Titanium and tungsten carbide are two of the most popular materials on the jewelry market today. While superficial appearance may lead some shoppers to believe that they are essentially similar, the two materials are actually quite different. Here are some key points to consider when choosing between a titanium ring and a tungsten carbide ring.
Both titanium and tungsten carbide are expensive alternatives to precious metals that are comparable in price. For both materials, prices may vary depending on the style, manufacturer and quality of the material.
Titanium is a metal that is slightly alloyed with other elements (usually aluminum and vanadium) when applied to jewelry. The most common grade of titanium jewelry is at least 85% pure titanium. Tungsten carbide is a compound made from the rare metal tungsten and the same number of carbon atoms.
Both titanium and tungsten carbide are much harder than precious metals such as gold and platinum. However, tungsten carbide is one of the hardest materials in existence, and is much harder than titanium, with a Mohs hardness rating of 9, compared to titanium's score of 6.
Because of its hardness, tungsten carbide can easily beat titanium in terms of scratch resistance, although titanium still has a higher scratch resistance than other commonly used materials. With the exception of diamond, few other materials will scratch tungsten carbide.
Titanium is more resistant to cracking than the naturally brittle tungsten carbide. The extreme hardness of tungsten carbide and its brittleness mean that if tungsten carbide rings are struck against a sufficiently hard surface, they may break. However, the brittleness of tungsten carbide rings has now been greatly improved.
Titanium and tungsten carbide rings feel on the finger practically on both sides of the spectrum. Despite their durability, titanium rings are very lightweight and perfect for jewelry phobes. On the other hand, tungsten carbide rings are heavier and have a non-negligible weight feel on the finger.
Both titanium rings and tungsten carbide rings have a natural bronze gray color. Tungsten carbide rings on the market can be gold plated, polished and black plated. The colors are colorful and eye-catching.