Tungsten Masonic Rings

by eslevy17

Tungsten carbide Masonic rings offer beautiful, functional durability for life, with Masonic symbols laser-engraved, in a ring that will last forever.

Tungsten carbide has become increasingly popular, highly regarded for its nearly indestructible nature and its durable, low-maintenance finish, and is also valued for being more affordable than other precious but weaker metals.

Tungsten jewelry now comes in a variety of styles, including those designed for niche groups like the Freemasons, with laser engraved square and compass designs for a subtle, functional piece of jewelry that will last for generations.

What is Tungsten Carbide?

And what's just tungsten?

Tungsten carbide is an alloy formed by combining tungsten with...wait for it...carbon. This gives the metal its renowned durability, while still being resilient enough to endure powerful impacts. In fact, it's one of the strongest materials out there, needing a diamond or other super-strong substances to cut it. Tungsten registers around a 9 on the Mohs scale, which is a measure of hardness; diamonds are a 10. This makes tungsten jewelry nearly impervious to scratching, meaning you won't have to remove a ring to do any kind of work that might damage other pieces of jewelry.

Because many people use "tungsten" as a shorthand, the term is often confused with tungsten carbide, but there isn't really any jewelry made of pure tungsten. Tungsten by itself is too brittle, requiring the carbon to make it strong enough to last. The jewelry marketed under either of these titles is very likely the same sort of material, either of which will include the carbon content to increase durability.

Because of the durability, tungsten is now used for a variety of jewelry, with laser engraving able to produce beautiful designs, such as the Masonic square and compass cut into the rings displayed below. The high scratch resistance of the metal ensures that the symbol will endure, remaining legible for...a long, long time.

Benefits of Tungsten Carbide Rings

Tungsten carbide jewelry pros and cons

Tungsten carbide has become popular for a number of reasons, outshining its shinier metallic cousins with a number of functional advantages:

  • Tungsten jewelry is extremely durable, practically impervious to scratches or other damage. It's much stronger than gold, silver, or even titanium, and won't scratch, unless you hack at it with a diamond or other equally tough material. It also won't bend the way more flexible metals can, which can be a safety issue in certain circumstances. This makes it particularly popular for anyone working out of doors, with power tools, or in similar conditions.
  • It doesn't require polishing, the way silver and gold do, making it lower maintenance, while still looking great.
  • It's hypoallergenic, which means that for some people, it might be the only way to go (this is not the case with cobalt alloys, so stay away from those).
  • It's cheap! Tungsten jewelry is significantly more affordable, both in terms of up front costs, as well as long-term maintenance savings, when compared to gold, silver, or other traditional jewelry materials. With gold prices likely to keep going up, you can jump off the shiny metal bandwagon and go with something else, which will be durable, functional, and pretty gorgeous too.

Downsides of Tungsten Jewelry

A few things to know before buying tungsten rings

The disadvantages of tungsten carbide rings and other jewelry is rather slim, but of course they're worth mentioning:

  • They're heavy. Even heavier than lead. It's not going to ruin your day, but something to consider. Some people might prefer the heft of a denser material such as tungsten, though this may explain part of the reason it's generally more popular with men than women, though the gap is shrinking in that regard.
  • They can't be resized. Some jewelers offer a lifetime warranty and a free replacement. Tungsten can be rather inexpensive though, so sometimes this isn't such a concern.
  • They're harder to remove if they get stuck, requiring more powerful equipment to get the job done, but contrary to popular belief, they can definitely be cut off.
  • They can't be engraved by hand, requiring lasers instead. On the upside, laser engraving looks awesome. But just be aware that you'll have to find a service that offers laser engraving in addition to, or instead of, traditional methods.

Black Tungsten Carbide Rings

Tough as tungsten, black as onyx

Tungsten is naturally a grey color, but a number of manufacturers offer a black or dark grey finish to their jewelry to give it the same appearance as onyx or other deep as night materials. This is generally accomplished by applying a titanium coating to the surface.

While titanium is very strong, it's not quite as strong as the tungsten underneath it, so it is possible that it will become scratched. Some manufacturers offer a free refurbishment service if this is the case, though of course some might prefer the weathered appearance of a heavily-used piece of jewelry.

Buying Tungsten Rings and Jewelry

Words of wisdom on tungsten

Because tungsten is becoming increasingly popular, it's important to look for jewelers that back their products with quality service, and use quality materials. Remember to avoid cobalt content, as it can cause allergic reactions, defeating the purpose of hypoallergenic jewelry.

Aside from that, a tungsten ring should last for generations, with little or no maintenance, and for those who prefer durability to flashiness, this is a great way to go. So pick one up, and enjoy it for generations.

More Tungsten Rings

Collect them all!
Near-indestructible tungsten carbide rings last forever, look great, stay shiny, and they can have spinners too!
Updated: 05/03/2012, eslevy17
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