Using Crypto in the retail environment

Neocrypto-Australia

As we mentioned recently, Alpha Rings will allow you to buy jewellery with cryptocurrency.

There are a few reasons why we made the decision to allow payments with crypto, and as we’ve been asked by a few customers, we thought it was appropriate to write a post for everyone that might have questions about it.

No Fees.

First of all the biggest benefit for us as a merchant is a reduction in the fees we pay. We currently use PayPal as our main gateway. PayPal is a wonderful service which allows seamless integration on our website and securely processes payments without issue. Whilst that has been a real positive for us to use PayPal (and we will continue to use it), the fees do add up.

The big benefit of using NEO and GAS is that transactions between wallets are free. This is a huge huge benefit for us. It means that neither us the retailer, or the client needs to pay a cent for the transaction. Over the course of a financial year, this does add up for us, in an industry where margins are much tighter than they used to be.

 

Fast transactions

The other option we have available to make payments with is bank transfers. The big problem with this is the time it takes. It still takes days for payments to be received. This means the client needs to wait before shipment, until the funds have landed and cleared in our account. Not only that, many banking apps still have a pretty poor UI.

NEO and GAS generally transfer from wallet to wallet within 30 seconds. This is an incredibly quick process. I can be instant messaging someone, and the payment lands within seconds, then I can go to the post office and post their ring.

 

Ease of use

The NEO ecosystem and in particular the NEON wallet are very easy to use. Whilst it takes a little getting used to, once you are set up, transferring between exchanges and wallets is incredibly easy. As long as you take care to always protect your private key, and ensure you double check the destination address, you should have no issue moving your funds around. A test can always be done with a fraction of a GAS, which is a matter of a few cents.

 

Divisible.

GAS is divisible, which means you can get the exact AUD figure you desire. You can also send payments with whole units of NEO and fractions of a GAS, if you wish.

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Mobile Apps

Although products like Ontology are not free, they do have a current Android and iOS mobile wallet with QR code. This allows easy wallet to wallet transfer of funds. NEO doesnt yet have a mobile wallet unfortunately.

 

So that is some of the main reasons why we’ve chosen to accept crypto as payment for our wedding rings. Consumers are always after choices. We’ve tried to provide a great spread of mens rings that Australians can choose from, which are not necessarily the same as every other websites. Likewise we’re offering the choice of payment options.

Should you wish to pay by Crypto, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!!!

Thanks for reading,

Nick

Buying Rings online in Australia

When it comes to purchasing jewellery in Australia, only 10 short years ago, you almost certainly would have walked into a shopping centre, or a mall in the main city to look through jewellery stores.

I know when I was married about 12 years ago, I didn’t look at one online store! In fact I think I was still using dial up internet!!

But how times have changed. When we at Alpha Rings look at the type of questions that we received when we first started trading many years ago, its amazing how much those questions have changed over the years.

When we first went into business, it took some time to get some traction, not only being found online, but moreso gaining credibility in the market. One of the best things to happen was the proliferation of review websites and Social Media. Social Media has a way of flushing out extremely dodgy operators. If you are stitching people up online, you won’t start around long these days.

People are always interested to talk about their recent purchases, they get excited about them and want to share the experience with their friends. And this is great for the retailer if they’ve done a good job. Alpha Rings could probably do a better job to harness these great reviews. However one thing we are confident of is that we give such exceptional service with every client we come in contact with, that we simply do not get negative reviews. If there is ever an issue with a purchase, we always resolve the issue.

And this is where so many other online retailers are different, particularly many of those overseas. We’ve heard some horror stories from our clients, who actually sometimes come to us to purchase a ring because of how bad their experience had been at some other online retailer. The main two issues that we see come up are that they have experienced poor product quality elsewhere, or that they’ve been charged for a ring re-sizing.

Alpha Rings never charges for a ring resizing. We generally direct our potential clients to this page on ring sizes which assists them to get the right size, or at least how to go about getting the right size. If someone has the opportunity though, we do suggest people can go in store and get sized up by a jeweller in a shop. This is where a physical shopfront does have some superiority to an online store – they can give you the correct ring size there and then. However if you have an approximate size of your finger, what we often do, if its a lower priced ring, is that we might send you two or three sizes for you to try on. You can try them over a few days and send the ones back that don’t fit. If the product you would like is an Edward Mirell ring, then we usually ask you to make the purchase, and we will send you some rings to try on to get the exact size. We Absolutely want to ensure the ring is the correct size when we get it made by Edward Mirell. Failure to do so will need another ring to be sent made and sent over. This is where we thing we offer a superior service to most online stores.

We never charge a re-stocking fee for a ring that isn’t the right size. Many other stores do. This is a joke of charge. The retailer isn’t remotely customer focussed if they charge a restocking fee and we will never do it. We do ask that the customer put a little thought into making sure that the ring size they choose is correct, but even so, we still won’t charge you a fee. Thats crazy!

No longer do we ever really get questions from our customers about the security of online purchases, and that was without doubt the number one question that we would receive in the early days. I don’t think anyone has asked a question like that in years now, because online shopping is just so common. Alpha Rings uses Paypal as its merchant and we do not store credit card details online which makes it very safe indeed.

Really, the main questions we receive now are about size, and we have those responses down to a fine art, so whether you’re looking to buy a mens ring in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, our friends in Perth or right here in Alpha Rings’ home, Adelaide, don’t stress about getting the right ring size – we will make sure we help you do that every step of the way!!

Happy hunting,

AR.

Carbon fiber rings reduced for August, to $99

To celebrate the last days of winter, Alpha Rings are offering a discount on our Tungsten rings with Carbon Fiber inlays. We’ve got Green, Red, Blue and our most popular inlay – Black.

We’ve sold these rings the world over and our customers always give us good feedback about them!

Unlike much of the product that you’ll find in some popular “marketplace” sites that you’ll find for $20 or $30 dollars, these are not made of junk material. Our rings are made of the highest grade materials and we use a nickel binding material, not cobalt, which is consistent with many of the cheaper products you’ll find.

Carbon fiber rings look great because they catch the light in different ways depending on the light that your in. The other thing is that the resin that we use is incredibly scratch resistant. We’ve seen friends who’ve worn this ring for years and there isn’t a single scratch on the face. Thats simply not going to happen with a cheap ring.

So for the rest of the month, all tungsten and carbon fibre rings rings are $99!!

tungsten ring alpha rings green-cf Red-Carbon-Fiber-Tungsten-Ring-300x300 8mmblueandblackcarbonfibertungstenthinner__71260_1335983493_1280_1280

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!

alpharings-infographic-2 copy

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

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.

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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.

The Bevelled Tungsten Ring

Sometimes partners want some input into what ring they should buy their partner as a surprise. They want some guidance as to what the most popular rings are. Enter the Bevelled Tungsten ring with no inlays.

This ring comes in with a few subtle variations. Firstly we make it in either a 6mm width or an 8mm width, and secondly it comes with a polished or brushed face. Overwhelmingly, the brushed face is the most popular, as it adds some nice contrast to the ring with the polished bevelled edging.

Tungsten-Bevelled-Ring2-90x90

8mm Tungsten bevelled ring

The 8mm and 6mm versions are nearly equally popular, it really just depends on what the client is looking for. The 8mm version is quite heavy, weighing in at around 16gm. A similar Titanium Ring would weigh somewhere around 5gm.

This ring is a really good option for people who work outdoors and like to keep their ring on whilst at work. The reason for this is that there is no inlay to scratch, and its very difficult to scratch a plain Tungsten Band.

If you are intereted in these bands, the 8mm tungsten band can be found here, and here is the 6mm tungsten band!

 

Hitting the wedding

It can be said with a somewhat scientific degree of accuracy (although this might not stand up to a rigorous panel) that just about single guy that gets a wedding invite isn’t going to see their mate make a lifelong commitment to the love of their life.  Sure, it’s great…  For them.  But having to trawl through the internet for some sort of meaningful gift, sitting through a somewhat mundane wedding ceremony, having to awkwardly sing along to hymns you don’t know the words to, and then making small talk with guests at the reception all the while having to watch your intake of alcohol so you don’t inadvertently blurt out about that one time when you and the groom woke up naked in a side alley of Rome needs to have some kind of benefit.

 

Which leads us to…  The good thing about weddings.  Not only is it ridiculously easy to get drunk at a wedding.  It is also ridiculously easy to find someone to go home with.  After all, it’s not only the bride and groom who should be having all the fun!  With all this talk about love, isn’t it only right that you pay tribute to it by finding your own true love…  Or at least someone who’ll say yes to a fun-filled and naughty night?  If you follow some simple ground rules it shouldn’t be too hard to hit it off.  After all that’s what weddings are for, aren’t they?

 

Number one rule you ask?  Dress dapper.  Don’t even think about putting on that old suit you once had for that family occasion you once went to.  This is a wedding…  Put in some effort and dress sharp!  It’s always better to look more dressy than less. The great thing about weddings is that you’ll be surrounded by people you don’t know and who don’t know you.  Even if you typically slouch around in a pair of loafers and swim shorts, this is an occasion for you to play at being someone completely different.  International man of mystery, jet-set entrepreneur or billionaire playboy,  whatever your chosen look, you can pull it off at a wedding.

 

The good news is that as slim fitting suits have become more popular, you’ll find it easier to look your best on a small budget.  Slim fit suits with clean lines and a handsome peak lapel can be snapped up for under $250.  However if you’re struggling to get the right fit and you don’t already have a great suit or several thousand dollars to spend on getting a new one, we recommend hiring a suit for the special occasion.  Prices start from around a few hundred dollars and can increase to around who knows what depending on the suit or available options such as shoes, vests and neckwear.  The color of your suit is entirely up to you.

 

Remember, fit is everything.

 

You could go with a snappy looking slim-fitted black or navy blue suit with a white shirt and skinny tie or alternatively opt for a light linen suit, perfect for summer weddings.  Why not add some style to either with a matching pocket square along with a stylish pair of sunglasses? Perhaps a new titanium fashion ring?

 

Once you’ve got the look down, the rest is up to you.  Make yourself available, head to an area like the bar or buffet where you can easily get into a conversation with that pretty redhead without appearing you’re trying too hard.  If you’ve been eyeing each other all day, but you lack the courage, take your chance when the music is playing to approach her and invite her to dance.  It won’t appear awkward and will give you a chance to woo her with your witty charm.  And most importantly: smile.  Be approachable and confident and it will get you far…

Are Tungsten rings breakable?

Tungsten Rings

Search in Google and you will find the question posed “are tungsten rings breakable”, or a variation of that question. The reason that this question gets asked so much is that many retailers advertise their Tungsten rings as being “unbreakable” “indestructible”.  However this is simply wrong. Tungsten rings, like any other material, are far from indestructible.
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Tungsten rings are manufactured to embrace the qualities of the material in order to enhance their incredible toughness. This means they become more scratch resistant. This hardness does come at a cost however. It makes them somewhat more brittle. If you watch some of the youtube footage of people hitting tungsten with a hammer, it is almost always a soft tap, or the ring is on a soft surface such as wood.
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I believe this is unscrupulous and a bit of trickery quite frankly. By definition of what the product it, Tungsten rings can be broken. However this should not be looked at with disappointment. It might be a dangerous product to wear if it was truly indestructible as you may get the ring trapped and not be able to remove it. Titanium rings will bend, but a Tungsten ring will not. This means that if you can hit the ring hard enough, it will shatter.

What becomes critical at this point is the composition of the Tungsten ring. If the Tungsten/Carbon ratio is not exact, along with the correct proportion of trace materials, you may very well be purchasing inferior materials.

For the purposes of day to day wear, Tungsten rings are an extremely durable product. They are the most scratch resistant product on the market, more so than titanium, cobalt, platinum, ceramic, gold or silver. The trade off is the ductility/malleability of the metal. Tungsten does not excel in these characteristics.
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Consumers need not be overly concerned with the above, we believe Tungsten to be one of the finest and most resilient materials on the market. There is no reason why you should be concerned that it will break, in fact if you manage to shatter your tungsten ring, you will most likely shatter the rest of your hand as well. I have worn many many tungsten rings over the years, and with general wear I have never broken one – ever.
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The intent of this post is not to deter you from purchasing a Tungsten ring – far from it. We wouldn’t sell them if we didn’t believe in the product. The intent is to get you to use caution where you see retailers advertising “unbreakable” products, and then only go on to warranty against manufacturing defects! Use you keen eye to distinguish deceptive marketing techniques in the jewelery industry, if companies are willing to deceive you on this fact, what else are they keeping from you?

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Alpha Rings is upfront in saying that Tungsten Rings you buy ANYWHERE are not indestructible. But we also offer what we believe to be the highest quality product money can buy. Its tried and tested, and we know that you’ll be extremely happy with your purchase – or your money back.
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AR