One of the most contemporary materials in vogue for a wedding band is tungsten; however, it is very important to know whether it is the right choice for you. To make sure that you are making the optimum choice, you need to understand the characteristics of the material, its benefits and disadvantages, how you should buy, etc.
The Characteristics of Tungsten Bands
Tungsten is a metal that is also known by the name of wolfram. It has the highest melting point among all metals as also the best tensile strength. This makes it extremely hard and durable. However, it needs to be appreciated that tungsten wedding rings are not made out of tungsten alone but out of a compound called tungsten carbide that is made by mixing tungsten and carbide in equal proportions. The resultant powder is again mixed with a binder, usually cobalt or nickel to yield a compound that is perfect for crafting various items with unusual hardness. Rings of high quality, however, use only nickel as a binder since the inclusion of cobalt is likely to cause irritation, rash and allergies that have been observed in many people.
The tungsten carbide rings have outstanding tensile strength and melting point and are extremely resistant to scratches. Being a metal it has a moderate conductivity of electricity and heat, and users need to be cautious of wearing them in environments that may pose hazards. Tungsten wedding bands can be a little heavy; to get an idea, they are just a little heavier that those made out of 14 carat gold. It possesses a beautiful grey color that can be polished to a high luster and also made darker by brush finishing. There are some rings that are widely called as black tungsten rings – the darker color is achieved by having another plate of black material over tungsten carbide, which is grey in color. Even though these rings look beautiful, they tend to scratch more easily as the plate material is softer, even though it may contain some amount of tungsten carbide.
Is Brittleness a Big Concern?
There has been a fair amount of debate regarding the suitability of tungsten rings as it is supposed to be brittle. It is true that unlike other metals like gold, silver, platinum, etc. that tend to bend when pressure is applied, a tungsten ring will break when sufficient pressure is exerted on it. However, the amount of pressure that is required to crack a tungsten ring is pretty massive and it is not something the average wearer should at all be worried about.
In fact, there is a theory that it is preferable for the ring to break instead of bending because in case the finger is subject to such extreme forces, it will simply fall apart instead of hurting the finger. This is the reason why tungsten bands are actually preferred by those who work with heavy objects or machinery. To allay the fears of customers who think that their rings will break easily, most manufacturers and retailers offer lifetime warranties and no-charge replacement in case a ring does crack.
When you are in the market to purchase a quality tungsten band, you should only deal with retailers that offer a lifetime warranty against cracking and manufacturing defects. If you are purchasing them online then you need to ensure that the retailer will accept a return in case it does not fit properly. Proper sizing is very important as these rings being very hard cannot be resized. Do not select designs that involve plates of any kind over the tungsten carbide material as invariably that will tend to scratch or corrode and ruin the ring. Make it a point to avoid cobalt impregnated rings as you do not want allergies or rashes on your skin.
Author bio: Cynthia Mathers is a senior sales person at one of the leading jewelers on the East Coast. An avid blogger, she writes frequently on wedding jewelry, including tungsten wedding bands for both men and women.