For the longest time, gold rings have been the most popular — almost default — wedding ring option. Gold commands a high price in the jewellery market and remains to be the most popular and most sought after precious metal.
However, the arrival of contemporary metals has made a difference in the jewellery industry. Considered to be alternatives to traditional precious metals, these contemporary metals exhibit great qualities and are available for a much lower price.
If you are torn between getting a traditional gold ring and going the contemporary route and getting a tungsten ring, here’s a guide that will help you make a decision.
One of the hardest metals on earth, tungsten carbide easily beats gold in terms of durability and is, in fact, approximately 10 times harder than the latter. Tungsten carbide ranks at 9 on the Mohs hardness scale, while gold is only at 2.5-3. Beaten by only diamond in hardness, a tungsten ring is virtually scratch-resistant unlike a traditional gold ring.
A gold ring is also soft enough to be easily scratched and damaged. A slight force can bend and deform a piece of gold jewellery. Also, in most cases, gold jewellery, no matter the colour, shows its age over time due to scratches, dents, and wear marks.
On the other hand, a tungsten ring is known to have a “permanent shine.” It is able to retain its shine and lustre with very minimal maintenance because of its toughness and durability. Resistant to bending and deforming, it will require a lot to cause damage to a tungsten ring.
Looks and Customisation
Gold comes in different colours like white gold and yellow gold. There are also more modern choices such as green and rose gold. It is a very flexible metal, both literally and figuratively. It is very malleable, which means it can be moulded and formed to create imaginative pieces of jewellery. It is also easy to customise due to its softness, and traditional methods of engraving can be used to inscribe a personal message on the interior of a gold ring.
On the other hand, tungsten naturally occurs in a gunmetal grey colour. Ideal for men’s jewellery, the natural look of tungsten can be described as strong and masculine. When comparing tungsten rings vs. white gold rings, both are shiny and lustrous, but the former is definitely darker than the latter.
Due to its hardness, tungsten is more challenging to customise, but it is not impossible. A tungsten ring can be plated to achieve a different colour and can even be plated to look like a white gold ring. Traditional methods of engraving will not work on a tungsten ring, but it can still be customised and personalised using laser engraving.
Both gold and tungsten jewellery are readily available in many jewellery stores and online shops. However, there are certainly a lot more sources of tungsten metal compared to gold. Tungsten carbide can even be mass produced to accommodate the demand for tungsten carbide in the market.
Finally, one of the most important factors to consider when choosing jewellery or wedding rings is the price. Tungsten, being a contemporary metal, is generally less expensive than gold, which is a traditional precious metal. Gold can run for over $1,000 per ounce, while there are tungsten rings online that are as cheap as $5.00 apiece.
However, it is best to avoid these cheap tungsten rings at all costs. It is very likely that these are made of industrial-grade tungsten with cobalt binder, which are not totally safe to use. Instead, always go for high-quality jewellery-grade tungsten rings made of tungsten carbide with nickel binder. The price may run from $200, which is a lot more expensive than cheap tungsten rings but are still greatly less expensive than gold rings.
It is challenging to choose wedding bands because of the sheer options that are available in the market. If you are deciding whether to get a traditional gold band or a contemporary tungsten ring, read this guide to gain more knowledge about the two.