Black Tungsten vs Black Titanium

When a client wants a black mens ring, there are two main products that they ask us about. The first product is Black Tungsten, the second product is Black Titanium. What clients want to know is, what is black tungsten? what is black titanium? is black titanium or black tungsten better? Lets examine some of those points below.

 

What are black tungsten rings?

There is actually no such thing as “Black Tungsten”. Black Tungsten utilises regular Tungsten, but then uses a PVD (physical vapour deposition) coating. This means that a coating is applied in an environment of extreme heat and pressure, to the normal Tungsten product.

This seems a completely counter-intuitive process however. The main benefit of a Tungsten ring is that its surface is extremely scratch resistant. So why on earth would you add a coating to that? Despite what retailers might say, Black Tungsten has very poor scratch resistance. The reason for this, is that when you scratch the coating, the grey of the tungsten shows through very easily.

Black Tungsten is normal tungsten with a PVD coating

Black Tungsten is normal tungsten with a PVD coating

So the facts are that there is no product that in and of itself, is real “black tungsten”, and the PVD coated Tungsten which is sold as “black Tungsten”, offers very poor scratch resistance.

 

What is Black Titanium?

Much has been written on this site about black titanium. However it is important, once again to distinguish the difference between Edward Mirell patented Black Titanium, and what is marketed in the industry as black titanium.

The only real Black Titanium product on the market is the Edward Mirell manufactured product. This is made in the USA at their South Florida facility. Edward Mirell has over 40 patents, with Black Titanium being one of them.

Black Titanium fashion ring

Black Titanium is superior in almost every way to Black Tungsten

This product is truly unique in the jewelry industry. It takes regular commercial pure grey titanium and a well guarded, proprietary blend of alloys, and subjects it to super heating. The result is that the outside of the grey titanium product turns black. The incredibly unique thing about Black Titanium though, is that it maintains much of the malleability and ductility of regular grey Titanium, with the added benefit of the ultra hard black  surface.

Non Edward Mirell Black Titanium is very similar to Black Tungsten jewelry – it is a PVD coating which is highly prone to scratching and fading, leading to an inferior product.

 

So which is better, Black Tungsten or Black Titanium?

After examining the facts about the two products, it really isnt a contest between the two materials.  The only place that black tungsten has the edge is with cost. Black Titanium is quite a bit more expensive. However you are without question paying for quality. Black Tungsten will definately scratch and fade over time, showing a grey colour underneath the black. Black Titanium is magnitudes more scratch resistant than Black Tungsten, and will stand the test of time well beyond that of other cheaper, inferior products.

Cobalt Rings vs Tungsten Rings

ceramic and cobalt ring

Our clients have a great deal of choices and considerations to make when they decide what is the best ring for them. Factors that people consider are, first and foremost, price and quality. Most Australians want a really good quality product at a solid price.

With the advent of contemporary metals, the landscape has changes regarding a clients needs.  In years past, it was accepted that your ring would scratch and look, well, quite ordinary after only a few months. Thats certainly not the case now. Modern alloys are engineered to provide extreme scratch resistance.

So when people ask the the most durable rings, the answer is always the Black Titanium rings, Cobalt rings or Tungsten Rings. Much has been written about Titanium rings, so we will focus on Tungsten vs Cobalt rings.

Cobalt rings and Tungsten Rings share as many similarities as they do differences. The Key similarities they share is the outstanding durability in day to day wear. Cobalt, much like Black Titanium, is a modern engineering masterpiece. Not only have engineers made Cobalt rings been designed to strongly resemble the “white” finish of platinum, but they have also managed to keep a unique hardness in the product, but still enough ductility and malleability to avoid being too brittle.

_DSC1068_4483-1

Tungsten Rings are extremely hard – harder and more scratch resistant than any other product on the market

 

Tungsten is more scratch resistant than Cobalt, and is very very difficult to scratch. The trade off with this is that the Tungsten product is more brittle. Cobalt offers a closer balance of scratch resistance with how easy it is to crack. Needless to say, you would have to make a real effort to crack a Tungsten ring, its very unlikely to happen in day to day use. Sometimes you might see retailers claim Tungsten as “unbreakable”. This is a fallacy – its not possible for this to be the case.

As Cobalt is less brittle than Tungsten, it makes it more versatile. Sections can be cut from the ring with less danger of cracking. If you think of an extreme scenario, something very brittle, like glass, its quite difficult to carve intricate designs without cracking – compare this to something less brittle like plastic. This is how Tungsten is to work with. Cobalt doesnt really face this problem, and therefore, there are more range of designs possible with Cobalt rings.

ceramic and cobalt ring

Cobalt rings are less brittle than tungsten, making machining of edges much easier without the risk of cracking

The colour of Tungsten and Cobalt rings is probably the most significant points of difference. Tungsten rings have a somewhat grey hue to them, whereas Cobalt rings, as mentioned above, have a much “whiter” finish, which some people find more appealing.

Cobalt mens wedding ring

Cobalt Rings offer a colour similar to Platinum, but harder, and much much cheaper

Cost is the final factor, Cobalt rings can sometimes cost twice as much as Tungsten rings.