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Tungsten vs Gold - Which Is Better for Men's Jewelry?

Tungsten vs Gold - Which Is Better for Men's Jewelry?

While gold has traditionally been the metal of choice for men’s jewelry, tungsten is rapidly becoming more and more popular. What is behind this surge in popularity, and is tungsten better than gold? Read on to learn more about choosing between tungsten and gold when you are buying men's jewelry.

Tungsten

From a Swedish term for heavy stone, tungsten is one of the hardest metals on earth. It has an extremely high melting point at 6,192 degrees Fahrenheit or 3,422 degrees Celsius. This metal is also called wolfram and has the elemental symbol “W.” It is naturally a whitish silver color. Besides making tungsten wedding bands, tungsten is also used to make light filaments and tools. 


When used in jewelry, it is usually combined with a small amount of carbon alloy, making it tungsten carbide. This addition is because tungsten on its own is too brittle. A bit of a metal such as nickel makes a men's wedding ring more structurally sound. An average men’s wedding ring will likely be about 85% tungsten carbide and 15% nickel.  

Pros

  • Durable - Tungsten is about ten times harder than gold, and it rates at a nine on the Mohs scale of hardness. A diamond is a ten on the Mohs scale of hardness. This rating means that the metal is far more scratch-resistant than gold and other metals. 
  • Versatile - This metal can become several different colors, and it can be made into several different designs while retaining its strength. Many people choose tungsten if they want a contemporary-looking men's wedding ring. 
  • Good Weight - Titanium is comparable in weight to gold. So a men's wedding ring made out of tungsten is not too heavy but not too light. 
  • Plentiful - Tungsten is fairly plentiful compared to other metals. 
  • Cheaper - Thanks to the large amount of tungsten, it is significantly cheaper than gold.
  • Hypoallergenic - Tungsten is a fantastic option for those with allergies to gold or nickel. This quality is due to nickel-binder alloys.

Cons

  • Can not be resized - It is difficult to resize jewelry made from tungsten since this metal is so hard. If you think you will need to resize your ring, you likely should get one from a different material. Often manufacturers of these rings will provide a lifetime sizing policy. 
  • Not a commodity - Unlike gold, tungsten is not a tradable commodity. As a result, if you ever want to sell your tungsten jewelry in the future, it will be harder than selling gold. 
  • Breakable - While tungsten can not scratch and bend like metals such as gold, this metal can break if a significant amount of force hits it. Tungsten rings are not as easy to repair as gold. 

Gold

Gold is a precious metal that is known to be resistant to oxidation. It is a relatively soft metal, so it can be easily manipulated into different shapes and recycled. This metal can come in several different karats, depending on how pure the gold is. 24 karat gold is 100% pure gold, while 18 karat gold is 75% gold, and 12 karat gold is 50% gold. 


An enduring symbol of wealth, gold is known for its versatile uses, including in jewelry. It comes in a few different colors: yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold. Even though it is soft, it is more durable than other metals, such as silver. However, it can scratch easily, and it may need occasional servicing to keep it shining. 

Pros

  • Traditional - Gold has been prized at least as far back as ancient Egypt. Having gold jewelry can give you a connection to the past. 
  • Beautiful - Gold is prized for the warm glow that it emits. 
  • Versatile - Though gold is traditionally known for its yellow luster, white and rose gold are great if you want some different colors. The number of karats also impacts the versatility of gold jewelry. What’s more, by getting a lower karat, you can get a more durable piece of jewelry. 
  • Easy to maintain - Gold does not tarnish over time, so you will not need to polish it regularly. On occasion, you may get it serviced by a jeweler to keep it shining. 
  • Easy to resell - Since the value of gold is tracked on the commodities market, you can easily resell gold. This marketability makes your gold jewelry a good investment. 

Cons

  • Expensive - Compared to tungsten, gold can be quite expensive. The exact price of gold is also determined by the commodities market. 
  • Damages easily - While this metal is still more durable than some metals, it is still a relatively soft metal. It is at a 2.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. This rating means that gold jewelry is prone to scratches and other damage. 
  • Can cause allergies - Since gold is often combined with nickel to create a wearable piece, many people can be allergic to gold jewelry due to this nickel. 

Should I Choose Tungsten or Gold for Men’s Jewelry?

Choosing between tungsten and gold comes down to personal preference. It is also worth comparing the various pros and cons to help you determine which material is best suited for you.


If durability is your main priority, opt for a tungsten ring. Tungsten is one of the hardest metals and incredibly resistant to scratches, whereas gold is more prone to show various signs of wear and tear. This can be particularly important when it comes to jewelry, as items like rings can receive quite a few bumps over the years since they are worn on our hands.


Likewise, tungsten is a great budget-friendly option without having to sacrifice quality. It weighs close to the same as gold but is much stronger and has the added benefit of being hypoallergenic. So if opting for something more contemporary is not an obstacle to you, tungsten is well-worth considering.

Final Thoughts

Buying a piece of men’s jewelry such as a men’s wedding ring can be exciting and daunting due to the many different options. The choice between tungsten and gold jewelry comes down to taste and how important their respective pros and cons are to you. If you want an affordable, strong piece of jewelry, consider opting for tungsten over gold.

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