Does Tungsten Scratch?

Can Tungsten Carbide Be Scratched

Tungsten can be scratched by non metals, such as diamonds, sapphires and other crystals found in rocks. Tungsten will resist scratching better than any other metal. This does not mean it is scratch proof, but highly scratch resistant.

Tungsten wedding bands are the best selling wedding bands in America, maybe even Canada. Tungsten carbide, the main component in these rings, is a highly scratch resistant compound. For decades, this ceramic like metal compound has been used in the tooling, defense, and aerospace industries due to its wear resistant properties. Tungsten carbide, or tungsten for short, became widely used in the jewelry industry during the last decade specifically for its scratch resistant properties. However, consumers have come to believe tungsten rings cannot be scratched at all. Unfortunately, this is not true. Tungsten can be scratched. Even the hardest material on earth, diamonds, can be scratched.

Many unscrupulous marketers and retailers in the marketplace have begun to embellish or twist the facts about tungsten in order to get more sales. They no longer claim that tungsten is scratch resistant. They say that tungsten is scratch proof. This has made life a little difficult for reputable jewelers who are truthful in their disclosures to the public. Customers hear or read from other sources that tungsten cannot be scratched no matter what and believe this to be true. Then, when they purchase a tungsten ring from a jeweler and it does eventually have a tiny scratch, the consumer thinks the jeweler sold a poor quality or even fake tungsten ring because it was not supposed to scratch. To set the record straight, tungsten carbide is the hardest and most scratch resistant or wear resistant metal known to man.

This is how tungsten rings are machined and shaped into rings. If it cannot be scratched at all, then that would mean it can never be made into jewelry with different designs and finishes. Even the hardest material on earth, diamonds, can be scratched. If it could not be, then it would be impossible to cut and polish diamonds into the beautiful shapes that we see at the jewelry store. Diamonds do not come out of the Earth shiny and polished to perfection. They are cut and polished using tools that contain diamonds.

It is normal to see small scratches on a tungsten ring over time, especially if the person wearing the ring is constantly working with their hands or comes in contact with rocks, construction materials, or any hard non-metallic materials. Tungsten does withstand scratching better than any other metal. This means if there is some amount of scratching on a tungsten ring, it would be 10 times worse if the ring were a gold ring. Every material on Earth has different physical properties that make it suitable for some things and not suitable for others. Consumers should take the time to get past the hype and become educated about the products they want to purchase. This will reduce the unpleasant surprises that come from lack of knowledge. Reputable jewelers would be happy to explain all the pros and cons of their products when asked.