There are many questions surrounding the differences between tungsten and titanium jewelry. Currently, tungsten and titanium are two of the most sought after types of men’s rings and wedding bands. Tungsten and titanium are rather new to the jewelry industry, thus unfortunately there is a lack of information concerning the pros and cons of each metal.
The following list provides facts which will hopefully help decide which of these magnificent metals are right for you.
1. Color Characteristics
The base color of titanium is very similar to silver, where as the base color of tungsten is a darker grey. Both metals can be manipulated to produce a variety of hues and colors. Jewelers use a process known as anodization to color titanium jewelry in a variety of hues. Tungsten carbide can vary from a shiny light grey to a dark brushed grey. Black rings can be made from both tungsten and titanium however the process varies. With titanium the black color is fused into the ring, where as with tungsten the black is an ip plating.
Titanium and tungsten are both well known for their superior hardness over traditional metals such as silver, gold, and platinum. Tungsten rings do not bend and will never become deformed. Titanium, while very strong, will bend out of round under extreme pressure. The one big difference between the two rings is that the only thing which can scratch a tungsten ring is a diamond. Titanium on the other hand while very hard is susceptible to scratching and marring. One thing worth noting is that pure tungsten and titanium by themselves are not very durable. It is the process of combing the pure metals with other alloys that produces their incredible durability
Tungsten rings are much heavier then rings composed of titanium alloy. Titanium is 43% lighter then stainless steel, and tungsten carbide is 90% heavier. When you put a tungsten ring on you will be able to feel the quality, titanium is deceptively light.
Ductility is similar to malleability in that it defines a metals ability to bend and stretch under pressure without fracturing. The higher the ductility the more easily a metal will bend or break. Titanium is a more ductile metal than tungsten carbide. In other words, when a ring is under pressure, such as being hit by a door, a titanium ring would be bend whereas a tungsten ring would fracture if it incurred any damage at all.
This is a concern to many when purchasing jewelry or wedding bands. Titanium is completely hypoallergenic and will not irritate or discolor your skin. Titanium is also completely inert, and resistant to corrosion by all body fluids and tissue
When purchasing tungsten rings you want to be sure the ring uses nickel as a binder as opposed to cobalt. Tungsten carbide rings and wedding bands if combined with cobalt can produce allergic reactions, as well as skin and ring discoloration. Tungsten jewelry manufactured with a nickel binder is completely hypoallergenic, even for those with nickel allergies.
6. Engraving and resizing
Due to the high strength and ductility tungsten rings can not be resized. If you are purchasing a tungsten ring make sure the jeweler offers a lifetime sizing guarantee. Tungsten rings can be engraved, however not through traditional methods. A tungsten ring must be engraved with a diamond tipped engraving machine. Titanium wedding rings can be engraved with a traditional jeweler’s tool known as a graver. Titanium rings and wedding bands can be resized, however resizing a ring will weaken it at one or more points.
Tungsten carbide jewelry is in general more expensive than titanium jewelry. There are multiple factors which determine the cost of jewelry. The three main components relating to cost are raw materials, production environment, and production man hours. Tungsten rings require specific environment control devices to manufacture and are more time intensive to produce then titanium.
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