When shopping for an alternative metal wedding band, you will come across the terms tungsten and tungsten carbide frequently during your search for the perfect ring. To make an informed decision, you may want to know what the differences between them are and which you should focus on as you look for a ring.
When it comes to jewelry, tungsten and tungsten carbide are the same.
Although tungsten carbide is the more correct or complete term, they are used interchangeably. There is no difference between the wedding bands marketed as tungsten and those marketed as tungsten carbide.
However, if you'd like to know more about the specifics, we have those below.
Technically, tungsten refers to the element itself. Tungsten carbide refers to the alloy which is used to create rings.
With most metals, including gold, silver, and titanium, the metal is mixed with another material to create what is known as an alloy. This is typically done to give the jewelry more strength, malleability, color, or other quality. For instance, if you were to make a ring out of 24 karat or 100% pure gold, it may dent or lose its shape from everyday activities. That's why you'll usually find a maximum of 22 karat gold in jewelry; that is an alloy that contains another material to make the gold practical to wear.
Tungsten carbide is an alloy of tungsten and another metal. In order to shape tungsten into a piece of jewelry, it must be combined with another element. This is due to the extreme hardness of tungsten. The elements it may be combined with include chromium, nickel, niobium, and titanium, among many others.
Many customers want to know if an alloy that contains nickel could cause an allergic reaction, because nickel is a common metal to be allergic to. Because the alloy contains such a small amount of nickel or other element, the ring is completely hypoallergenic and will not cause an allergic reaction on even the most sensitive skin.
Tungsten in it's pure form is an exceptionally hard chemical element. Like oxygen or aluminum, it is a pure element, which means that it cannot be broken down by chemical means. Tungsten is a naturally-occurring earth element that is also known as Wolfram, and it can be found on the periodic table under "W." Fun fact: tungsten melts at over 6000 degrees Fahrenheit. If a piece of every metal on earth were added to one huge pot, tungsten would be the last piece to melt.
The name tungsten means heavy stone, and if you feel a tungsten ring in your hand, you'll see why! Tungsten is surprisingly heavy. It has a high-quality feel and many men and women prefer it's weight to other materials due to that fact.
Besides being one of the most popular wedding band materials, tungsten is also used to make the filaments in light bulbs. It is also used for industrial purposes including x-rays and welding.
Tungsten doesn't react with other common materials, which makes it perfect for a wedding ring. It won't rust if you get it wet, and there aren't any issues with keeping it on while cooking, baking, cleaning, and pretty much anything else you can think of. However, if you're working with any Fluorine in your supervillain lab, be sure to take off your tungsten ring first.
Tungsten is a brittle material which is also one of the reasons it is loved by millions of couples around the world. If a tungsten ring needs to be removed in an emergency, it can be shattered, cracked, or broken. The emergency department will be able to do this quickly.