May 19, 2012 in Wedding Rings
Tungsten rings are quickly becoming a very popular choice for wedding bands and everyday rings. Tungsten’s weight, shine and durability appeal to men and women alike. One of the hardest substances on Earth, tungsten is used to create rings that can withstand the daily abuse of an active lifestyle. Although tungsten rings have only really been produced for a few years, they are proving as popular as white gold and titanium. Tungsten has many benefits that other metals cannot match, which is why tungsten cannot be ignored in the wedding bands market.
Just how hard are tungsten rings? It is second only to diamonds as the hardest material used in jewelry today. When tungsten is combined with carbon, an alloy called tungsten carbide is produced. The metal becomes extremely durable and virtually scratch-proof. Because the name tungsten carbide is long, many jewelers, including Larson Jewelers, just use the word “tungsten” to describe tungsten carbide rings. Rest assured all of our tungsten rings are made of tungsten carbide, not plain tungsten. Although, men with active lifestyles or those who work with heavy machinery and tools usually want to remove their rings to avoid damage, when it comes to tungsten rings there is no need to remove them. Those looking for a more durable metal than platinum or gold used to turn to titanium, for lack of a better alternative, but they had to sacrifice the heavy feel of platinum or gold to get the strength of titanium. Tungsten gives wearers the best of both worlds: it is four times more durable than titanium, and has the similar hefty feel of platinum or gold jewelry. Engraving on tungsten rings can be done by traditional etched engraving machines or with laser engraving machines. However, due to the hardness of the metal, laser engraving is the preferred method of engraving on tungsten rings. No matter which engraving option one chooses, the engraving will be permanent and last forever, as opposed to engraving on other softer metals, such as platinum and gold, which can easily be scratched off over a short period of time from normal everyday wear.
The process of making tungsten carbide jewelry involves grinding and machining a piece of shapeless metal into a beautifully designed ring, similar to cutting and polishing a beautiful diamond. Tungsten rings consist of 85% tungsten carbide, which is the ideal tungsten carbide purity level to produce the strongest rings. The remaining 15% consists of trace amounts of many other metals, nickel being the main component to bind all the other metals together. The metals are ground down into a fine powder and then high pressure compression is used to form a ring blank. The blank is then fired in an oxygen free furnace at extremely high temperatures. Tungsten is so strong, that it does not really melt in extremely high temperatures. Instead, it is the other elements that melt and “glue” themselves to tungsten to form tungsten carbide. The result is a solid piece of metal that behaves more like a hard diamond than a metal. The next stage is the most labor intensive step required to make tungsten rings. The rings must be cut and polished into their desired styles with diamond cutting wheels and grinding tools. The finishing step is to polish the rings to a high sheen by using a fine powder of diamond dust. Only after all this labor and energy is put into each ring, is it finally ready for you to wear.
Tungsten rings will provide years and years of pleasure to wear with no deterioration in looks or performance. This is the reason that tungsten is proving so popular for use in wedding bands – there is something innately romantic about the idea of the symbol of lifetime love, actually lasting a lifetime. Tungsten is not just a fashion trend, but a major player that is here to stay, with its own unique niche in the men’s wedding ring market.