There are so many metals available for jewelry making these days that it can be very confusing when trying to decide what metal would be most suitable for you. This is even more important when you are looking for a wedding ring. Among all of the different choices however, none seem to inspire more confusion than titanium vs tungsten. If this is you, then it’s not your fault, as there is a lot of misinformation out there on both metals, usually provided by those either selling the different metals, or by those who sell competing metals. It’s important to debunk some of these myths before we start highlighting both the benefits and drawbacks of each material, particularly in their use as a jewelry making material.
They’re Not Indestructible
This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise (as nothing is), but with claims like “bulletproof” and “scratch-proof” being thrown around the internet like confetti, you’d be forgiven for thinking that either of these two metals could beat superman in a fight. The reality is that all substances have their strengths, weaknesses and breaking points, and while we can’t be sure who would win in a battle between superman vs titanium vs tungsten, we think superman would still have a fighting chance.
Strong Does Not Equal Hard
Titanium is very strong, there is no doubt about that, and that is one of its most desirable features. Being strong means that titanium will not bend as easily as other metals, nor will it chip or break anywhere as easily as other metals. Strong does not equate to hard though, which is why titanium will still scratch, despite its strength. Over time, a titanium wedding ring will still get quite scratched if you don’t look after it, so care must still be taken despite its relative strength. If you have a polished titanium ring though, it can be re-polished to achieve its original shine.
Hard Does Not Equal Strong
Tungsten on the other hand is very hard. In fact it’s the hardest metal on earth. This makes it virtually impossible to scratch with anything other than diamonds, other tungsten objects, or substances that are as hard or harder (of which there are very few). For the purposes of normal wear and tear, this means that a tungsten ring can still look brand new even after decades of use. This is of course their major selling point, and with good reason, as no other metal can match this unique feature.
What many sellers fail to make clear is that hard does not equal strong. In fact, if you had a pure tungsten ring it would still be virtually scratch-proof, but if you dropped it on a hard surface it would likely shatter into a hundred pieces. This is why carbon is added to the tungsten to give it more strength, which is why it’s often referred to as tungsten carbide. We personally have conducted experiments where we’ve dropped tungsten carbide rings off a six storey building onto concrete below, and the ring didn’t chip or even scratch, but there are also people out there who have dropped them on bathroom tiles for example which has chipped the ring. Once a tungsten carbide ring has been damaged, there’s not really anything you can do, except hope that you have bought from a retailer who provides a good structural warranty.
Is Tungsten Carbide A Metal?
Lately, a particular purveyor of competing metal jewelry has been making claims that tungsten carbide is a ceramic, and not even a metal. We’re not even sure how this is relevant even if it were the case (because calling it a different name doesn’t change the benefits/drawbacks), but we can give you some indisputable facts and leave you to make the decision yourself:
-Tungsten Carbide is between 80-90% tungsten, with the rest being carbon and trace elements.
-Tungsten is the hardest metal in the world
-A 9ct gold ring is considered to be gold jewelry by the majority of people, yet is only 37.5% actual gold, with the rest being made up of other materials in an attempt to strength it (and keep the price down).
Again, from our perspective the answer of whether or not it is a ceramic or a metal is academic and as such is immaterial as to whether or not you should choose it as a ring.
So Which One Should I Buy?
Well that is entirely up to you. Titanium is super strong, super light, and super comfortable. It will scratch however, so requires care and maintenance in that respect. It also happens to be the most hypoallergenic metal on the planet, so it’s good for your skin, and sometimes it’s the only choice for those with sensitive skin conditions.
Tungsten on the other hand will only scratch in very unique and extreme conditions, which means a polished tungsten ring will look as good in many years time as when you bought it. Tungsten rings will also require care though, as you don’t want to drop it in the shower too many times in case it chips.
Titanium Vs Tungsten – And The Winner Is…
You! Having both of these unique metals in the marketplace gives all of us consumers more choices, and equipped with the right information you can determine which metal will suit your lifestyle the best. If you’re looking for a wedding ring (but don’t like wearing rings) then a titanium ring might be best, as they’re so light you barely know you’re wearing them. If you have a workplace or hobbies that are likely to scratch the titanium ring, then tungsten carbide might be the better option. Like any purchase, how you look after the ring will help determine how long it will last (and in what condition) and always buy with a decent warranty.