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When you think of wedding bands, gold or platinum most likely comes to mind. However, an increasingly popular material on the market is neither of these and happens to be far more affordable than both. If you’re on the hunt for something that’s bold and unique, tungsten carbide might be ideal.
What Is Tungsten Carbide?
Tungsten carbide is the result of combining or alloying carbon with tungsten, hard and dense metal with a high melting point. Tungsten carbide is a deep gray color in its untreated, natural state, but it can be polished, sandblasted, or carved to give it a wide range of finishing aesthetics.
“The best quality tungsten carbide rings include at least 80 percent tungsten,” says Blue Nile senior merchandiser Roxanna Rector. “This combination makes rings that are strong, hypoallergenic, tarnish-resistant, and that will maintain their polish for a lifetime.”
Meet the Expert
- Roxanna Rector is the Senior Buyer for engagement and bridal rings at Blue Nile.
Ready to learn more about tungsten carbide rings? Read on to learn about the pros and cons of these rings and how to care for one.
Pros and Cons of Tungsten Carbide Rings
Tungsten carbide rings have a lot going for them. The affordable wedding bands are significantly cheaper than gold or platinum, and they are hypoallergenic and scratch and tarnish resistant. Tungsten carbide is a hard, durable material that will remain polished virtually forever.
Of course, there are some shortcomings that coincide with purchasing a tungsten carbide ring. For starters, there’s a chance your supplier may be offering a ring with a purity level that is lower than 80 percent. Second, “because of its natural hardness properties, the ring is susceptible to cracking if dropped on a hard surface like cement or marble,” Rector notes.
And because tungsten isn’t malleable like gold, it can’t be resized. It’s also worth noting that tungsten carbide rings are typically heavy—though Rector says they are a comparable weight to platinum—which can be a plus or minus depending on your preference.
What to Look for in a Tungsten Carbide Ring
As previously noted, if you’re buying a tungsten carbide ring it’s important to find one that’s at least 80 percent tungsten.
- How can I tell if the ring is high quality? “At this purity, it is 10x harder than 18k gold and has a weight that’s substantial and luxurious, similar to platinum,“ Rector says. Sometimes sellers will use an expensive filler in place of tungsten, causing the value and integrity of the ring to diminish.
- Can tungsten carbide rings be resized? Because tungsten carbide rings are incredibly hard, they cannot be resized. “Consider buying your regular size as well as a half size up and keep the one that fits the best,” she notes. “If you buy a ring 6mm or wider, you may need a slightly larger size than what a ring sizer will tell you due to how much of your finger the ring will cover.”
How to Care for a Tungsten Carbide Ring
Because tungsten carbide rings are so durable, they require little to no maintenance. “The most important way to care for Tungsten rings is to ensure you don’t drop them on hard surfaces such as marble or cement, as they can crack and be difficult to repair,” Rector says.
Ahead, scroll through 20 sleek and modern tungsten carbide wedding rings.