Let's unshroud some of the mystery surrounding titanium and tungsten wedding bands!
Tungsten wedding bands and titanium wedding bands are some of the most popular ring styles on the market today. They come in a wide variety of colors and styles, with just as many unique types of inlays and etchings. In fact, one of the many reasons why titanium men’s wedding bands are popular is because they are so customizable.
While many people know the two metals are durable, perfect for men’s wedding bands or lovingly-crafted jewelry, there is still a bit of mystery surrounding them, at least more so than gold or platinum.
We thought we’d unshroud some of that mystery, and quell some concerns, by revealing a few lesser-known facts about the materials. For example, which one is the winner, in the men’s wedding bands titanium vs tungsten debate?
Here are 10 things you didn’t know about tungsten and titanium wedding bands.
If you’d like to learn about the titanium wedding bands pros and cons, be sure to check out our previous guide on Titanium Wedding Bands.
1. Titanium and Tungsten Wedding Bands Are for Men and Women
Have you heard that these metals are only for men’s jewelry? That’s unequivocally wrong.
There are many unisex titanium wedding bands, as well as unisex tungsten bands. Moreover, there are even some women’s titanium wedding bands with uniformly feminine designs, as opposed to the masculine solid shades and smooth, polished exteriors.
2. Tungsten Isn’t Always A Better Choice Than Titanium
Of the two metals, tungsten is the strongest and it’s more scratch-resistant. Tungsten carbide is 8.5 to 9 on the hardness scale, while titanium is 6. Tungsten can only be scratched by a metal or material that’s an equal or higher rank — which would be diamonds.
However, that does not mean tungsten is necessarily the superior material. Because it’s so hard, it is also very brittle. What that means is if you drop it or subject it to enough pressure it can shatter or break, so it’s not indestructible.
Titanium, on the other hand, while much harder than gold and platinum, is still malleable. That means it has a little more give and won’t shatter if dropped, but it can warp under rare conditions. Titanium is corrosion, tarnish, scratch, and break-resistant so it’s a perfectly suitable material for wedding bands and jewelry.
When choosing a wedding band, consider these properties, and understand that one material may be better suited for your needs. If you’re prone to dropping items, for example, you might want to avoid tungsten.
3. The Metal Used In Jewelry Is Not Pure
Neither tungsten nor titanium is 100% pure when used to create jewelry, and wedding bands specifically. This is because both metals, in the purest form, are much too difficult to work with, especially tungsten.
Instead, they are mixed to create an alloy, like tungsten carbide, for example. Tungsten is often combined with carbon, nickel, and cobalt. Titanium is often mixed with vanadium and aluminum. They’re about 70 to 90% pure, and the added materials give the substance more workability and slight improvements in design.
4. Tungsten and Titanium Are Considered Affordable, But Not Necessarily Cheap
In general, both materials or metals are considered affordable. You can find men’s titanium rings cheap, just as you can men’s and women’s tungsten bands for cheap. In monetary terms, both are relatively cheap materials compared to something like gold, platinum, or even diamond. This does not necessarily denote its value.
For both types of metals, the ring’s design, craftsmanship, quality, and additional elements help to determine the price. There are rings in both types of materials that are well over $5,000 or even $10,000, believe it or not. The more expensive styles often incorporate intricate inlays or more elegant materials.
The point is, don’t assume that all tungsten and titanium wedding bands are cheap. Moreover, they can usually be upgraded at a later point, to include gold or platinum plating — if you desire a more expensive or elaborate metal finish.
5. Titanium and Tungsten Wedding Bands Cannot Be Resized
In some rare and limited circumstances, it’s possible to resize titanium but doing so is never recommended, so most jewelers simply do not offer the service. That’s why titanium and tungsten bands come with a lifetime warranty, at least when purchased through a reputable seller. This allows you to exchange the band for one of an appropriate size when it’s necessary.
The reason why these metals cannot be resized is that they cannot be soldered after being cut, and that’s before taking into consideration how difficult they are to cut in the first place!
6. Titanium and Tungsten Wedding Bands CAN Be Engraved
It’s a common misconception that tungsten and titanium cannot be engraved, they absolutely can!
Of course, the engraving method is going to differ between the materials. Because tungsten is much harder, it requires laser engraving, which can be a bit more expensive depending on who handles the process. Titanium, on the other hand, is soft enough that traditional engraving methods will work.
7. They Won’t Harm Those with Metal Allergies (Mostly)
Both titanium and tungsten are naturally hypoallergenic, so they won’t turn your skin green, nor will they irritate those with severe metal allergies.
Titanium is 100% biocompatible and it’s the go-to material for implants and plates installed inside the body.
It should be noted that tungsten may or may not cause reactions depending on the blend of alloy. When it’s mixed with nickel or cobalt it can cause skin reactions in those who are allergic to those compounds. If you are allergic to one of these materials, then be sure to find a piece that’s labeled ‘cobalt-free’ or ‘nickel-free’. You can always ask the seller or jeweler to be sure!
8. Tungsten Is Heavy, Titanium Is Not
Being the more solid and durable material, tungsten has a heavier weight and may feel as such when worn. Titanium, on the other hand, is incredibly lightweight even being so durable. If you have an affinity for lightweight materials and don’t want the heavier ring on your finger, stick with titanium.
Honestly, this is why you should always try on a band before buying one, just to see how it feels on your finger. You might find you’re okay with the heavier material, or not.
9. Titanium Is More Colorful
While both materials are found in awesome colors, like gunmetal or silver, it’s the unique selections that stand out. Titanium is softer, so it can be anodized, which means it can be converted into a variety of colors like pink, red, blue, and much more. It can also be finished differently than tungsten, such as with a satin look that has a more robust texture.
If you want tungsten in a unique color, don’t worry, it’s still possible. With tungsten, plating is used to give it a more unique look. The tungsten is durable but the plating can sometimes wear or change color over time, which means it might need to be replated at some point.
Keep these things in mind when choosing a ring. While you can find tungsten in different colors, it’s better to go with titanium if that’s your preference. Otherwise, just be prepared to have your ring serviced every so often to refresh the vibrancy and look!
10. Titanium and Tungsten Wedding Bands Are Extra Comfortable
Men’s comfort fit titanium wedding bands, and men’s comfort fit tungsten wedding bands, are both designed to be easy to put on and take off, but they’re also super comfortable. Depending on the design of the ring, they feel amazing on the finger and they will slide easily over the knuckle. It’s especially true when they have a smooth, polished backing.
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