Comparing types of materials for mens wedding rings

One of the most frequently asked questions we ever receive revolves around the question “what is the best material to make mens wedding rings out of?”

This is a really tough question, and only the individual can really answer this, but here is a bit of a breakdown to help you make the decision. These are only general concepts, and there is some movement on these concepts. What is also important is the quality of the product you are comparing. Poor quality anything is not going to be great to make a wedding ring out of!!!

To make it easier, we’ve made a great infographic which makes things a bit more easy on the eye!

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CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

Tungsten Rings – Tungsten Rings are arguably the most hardy from a scratcc resistance point of view, but they can still crack if hit with something or dropped from a tall height. Also, some people find the greyness of Tungsten to be less spectacular than other metals. Overall it is a very good choice for tradesmen or those that do manual labour and have their ring on. Tungsten Rings can be bought quite cheaply but it is very important to find a supplier of high quality Tungsten as there are big variations in the quality of Tungsten products. This is for a few reasons, including the binding agents used. Even non cobalt binders such as Nickel can be problematic if they fail a Nickel release test, which is a hallmark of poor quality rings. Its not possible to produce a quality product and sell it for $10 or $20 as seen on many of the popular “e-marketplace sites”.

Black Titanium Rings – Black Titanium Rings are exclusive to Edward Mirell who have the patent on the product. Click here to learn more about Black Titanium Rings.  Black Titanium has an incredibly hard outer shell but it maintains much of the grey titanium ductility which means that it is very scratch resistant, but not particularly prone to cracking. It is very hardy, is an amazing colour, and can be made into all manner of incredible shapes. Black Ti made by Edward Mirell is used by some of the worlds biggest companies in their manufacturing processes. An excellent choice for a wedding ring. Remember only Edward Mirell have the patent for true Black Titanium. Most other “black titanium” is just powder coated or electroplated which is a vastly inferior product.

Cobalt Rings – Cobalt is one of Alpha Rings favourites to make a wedding ring out of. Its more scratch resistant than Gold, Silver, Titanium but a bit less scratch resistant than Tungsten. It has the most brilliant colour which resembles Platinum, but at a fraction of the price. Cobalt is suitable for males of all walks of life, be it tradesmen or office workers. Cobalt wedding rings always look impressive and stay looking good for a long long time. If you are after a “silverish” colour, then Cobalt would be our choice. Cobalt is lighter than Tungsten aswell.

Ceramic Rings – Ceramic rings have had a big decline in popularity in recent years. Unless you are after a different kind of colour like blue or red or something, there are just better options elsewhere. Black was traditionally the most used colour, but Black Titanium has since far exceeded Ceramic in almost every regard (except that Black Titanium is more expensive). Ceramic rings are light and scratch resistant but they are very limited in the type of styles that can be made. We really don’t produce them much anymore.

Titanium Rings – Grey Titanium rings are some of the most versatile rings on the market. They are almost right in the middle when it comes to scratch resistance. Much more scratch resistant than Gold, Silver and Steel, but less than Cobalt, Tungsten and Black Titanium. One of the great things about Titanium is the incredible amount of design variations that can be produced. Titanium is incredibly light, has good resilience and is moderately priced. Scratches should be expected but this will add to the character of the ring. Titanium is another product that requires high quality production techniques to avoid weakness in the construction which can occur if not using Commercial Pure (CP) Titanium

Steel Rings – Steel rings are excellent as fashion or costume jewellery but make a poor choice for wedding rings. They scratch too easily and are too easily bent out of shape. Alpha Rings doesn’t sell steel because there are many better choices. We’d recommend you steer clear of rings where the outer surfaces are Steel.

Gold Rings – Gold Rings are still incredibly popular because of the traditional element and people still like the colour of Gold. Gold has attributes which make it good as a wedding ring as an alloy – but contemporary metals do a better job. Gold is also very expensive. Thats a good thing if you want to have a ring with a high intrinsic value, as in, the precious metal is actually worth something as resell value.

Silver Rings – Silver, generally speaking, makes a  poor choice for a mans wedding ring. Silver is way too soft and easily bent and disfigured. Silver is fine as an inlay but it will scratch. We would never suggest to use Silver for a wedding ring. A Silver ring just won’t stand up to the rigours of wearing it every day.

 

We’ve taken some images below to help you with a visual comparison between Cobalt, Tungsten and Titanium rings. It is quite hard to explain the visual differences with words, and photographs are often quite difficult to produce the right colour rendering. The below images do a reasonable job of showing the subtle differences between the three metals. Tungsten is clearly has a more “grey” hue to it. Cobalt has more of a “whiteness” about it, and Titanium has a yellowish type of grey to it. Have a look for yourself.

comparing ring materials

Here is a clear comparison in the same lighting. Cobalt brushed and polished is on the left, Titanium polished in the middle, and tungsten brushed and polished on the right

 

 

Tungsten ring on the left, Titanium ring on the right

Tungsten ring on the left, Titanium ring on the right

 

On the left is a Cobalt ring with a brushed face, on the right is a Tungsten ring with a brushed face

On the left is a Cobalt ring with a brushed face, on the right is a Tungsten ring with a brushed face

We’ve written another great article here to help you make with your purchase, the post is called “How to choose a mens wedding ring

How Tungsten Rings are made

Tungsten Rings

Much has been made of Tungsten Rings recently. Tungsten is one of the modern rings, or contemporary ring materials that has gained incredible popularity of late.
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This popularity is for a few reasons, such as the incredible scratch resistance and the mirror like finish.

However a number of our customers have asked us – how are these Tungsten rings made? With that in mind, it became appropriate to write a post on the topic.
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First and foremost, and as I’ve touched on with other posts in the past, and will certainly do so in the future, the quality of these contemporary metals fluctuates greatly. Poor quality rings are, unfortunately found all over the internet. Due to this, its most important that you do your research and ask questions which you can gain from this, and other posts within our blog.

First of all, Tungsten has the chemical symbol W, and has the atomic number 74. It is a greyish white metal. Importantly it has the highest melting point of all metals, at a whopping 3422 degrees. Tungsten rings are around 10 times harder than 18k gold, 5 times harder than steel, and 4 times harder than titanium.  Tungsten also measures somewhere around 8 to 9 on the Mohs hardness scale. Diamonds are a 10.

Tungsten in its pure form is prone to scratching and is quite brittle, so it needs to be combined with other materials, the main one being carbon. It is only at this point that it gains its incredible strength and scratch resistance. This is where the term Tungsten Carbide Rings comes from.
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Making Tunsgten Rings

Tungsten Rings start as a powder

Each Tungsten ring goes through approximately 30 stages, and they are individually crafted. This is another step in the process where error rates can creep in so it is essential that the quality personnel are used to ensure a high quality end product.
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For the purpose of making mens rings the tungsten starts off as a powder, containing Carbon, Nickel, Tungsten (around 85% is ideal) and various other trace components. This composition is critical to the finished product. This combinatin of powders is then highly compressed & fired in a furnace & this produces a blank ring of incredible strength and integrity.

From there the manual process begins where artisans go through various processes to create the finished product. Diamond abrasives and diamond cutting tools need to be used when machining the Tungsten blank, because of how strong the product is. The main stages to consider are the shaping of the ring which occurs with diamond grinding tools. This includes the inlay channel which is cut out. From there polishing occurs. Because of the hardness of the product, this is one of the most labor intensive stages.
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The resulting product is an astonishingly hard ring with a brilliant shine. If looked after properly these rings will last forever. I have had many tungsten rings over the years and they all look as good as when I got them.
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Alpha Rings for Men


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Here are a selection of my rings. The pictures have a more artistic flavour than purely a photo to showcase the ring for the point of selling to the consumer. All of these rings are Tungsten or Ceramic, with a silver inlay.


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Above is the logo to our webstore, located at www.alpharings.com.au, the home of our “alpha tungsten” range. You will note that the mirror finish of the Tungsten actually soaks up much of the background, giving the rings a much darker feel.

This ring is amazing. It shows how the Tungsten, once brushed, gives a very much gunmetal appearance.


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A stunning polished Tungsten ring with a 4mm silver inlay.


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One of the most amazing rings I’ve ever seen. Polished mens Tungsten ring, this one has beveled edges, and a 3mm silver inlay. The workmanship is quite stunning. This is always our most popular design. The “alpha tungsten” brand ensures its not rubbish that will tarnish aswell. You can see from the second picture how amazing it does look.

Traditional shape for a male engagement ring or mens wedding ring. This Tungsten ring has a domed shape with a silver inlay. The Tungsten is polished and the inlay brushed, which creates the most stunning of contrasts.

This mens tungsten ring is a concave design. It makes the ring almost look like molten metal. A great ring to wear because of the way the ring catches light and the angles of light on its surface.
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Becoming very popular now. The mens Tungsten band which is polished, and has 2 polished Silver inlays. A great ring. Most people get it as a male wedding ring, but also popular as a male engagement ring, and of course a day to day mens fashion ring.
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For this selection of stunning rings, and many others feel free to drop in at www.alpharings.com.au

Thanks go to Alberto for the photography.

The Quality of Men’s Wedding Rings from Alpha Rings

Quality wedding rings

The Quality of Men’s Wedding Rings from Alpha Rings
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Choosing from the numerous types and styles of men’s wedding rings is no simple task. You may be surprised to learn what different kinds of materials these bands can be made with. From gold to silver, tungsten and titanium, your options are endless.

Alpha Rings Are High Quality
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Men’s rings from Alpha are a great example of the diversity in mens wedding band design. As a company based in Australia, this manufacturer specializes in particular materials such as ceramic, tungsten, and titanium. Since Cobalt is not a great fit as a binder for Tungsten rings, Nickel is the only binder they use for hypo-allergenic quality. It won’t react with your skin or tarnish the ring itself. Their state-of-the-art production process brings exquisite Alpha rings to the market for men who are looking for a solid band with a stunning appearance.  In fact, the quality of some foreign rings is so poor, that it was recently reported in the media that some Titanium rings contained radioactive compounds. You can rest assured that will never happen with an Alpha Ring.
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What to Look for When Buying Men’s Rings

If you’re looking for a high quality ring made of tungsten or titanium, there are certain things you want to look for. First, be sure that cobalt isn’t being used as the binder as mentioned above (only for Tungsten rings). Next, look for warranties and terms of your purchase. These are important details that some men tend to overlook.
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Cobalt mixed with Cr & Mo is completely hypoallergenic. There is no risk with Cobalt when in this compound; in fact it creates an incredible silver hue. Perfect for mens rings.
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Finally and most importantly you want to be aware of the exact composition of the ring itself. When you see Titanium rings or Cobalt rings on the market, you may not be sure of exactly how much is comprised of that material. The balance matters – a high concentration means better quality and appearance. That’s why Alpha Rings prides itself on their 85% Tungsten rings. When you’re looking for the perfect ring, consider Alpha Rings.

types of mens rings

In this blog I will discuss some of the base metals that are used for making mens wedding rings and mens engagement rings, and how they stack up.
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I remember the first ring I ever had, my girlfriend at the time bought. It was a 6mm 9ct gold ring that had a brushed pattern on it. It took that ring about 2 wear’s, until it was showing noticeable scratching on it. Problem with that is, because the entire ring was gold, the scratches showed up in a very pronounced way.

Second ring I ever had was my wedding ring. 9ct White gold with 2 titanium inlays. The ring was brushed and had a wonderful matte finish. This was a great ring, but again, very quickly it started to look worn, at least it did until my wife lost it!
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I’ve dealt with men’s fashion rings, mens engagement rings and mens wedding rings in one way or another for many years. What has struck me is how much of a pounding some men’s rings will take over the life of the ring. This ultimately makes a stunning ring look very second rate.

The benefit to men these days is the explosion of choices that we have these days. No longer are men just limited to silver, gold and platinum, thankfully.

Platinum is really little more than a status symbol now. Although it is nice to say you are wearing Platinum, the cost for a ring that is only about a 4 on the Mohs scale (scale of hardness) is really not providing great value. All my friends that wear Platinum have a scratched up beaten up ring in no time at all.
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925 Silver. Its probably the worst choice to have a rings made entirely from. Scratches very easy because it is such a soft metal. Its good for inlays because it creates a stunning contrast, but for the full ring, its not good. No way is this metal strong enough to deal with the day to day stress of a mans world

Gold is very similar to Silver. Now that the price is approaching $1400 ounce, it is becoming a tough decision to balance the distinctive look and status of gold against the obvious downfalls. This metal is only a fraction harder than silver and scratches almost as easily. Wonderful as an inlay as it creates a very distinctive contrast, but you will have a second hand ring in no time if your ring is made only of gold, no matter what carat. The benefit of Gold is that it has such a unique look, that nothing can really replicate its appearance. If your wearing something yellow, its a strong chance its gold, and people know it.
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Titanium rings were the big rage 5-10 years ago. A rage that has never really stopped. Titanium was a step up because of the strength and durability of this new age metal. We’ve all heard the stories of this being used to great effect in the aviation industry. If you get a rod or sheet of Titanium, and feel the weight and strength of that against any other metal, you will understand why. Its makes a very tough ring. Machining of Titanium used to be exceptionally difficult. It is perhaps the fact that it had so much potential in the Defence industry that the production cost has dropped so much. The Americans and Soviets invested enormous amounts of money into improving methods and techniques for machining titanium to reduce production costs or equipment. Examples such as the  “SR-71 blackbird”, the amazing supersonic spy plane that was so fast that the Soviets scampered to build new missiles that could actually outrun and catch the SR-71, mainly because of the incredible characteristics of its titanium fuselage.  The Russian “Alfa class” submarines became the fastest and deepest diving subs ever built, owing to the incredible crush resistant titanium alloy hull.
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This type of investment in technology flows all the way down to the lay person, as it did with Titanium manufacturing. Titanium remains a very versatile material to make rings out of. It can be drilled, cut and joined relatively easily these days. It is far more scratch resistant than gold, silver or platinum, but less than Tungsten. It does still scratch however. I’ve seen some amazing rings made with Titanium as its base, and its a sure bet that this metal will be in vogue for years to come because of the variations that can be afforded with Titanium.
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The Mohs scale gives us a guide for how a material will stand up over time. An expensive wedding ring can look like a cheap wedding ring very quickly if care is not used when selecting the material. You need to work out what you will be doing with the ring on. If you are doing manual work, you know you need a harder material to avoid scratching.
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Next blog I will be discussing my personal favourite metal, Tungsten, as well as Ceramic rings

For a selection of fine mens rings, feel free to drop into Remarkable Mens Rings at www.alpharings.com.au