Tungsten carbide (or simply tungsten) and titanium are two of the most popular metals used for making men's jewelry. Both are known to have excellent hypoallergenic properties. With their similar appearances, it is easy for buyers to think that they are both the same thing. However, these two metals are actually different. Here are some factors a buyer would want to look at when choosing between the two:
Tungsten and Titanium are good options for those who are looking for affordable jewelry. They generally have lower prices compared to their gold and silver counterparts. Prices of both materials can vary depending on design, brand, and quality.
Titanium and tungsten have different compositions. Titanium that is used in jewelry is alloyed with another material, usually vanadium and aluminum. Most titanium jewelry is composed of, at least, eighty-five percent titanium. The type of material alloyed with titanium affects the grade of titanium jewelry.
Tungsten carbide jewelry, on the other hand, is made of bonded tungsten carbide grains. These gains are made from a compound of tungsten steel and an equal quantity of carbon. The size of the tungsten carbide grains affects the grade of tungsten jewelry.
Titanium and tungsten are high on the hardness aspect compared to their more popular counterparts. Between the two, tungsten carbide is harder. Tungsten has a hardness score of 9, while titanium has a hardness score of 6. This is based on Mohs' scale of mineral hardness.
Resistance to Scratches
Tungsten has a better resistance to scratches compared to titanium. As a matter of fact, only a diamond can scratch a tungsten carbide object. This is one of the reasons why tungsten carbide is used to make heavy-duty tools.
Now, this is not to say that the titanium is a weak one. It has better scratch resistance compared to other jewelry. Hence, you would still choose titanium over other materials.
Resistance to Cracks
Titanium has the better hand when it comes to crack resistance. The hardness of tungsten carbide paired with its natural brittleness makes it prone to cracks. If you still prefer tungsten carbide jewelry, you would want to get those that have higher grades since they have less brittleness. However, if you do a lot of physical work, titanium jewelry may be your better option.
Weight is another important factor you should consider when buying jewelry. It affects the amount of comfort you get from wearing it. If you want something light then you would want to choose titanium jewelry. Even though its durability can be associated with more weight, titanium is actually lightweight and is ideal for those who like to wear pieces of jewelry without feeling their weight. Pieces of jewelry made of tungsten carbide are heavy mainly because of their density. If you prefer jewelry with a little more weight, tungsten carbide is for you.
Titanium and tungsten carbide are popular for their natural grey color, which gives an eye-catching appearance. However, they can also be found in black. Tungsten, nowadays, is also available in white. This variant is similar to white gold in appearance.
Hygiene and Skin Allergy Safety
Titanium rings are popular for their hypoallergenic properties. Because of this, they are the better option for those that have skin allergies. Tungsten carbide rings may not be a good option for someone who is highly sensitive. They contain nickel, which is used to bind tungsten carbide grains. Although it is very rare, the nickel in tungsten rings can trigger skin allergies in some people.
A common misconception about titanium and tungsten is they can't be removed in case of a swollen finger. Actually, they can be removed in an emergency situation. They only need different removal methods. Titanium rings can be removed with the use of cutting tools such as a small metal saw while tungsten rings can be removed with compression tools such as a pair of vice grip pliers. You will not have to worry about having one of these rings getting stuck on your finger.
When working with titanium and tungsten carbide rings, resizing is impossible. This is because titanium and tungsten carbide rings are too hard. This toughness makes it impossible to modify their size without breaking them. Fortunately, they are affordable enough so you can easily replace them if you need a different size.