What is tungsten? Tungsten is a popular metal used in men’s wedding bands because it is durable, affordable, and good-looking, of course. But, as with any wedding ring metal, there are pros and cons to using it. We’ll explore all of the pros and cons of tungsten, specifically, below, but one of the most common questions people have concerning this in-demand metal is: can tungsten rings be resized?
Why do people wonder? Well, resizing a wedding band comes in handy; after all, this is a ring one wears forever. As life goes on, your ring size can change, and if you want to wear your wedding band forever, you may want to be able to resize it.
So, can a jewelry store resize a tungsten ring? The short answer is no. However, that shouldn’t deter you from considering this cool, classic metal for your wedding ring. Tungsten bands are some of the very best men’s wedding bands because they are extremely durable, versatile, and affordable.
While a reputable jeweler may refer to some jewelry simply as tungsten, pure tungsten is too brittle for jewelry. Rather, tungsten jewelry is crafted from tungsten carbide, a durable and shapeable tungsten compound. Read on to learn more about tungsten carbide, how it appears in wedding bands, and if a tungsten carbide ring is right for you—even though it can’t be resized.
What Is Tungsten Carbide?
Tungsten carbide is a compound of the elements tungsten and carbon with an extremely high melting point. It can be a compound of solely these two chemicals or contain other metal alloys to infuse it with strength.
It is made by combining powdered tungsten and carbon black at extremely high temperatures. When another metal, such as cobalt, is involved, the cobalt melts when the mixture reaches high temperatures and acts as a binding agent between the tungsten and carbon. This allows the compound to be formed into a shape, such as a wedding band.
High-quality tungsten carbide, like that which is used in wedding bands, is typically 80% tungsten, which gives the compound incredible strength and hardness. In addition to wedding bands, tungsten carbide is used in machinery, light bulbs, tv tubes, and more.
Tungsten Carbide Rings
Tungsten carbide rings are made of a tungsten-carbon compound that also usually includes cobalt alloys. Even when combined with carbon and cobalt, tungsten retains its strength, hardness, and luster. This is why men’s tungsten ring options are a natural choice. As opposed to gold, which can scratch easily, or platinum which is extremely expensive, unique men’s wedding bands made out of tungsten are both scratch-resistant and affordable.
Plus, tungsten carbide wedding rings look sophisticated and cool. The deep grey hue of natural tungsten carbide can be altered with the use of other metal alloys and polishing and buffing techniques. This creates a range of hues from light silvery-grey to grey with a bluish tint to dark steel grey. Thus, the options for tungsten carbide wedding bands are endless, especially when you consider the unique designs and diamond alternative accents that are possible. We carry an assortment of men’s tungsten rings here at Diamond Nexus to suit a variety of styles.
The Pros and Cons of a Tungsten Ring
There are plenty of reasons to pursue purchasing a tungsten wedding ring, some of which we have already mentioned like its scratch-resistance and affordability but let’s explore all of the pros and cons of a tungsten ring including why it can’t be resized (and why this shouldn’t be a problem).
The first and greatest positive quality of tungsten is that it is extremely durable. This is particularly beneficial for people who want to wear a ring they don’t have to worry about scratching or damaging. Whether you lift weights or groceries, work in construction or are a weekend warrior, or simply want a ring you don’t have to fuss over when you’re cleaning, cooking, working out, or just going about your day, tungsten can take it all. It won’t show any sign of wear and tear, ever.
It is 10x stronger than 18K gold, which means it won’t scratch on almost any surface. In fact, one of the only things stronger than tungsten is diamond. You can read our guide on 14k vs 18k rose gold to understand why different metals have different strengths.
Con: Cannot Be Resized
We already gave away the answer in the beginning, but if you’re still wondering, “can you resize a tungsten ring?” The answer is still, sadly, no. Tungsten isn’t flexible like other metals, which means it would need to be cut in order to be resized. This would not only affect the continuity of the band but could also affect the integrity of the ring altogether. Cutting tungsten is similar to cutting glass; you don’t know how it will react and which way it will break. So, no professional jeweler will even attempt to resize a tungsten ring.
However, this isn’t limited to just tungsten. Many metals, including a titanium wedding band, stainless steel, and cobalt chrome cannot be resized.
Because tungsten rings cannot be resized, it’s important to know your ring size before you place your order. We’ll share a few ways you can measure your finger size and determine what size tungsten ring you need below.
Although tungsten rings cannot be resized, they are quite affordable. So, should you need a new wedding band years down the line because yours is too small or too large, the cost of replacing your old tungsten band for a new one isn’t extravagant.
Compared to gold, palladium, and platinum, tungsten is a far more affordable metal. Given its other incredible qualities, this makes it a great choice for a wedding band. Many couples choose to allocate more of their budget to the cost of the engagement ring rather than the men’s wedding band, but you don’t have to sacrifice style or longevity when you go with a tungsten band.
Learn more about the affordability and durability of other metals in our guide to titanium vs platinum.
As we mentioned, tungsten is an extremely hard metal, which makes it rather heavy. Relative to other wedding bands, a tungsten carbide band will be heavier than a gold ring or titanium ring, but similar in weight to a platinum ring. The weight of a ring is an entirely personal preference. If you aren’t used to wearing rings, you may prefer a lighter-weight metal. However, you may also not even notice the weight of your ring once you become accustomed to wearing it. To compare how different metal bands feel on your hand, you can always visit your local jeweler and try them on.
Pro: Low Maintenance
Tungsten requires little to no maintenance to look good and lustrous. Seriously. While yellow gold requires polishing and white gold often needs to be re-dipped in rhodium, tungsten doesn’t need polishing, dipping, or even professional cleaning. Simply clean it at home with a bit of soap and water and dry it with a cloth. You can compare white gold vs yellow gold to learn their other differences.
Tungsten won’t ever tarnish or scratch and it will stay polished forever. So, you can count on your tungsten wedding band looking just as good 10, 20, and even 50 years from now as it does today.
Con: Can Crack
Yes, tungsten is very strong and hard, but it is also brittle. The bonds between tungsten and carbon create the effect of a ceramic wedding band, rather than a metal one. Unfortunately, this means a tungsten band can break on rare occasions. When dropped on concrete or marble, or another extremely hard surface, tungsten can crack.
As long as you are aware of this drawback, though, you can be careful not to drop your ring on a concrete slab or slam it on a marble counter, and easily avoid cracking it.
How To Get the Right Size Tungsten Ring
If you have decided that a tungsten wedding ring is right for you and are ready to begin shopping, it’s important to ensure you know your ring size since you won’t be able to resize a tungsten ring. There are a few easy ways to do this.
First, you can size your ring at home. Simply grab a piece of string or strip of paper and a tape measure (that has centimeter and millimeter markings). Wrap the string around your ring finger where the ring will sit and mark the length with a pen or marker. Then measure it against the tape measure. Make note of the measurement and use a simple ring size conversion chart to determine your ring size.
You can also visit your local jeweler and they can size your ring finger for you using a ring sizer. This can be helpful because you can also try rings on and determine what size provides the most comfortable fit. For rings that are larger, or wider than 6 mm, it’s a good idea to go up half a size.
While Tungsten rings are not able to be resized, at Diamond Nexus, we do offer the option of exchanging your ring for a new size for a small fee so you can get just the right fit. We carry a selection of both unique and classic wedding bands in tungsten as well as white gold, yellow gold, rose gold, cobalt, and titanium and so you can find the perfect ring for you.