Jewelry Guide

Tungsten vs. Titanium Rings – Pros and Cons (With Examples)

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Tungsten and titanium are two great modern options when it comes to choosing men’s rings.  

Both are relatively new metals [tungsten was officially discovered and named in 1783; titanium in 1791], and both have distinctive, bold finishes.  

If you’re searching for a ring that is different, tungsten and titanium are both more durable and less expensive choices in a marketplace where gold and silver have dominated for so long. Let’s take a closer look at each metal.  

Tungsten vs. Titanium  

5mm titanium ring
Titanium ring from James Allen. See it here. 
9mm tungsten ring
Tungsten ring by James Allen. See it here. 

Before delving into the pros and cons of both tungsten and titanium and deciding which one, if either, makes for a better choice for men’s rings, it’s worth looking at each metal in a bit more detail. 

Tungsten  

Tungsten has a reputation, rightly earned, as one of the hardest metals on Earth. It’s also almost virtually impossible to melt. Tungsten carbide, the compound that makes the metal so hard, is frequently used to make drill bits, bullets, and missiles that are designed to be penetrative other tough metals. 

Titanium  

Another super-strong metal, titanium is renowned for its relative abundance. It’s not for nothing Sia sings about being Titanium! Titanium is the ninth most abundant metal on earth and is known for being light in weight. It is used where lightness and strength are critical: tennis rackets, golf clubs, and components of performance cars are frequently made of this metal.  

Tungsten – The Pros 

tungsten with black sapphire james allen
Tungsten with black sapphire. See it here.
  • It’s relatively low cost – Unlike precious metals such as gold, silver, and platinum, tungsten is not especially rare, and this is reflected in the cost. A high-quality tungsten ring can cost around $120, like this one.
  • It’s durable and stain resistant – Tungsten is undoubtedly a strong metal that is very difficult to tarnish or scratch. In fact, it’s the most scratch-resistant metal used in jewelry. This makes it an ideal choice for rings, which you can wear for a lifetime. 

Tungsten – The Cons 

  • It cannot be resized – Tungsten’s s lack of malleability means that can’t be resized. If you’re purchasing an expensive ring with the hope that it will last a lifetime, then there is a possibility that your fingers -like the rest of your body – are going to change over the years. Therein lay the crux of the problem with tungsten. Likewise, if you buy a used ring, changing the size will not be possible. 
  • It is brittle – While tungsten is hard, its lack of malleability means that it can crack or shatter if brought into hard contact with another solid surface. Do not confuse hardness [and Tungsten is very hard] with outright strength. 
  • It has a heavy weight – Tungsten is a heavy metal. This will either be a pro or a con depending on your preference, with some men liking the gravitas that extra heft provides. But avoiding the complex world of density and atomic weight measures, or the fun world of YouTube videos where tungsten cubes are explored, tungsten is actually almost identical in weight to gold, so don’t think your tungsten ring will make your hands too heavy to lift! 
  • It’s not hypoallergenic – If you have skin allergies when wearing certain metals, tungsten might not be the best idea. Tungsten tends to have cobalt in it, which is an allergen for many. 

Titanium – The Pros 

tungsten hammered ring james allen
Hammered titanium ring. See it here.
  • It’s super resistance – Pretty much immune to scratches and stains, titanium will prove much easier to keep in great shape than other precious metals and requires relatively little maintenance.  
  • It’s cheaper than gold or silver – Like tungsten, platinum will likely cost you a fraction of the price of a comparatively weighted gold ring. A decent titanium ring can be bought from reputable sellers for as little as $120, whilst 18 Karat gold is likely to cost as much as five times this amount. 
  • It combines well with other metals like gold and silver – Titanium combines well with other metals like gold, rose gold, and silver, and this – aligned with its relatively low price as a stand-alone metal, might be attractive to those wanting to experiment. Of course, the addition of other metals will raise the cost of your ring. 
  • It’s super lightweight – Titanium is so lightweight that some find it eerily so. This can be a pro or a con depending on your preference. Some people like the feeling of a heavier ring, while others like a lightweight one.  
  • It’s hypoallergenic – Titanium rings are hypoallergenic and perfect for those with skin allergies.  

Titanium – The Cons 

  • It has a dull, matte finish – One of the only cons with titanium is its matte finish – it simply won’t polish up in the same way that gold, silver, and other precious metals will. Once again, for some men, this might be seen as the more masculine choice, and with options to combine titanium with shinier metals, the contrast between matt and gloss could be a real novelty. It all depends on your preference. 
  • It’s hard to resize – Due to its strength, titanium is hard to resize as well. While it’s not impossible, it does make it more difficult.  

Comparisons Between Tungsten and Titanium 

tungsten whiskey barrel etsy
Tungsten rings by Tylian Studio. See it here.
titanium wood etsy
Titanium ring by Dimalta Gioiellie. See it here. 

In your search for an alternative to the more common ring materials, tungsten and titanium provide interesting, modern choices.  

  • Both are reasonably priced  
  • Both are scratch and stain resistant, but titanium will not crack. Tungsten’s brittleness means it is susceptible to cracks if knocked hard. 
  • Both metals are hypoallergenic, which means they won’t cause skin irritation that can be problematic in some metals.  
  • Both have a naturally grey coloring, although are also available in black. Naturally, tungsten is shinier while titanium has a more diffused finish.  
  • Tungsten and titanium are at completely different ends of the weight spectrum. Density [essentially how buoyant something is in water] sees titanium coming in at 43% less than steel, with tungsten 90% heavier [and very similar to gold]. 
  • Neither tungsten nor titanium can be resized easily. Because both ring types are very strong/hard, they are not suitable for any kind of re-sizing. However, when considering the lower prices, it will probably just be cheaper to replace them, when and if the need arises.  
  • Both rings provide striking and original contrast options to more traditional metal and jewel contrasts.  

Should You Choose Tungsten or Titanium? 

Your choice really comes down to a matter of preference. Both rings offer similar pros and cons, with the main differences being that tungsten is brittle and heavy, while titanium is lighter and has a duller finish. Go with your heart, but also with your head. Of course, at the reasonable prices that both Tungsten and Titanium rings can be bought for, you might buy two rings. 

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