Tungsten wedding rings are ideal when durability is the main consideration. Carl Wilhelm Scheele is credited with the discovery of Tungsten in 1781, but it took nearly two centuries for applications to be developed to fully utilize the attributes of this metal.
Today in 2013, there are jewelers who now market "pure" tungsten rings. But in this case the purity of the metal is not in the best interest of the wearer. Tungsten used alone, results in jewelry that is easily scratched, destroying the beauty of the ring.
On its own, the unique hardness is legend, but to bring out its full potential it must be combined with a carbon alloy, transforming it into Tungsten Carbide, measuring between 8.5 and 9.5 on the Mohs hardness scale: only diamonds which measure 10 on the Mohs scale are harder. Innovative jewelers such as Titanium Kay were among the first online merchants to recognize the high level of customer satisfaction that these rings would produce.
Using it for jewelry crafting is the newest application to take advantage of its qualities, but it is hardly a new metal. Hundreds of industrial applications such as space craft, deep terrain mining and cutting tools use it because it's twice as hard as steel and four times harder than titanium.
It is the alloy metal, in most cases nickel-binder carbide which gives tungsten carbide its "permanently polished" appearance. There are tungsten rings created using cobalt as a binder because it's cheaper. However the problem with using cobalt is that it bonds with oils in the skin, over time, the cobalt leeches out of the ring and can irritate the skin because of oxidation. Unfortunately once this happens no amount of grinding or polishing will remove the oxidation which is very similar in appearance to tarnished silver.
The main reason that quality jewelers prefer nickel-binder carbide is because it's hypoallergenic; it won't irritate the skin. It's also chemically inert; it doesn't bond with body oils so the problem of oxidation is eliminated. Using nickel-carbide allows jewelry designers to create wedding rings that are visually appealing and at the same time super-durable.
When you are shopping for tungsten jewelry, understanding which alloy metal was used in the manufacturing process can save you a lot of grief in the long run. Over the past decade the popularity of this metal has soared; partially because of its strength and beauty as well as price, compared to Sterling Silver or 14K/18K Gold. This has caused many jewelers to use cobalt as an alloy or sell pure tungsten rings at very low prices to cash in on the popular trend. Because it's a new metal in jewelry craft, shoppers are unaware of the problems that will develop in the future.
It's important to ask the jeweler which alloy was used in the Tungsten Carbide ring you want to purchase. Not every jeweler knows this information and if they cannot assure you that it's a nickel-carbide alloy, you can almost be certain that it's cobalt. The ideal ratio of tungsten to alloy is 84/16: 84 parts of tungsten to 16 parts nickel-carbide. Pure tungsten not only scratch very easily: they also shatter when dropped onto a hard surface. The nickel-carbide alloy supports maximum hardness and rigidity of tungsten and its tensile strength.
Unlike the traditional metals of gold and silver which both need to be treated with special care in order to retain their beauty, tungsten carbide rings can be worn during activities as rigorous as mountain climbing. As one of the two most popular 'modern metals' along with Titanium, rings made from tungsten appeal to individuals with active lifestyles who prefer not to take their wedding rings off their hand.
With the diverse array of designs available, exquisite jewelry for marriage ceremonies has taken on new life. Craftsmen are now using traditional precious metals together with this modern one, creating unique styles with a beautiful finish that will last forever.
Titanium Kay introduced wedding bands made in tungsten with inlays of precious metals such as Yellow Gold, Platinum and Rose Gold. Other materials have also been used such as carbon fiber and ceramics. Each of these materials has its own natural characteristics which contrast nicely with the forever polished look of the tungsten part.
The manufacturing and hand-crafting process for tungsten jewelry is a world apart from the days of smelting gold and filling a die cast mold to a certain size. Its hardness requires special machinery and diamond-studded tools. A beautiful, indestructible ring starts off as a powder that is then forged with extremely intense heat: this metal has a high melting point at 2,870 °C (5,200 °F) . The design styling is also done with the help of diamond tools, at this stage, precious metal inlays and gemstones are fit into the piece. The final product is a breathtaking ring that has been polished to a level no other metal can match...and last forever.
For individuals who have dreamed of a custom-designed wedding ring, the affordability can make it a reality. With the remarkable polished finish this metal has it easily rivals the appearance of Platinum without the risk of damage or large expense. Individuals who want jewelry that has style, strength and comfort, it brings these three qualities together beautifully.
The popularity of tungsten jewelry is proof that you can enjoy beauty and durability at an affordable price. When tungsten is matched with its best alloy, under a skilled craftsman's hands, contemporary styles in step with classic designs emerge. Every day and special day jewelry should look great each time you wear it.