What’s Stronger: Tungsten or Titanium?
Titanium and tungsten carbide(tungsten) are two of the most fashionable materials available on the men’s jewelry market today. Even though surface appearances may cause some shoppers to think that they are similar in nature, in reality the two materials are very different. Here are some of the key points to consider when choosing between titanium and tungsten rings.
Make up – Titanium is a metal that is slightly alloyed with other elements for use in jewelry, usually aluminum and vanadium (depending on the grade). The most commonly used grades for titanium jewelry are at minimum 85% pure titanium. Tungsten carbide is a compound made from the rare metal tungsten and an equal number of carbon atoms.
Cracking – Tungsten carbide’s extreme hardness paired with its brittleness means that tungsten carbide rings can crack or shatter if struck against a hard enough surface. Titanium is much more crack-resistant than naturally brittle tungsten carbide.
Surface Durability – Both titanium and tungsten carbide are considerably harder than precious metals like gold and platinum. However, tungsten carbide is one of the hardest materials in existence and is much harder than titanium, registering a 9 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. Titanium’s Mohs score is 6.
Scratching – Due to its hardness tungsten carbide handily beats titanium when it comes to scratch-resistance, though titanium is still considerably more scratch-resistant than other popular materials. There are just about no materials other than a diamond that can scratch tungsten carbide.
Weight – Tungsten and titanium rings are pretty much at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to the way they feel on the finger. Despite their durability, titanium rings are very lightweight. Conversely, tungsten carbide rings are quite dense and heavy, and have a pleasantly weighty feel on the finger.
Price – Titanium and tungsten carbide are both very affordable alternatives to pricier precious metals. Titanium and tungsten generally compare favorably in price.
While some superior grade tungsten carbide rings demonstrate decreased brittleness, as a general rule titanium rings are still a better fit for the physically active man.
Coloration – Both tungsten carbide and titanium rings have a pleasing natural gunmetal grey color, and can also frequently be seen in black versions. White tungsten is also an option for tungsten carbide rings, which offers a more gold-like appearance.
Hypo-allergenic properties – Most titanium rings are hypo-allergenic and appropriate for those with skin allergies, while most tungsten carbide rings are not. This is generally because many tungsten carbide rings employ the element cobalt, which can be an allergen for some skin types.
Emergency Removal – Some people have heard for both titanium and tungsten carbide rings that they cannot be removed in case of emergency. Both types of rings can definitely be removed in emergencies, though the ways of removal will differ. Tungsten carbide rings will have to be cracked using vice grip pliers. Titanium rings will need to be cut through. But first just try applying dish soap or other lubricant.
Ring Sizing – Because of their strength, as a general rule neither titanium nor tungsten carbide rings can be resized. However, both rings are reasonable enough that simply replacing them is a usual option.