If you find yourself at a vendor that either doesn't know the difference or won't tell you, play it on the safe side and get out. There are lot's of quality places out there who will.

Ductility: Titanium is more ductile than tungsten in the common alloys used in jewelry. In other words, when a wedding ring is under high pressure, such as hit by a car door, a titanium ring would be bend out-of-round whereas a tungsten carbide ring would fracture into several pieces. Hence, in terms of safety, a tungsten carbide ring is "safer" to wear.

Hypoallergenic: This is the very same concern as buying silver jewelry to some people: Will I be allergic to the jewelry? In general, titanium jewelry is virtually safe to wear for everybody. Yet, some tungsten carbide jewelry contains the element cobalt that some people are allergic to. Interesting, another form of tungsten alloy using nickel as a binder metal is hypoallergenic, even to people who are allergic to nickel.

Because they're so tough, tungsten rings are pretty impossible to resize in the same way that gold or silver jewelry is. Most websites and vendors will allow you to trade in your ring for a new one if your finger size changes, or if you guessed your partners' size wrong, but don't assume that this is the case. In addition, there's generally a charge involved in getting a new one of the right size. Knowing your ring size before you go will save you a lot of grief.

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