Tungsten Vs Tungsten Carbide – Difference Between Tungsten And Tungsten Carbide

Tungsten is one of the most preferred metal for different jewels but particularly rings. People know the 74th element on the periodic table, but they use tungsten and tungsten carbide interchangeably.

This, however, doesn’t change the fact that these two metals are different.

You will notice it for its silvery-white color. You can decide to use it as an alloy or as a pure element. This is also why we delve into the topic to find the small difference between tungsten and the tungsten alloy.

The difference by definition

What is tungsten

Here you have the chemical element that’s the 74th on the periodic table. The miners collect it as ore; then, the jeweler tries to get the pure tungsten out. Most people like to use this metal for their wedding bands because of its durability and hardness.

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Some people also refer to it as wolfram. This name is from the Swedish term that means heavy stone. This also shows you the metal’s strength and weight.

You will know this metal for its hardness and scratch resistance. This is mostly the reason why most men prefer to use it for their wedding rings. You will further notice that it’s the heaviest metal people use in jewelry.

Reasons why you should buy the tungsten

  • It’s affordable

When you compare this metal to other precious choices based on the features it gives you, then you will notice it’s cheaper. Nonetheless, the grade of the tungsten that made the jewel will determine the price you see. Either way, though, you can expect it to be cheaper than most precious ones like gold.

They look the same as white gold, but this is a cheaper option with excellent quality. If the price influences you, you may be misled to thinking it’s not of excellent quality. However, the metals are just as good quality.

  • It’s durable

When you compare these metals with most other metals, you will understand why we say it’s a cheaper option. Notice that it’s scratch-resistant too; thus, you will have it over a long time. It doesn’t matter where you take it to or the kind of environment you subject it to; the metal remains durable.

  • The color

It has just the perfect and attractive color for your different styles of jewels. You will also sometimes have it in gun metals gray.

Most people like the silvery-white tungsten jewelry color.

It has a similar appearance to platinum but also white gold. That’s why most people confuse the two. Nonetheless, if you want, you can also plate them using yellow or white gold.

  • Enjoy the luster

Notice that such options are resistant to tarnish, but you will like the shine and luster. Contrary to most metals that lose their shine with time, this one won’t lose its shine. It’s no wonder people refer to the style of the metal as forever polished metals.

You will have the metal looking lustrous stylish, and shiny.

  • The weight

These styles of rings are some of the weightiest options we have in the market. It will give the perfect weight to your jewelry. Notice that this is a great choice as you won’t even notice you have a jewel on.

Drawbacks

  • It’s too hard

The truth is that since it’s too hard, it’s also brittle; thus, you can’t even manipulate it. If you went with a jewel you would like to resize; you can’t do it. You can damage it if you try to manipulate it.

What is tungsten carbide?

Simply put, the tungsten carbide is the alloy of tungsten and carbon. They make it by mixing or heating the tungsten with carbon. So then the easiest way to make it malleable is to make sure you take equal parts. They often then use nickel or cobalt as a binder.

tungsten carbide2

Technically this is one of the hardest metals. You will like it for its hardness, resistance, and abrasion. It’s the ideal solution for when you want a harder metal.

It’s almost the same as when you are using a diamond. But it’s also the metal that’s common in jewels.

Reasons why you should choose it

  • It’s hypoallergenic

The best thing you will like about these jewels is that they don’t cause any form of allergic reactions. Although we say that it contains a little bit of nickel, the ones it has are not going to affect you. Besides, even those who are allergic to nickel can comfortably use this metal.

With that said, it’s on you to make sure the jewel you buy is hypoallergenic by first asking your seller about it.

  • No scratches

This metal-like the tungsten metals is scratch resistant. It doesn’t matter if you have had it for long; you will not be dealing with the scratches. This is the best jewel style to use if you know you like to be in harsh conditions as you won’t scratch it ever.

Notice that a company selling good tungsten quality will tell you that they are sure it won’t scratch. In such instances, if it does, then they offer you another piece. They are nicely confident about their products, therefore.

  • It’s affordable

You can compare it with the above one. It’s generally affordable compared to other durable and good looking metals. If you would therefore like to buy a wedding band, consider this alloy. You won’t spend as much as you do when you buy precious metals like gold and the likes.

Drawbacks

  • It’s hard

Just like the tungsten above, the alloy is hard, but the good thing is that it’s not brittle. However, you can’t resize it if you want to, which works to your disadvantage. If you bought the wrong size, you might have to discard it if it doesn’t fit.

The difference by the composition

Although they are both forms of tungsten, they contain different elements. For the tungsten, we assume that it’s pure tungsten, so it shouldn’t have additives.

The tungsten carbide though it contains tungsten and carbon. The essence of the carbon is to make it less brittle, malleable, and easy to mold.

The difference by the strength

The one thing that makes anyone choose metals for their jewels is how strong they remain. The truth, though, is that both the tungsten and tungsten carbide are strong. They’re tough metals; no wonder they last longer.

When talking about the strength of the metals’ hardness, they mostly are talking of the surface of the metal. You can subject them to different conditions, but you are sure it won’t do dent or get it damaged.

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Of course, they both are vital and challenging, but the tungsten carbide, which is an alloy, is even more vital. We should mention that it has a lower tensile strength. Although they are tough, they are also brittle, especially when comparing it to other metal types.

Thermal conductivity

If you’re going to have the metals on when you are in a high-temperature place, you should check the thermal conductivity. With this, you will know how much heat can go through the metal. The tungsten, though, is not affected by temperature. It’s not affected by the rapid changes either.

Notice that the tungsten, though, will be even more stable to use. So it doesn’t matter where you go to the metals will be safe to use at all times. The tungsten carbide is even better and not at all affected by temperature. This is why it maintains its look.

The hardness

Here you have the perfect metal to use for the different jewels. Tungsten is famous for being hard, but so is the tungsten carbide alloy. Hardness and strength go almost hand in hand. They will never change the surface even when you hit them. It never dents, forms dimples, scratch, or start pitting.

You can even use the jewel machine with these jewels and still have them maintaining their features. Most people know diamond or titanium to be hard, but it’s not as hard as tungsten. Nonetheless, tungsten carbide is a stronger alloy.

So, of course, though challenging, the tungsten is still not as tough as the tungsten alloy one.

The durability

Let’s agree on one point that both metals are durable, but one will be more durable than the other. Notice that the pure tungsten ranks 7.5 on the Mohs scale. This tungsten, then although it’s durable, can still be scratched.

On the other hand, tungsten carbide is even more durable and scratch-resistant. It’s from Mohs 8 to 9, which is even harder and durable. It’s the most rigid metal for jewelry, yet it maintains the luster. This is why some people refer to it as forever polished metal.

Notice that the rings you use here are hard; thus, you can never resize them.

Hypoallergenic

Whenever we are talking about jewels, we have to mention the hypoallergenic properties for the sake of the skin sensitive people. Notice that pure tungsten will never cause your skin to react; thus, it’s hypoallergenic.

Tungsten carbide may contain cobalt and nickel too but in small quantities. If you are, therefore, the type that is sensitive to nickel, then it will react with your skin. Since it’s also an alloy, you may find that it features a mix of different metals.

tungsten carbide ring 1

This is why before you settle on one jewel, then you will have to ask if it’s hypoallergenic or not. Good companies will show you whether it’s hypoallergenic or not.

Be careful, though, to make sure that you don’t buy the ones made using the industrial types of tungsten.

Why the rise of the tungsten carbide jewel?

Of course, we will always have other metals coming up to improve on the other ones before it. Notice that the most common metal that jewelers use is the tungsten carbide. You should know that people don’t use pure tungsten for the jewel. Instead, they will use 85% tungsten and 15% carbon, nickel, or cobalt.

In combining the tungsten with the carbon, you make it less brittle. Remember we had said earlier that tungsten is very brittle. This makes the alloy one easier to work with but also much durable.

You will further add the cobalt or nickel in to bind it and make it work. It becomes strong when you use these binding metals. When you add the carbide to the mix, then it will be so strong.

Therefore, tungsten is tough and rigid, but it doesn’t have the same appearance as pure tungsten metals. It will also have different features from the pure one, which also means that the quality varies.

However, even though it may not be as hard as the tungsten carbide, other great physical features make it equally useful when you look at it keenly.

How strong is tungsten carbide?

This is a tough metal. It’s harder than titanium that we believe to be the hardest. Notice that it has between 9-9.5 Moh scale and a vicker number of 2600. Those who want to find the easiest way to understand it then know that it can stand up against titanium and platinum. Its strength makes it also nicely durable.

Tungsten vs. tungsten carbide ring

Whether you decide to buy the tungsten or the tungsten carbide ring, you will have it serve you well as long as you choose the jewel tungsten metal. They are both nicely hard and durable to use. They are often safe to use too.

Though, the tungsten carbide ring is much durable, which is why it may be pricier than the preceding one.

Is tungsten carbide magnetic?

You must know this as it’s the easiest way to identify your tungsten carbide jewel.

It will, however, depend on the amount of binder the manufacturer used. If they used a lot of cobalt, nickel, or iron, it would be magnetic, but it won’t be magnetic if it’s not. Generally, though, we can say that it’s not magnetic.

Is it safe?

When you’re wearing the jewels, the first thing you want to be sure of is that the jewel is safe. And yes, you are safe when you use the tungsten and tungsten carbide jewel. The secret, though, is to make sure you choose the jewelry grade one and not the industrial-grade jewel.

Which one is better?

Both the tungsten and the tungsten carbide are great options to use. But the alloy will give you better service because it’s nicely durable. It’s further the most common in the market.

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