Don’t Buy Titanium or Tungsten Wedding Bands
I'm not going to win any popularity contests in my industry as a wedding ring designing jeweler saying this, but I say:
"Don't buy titanium or tungsten wedding bands."
This topic has received more comments than any other I have written on. Check out the comments.
I have updated this post, check it out and tell me what you think, click here: Titanium or Tungsten vs. Gold or Platinum Wedding Bands, Revisited
I have also added new information about sizing titanium at the end of the post, May 25th 2018.
The Five Reasons I Say, "Don’t Buy Titanium or Tungsten Wedding Bands"
1. Your fingers will change size over the life of your wedding rings. Titanium and Tungsten are not solderable or sizable.
2. Gold and platinum rings can be sized, repaired, soldered on and changed. Again and again.
3. Gold and platinum have actual value as metals and go back through history as wedding ring metals. Titanium and Tungsten are cheap.
4. Your wedding ring stands for your commitment and your love and your future. You don’t want to toss your ring in the trash and order a new one every time your finger size changes.
5. Your wedding rings are the most important jewelry you’ll ever have. Your kids will inherit your wedding jewelry. Choose a valuable, special metal like gold or platinum.
Titanium and Tungsten Rings: Near Impossible to Work On
Titanium and tungsten are almost impossible to work with. I can almost guarantee there’s nobody in your hometown able to size a titanium or tungsten ring. Call around and see for yourself. You might get lucky and find someone on the internet located in the middle of North Dakota who says he can do the job. Good luck.
Gold and Platinum Rings Can be Soldered and Sized
Gold and platinum can be soldered and sized and fixed by jewelers the world over. Ten years from now, when you’re ten years older, and your finger is one size larger, you’ll easily be able to size up your gold or platinum ring.
Want to replace your smaller center diamond with something bigger? No problem. Need to re-tip your worn prongs? Again, not a problem with gold or platinum.
Know this: your finger size will change. They often do over time. Our knuckles can continue to grow even if the rest of our body doesn’t. Weight gain or loss can effect your finger size too.
If your finger size changes in time will your titanium and tungsten wedding bands change with you? Nope.
The titanium slab in the picture is worked on my filing, sawing and drilling. There is no casting or soldering with titanium. It's worked in a machine shop, not a jeweler's bench.
Gold and Platinum: Time Honored Metals, Worthy of Love
Gold and platinum are the traditional, go-to wedding ring materials. Unlike titanium and tungsten, they’re valuable metals. They are called "Noble Metals." They have been valued for thousands of years.
The Egyptians, the Chinese, the Incas, the Mayans, and every other civilization on the planet have always valued gold.
Gold and Platinum Feel Yummy and Heavy
Gold and platinum are heavier, too, especially platinum. I like the weightiness of them. Unlike the lightweight, titanium, gold and platinum feel substantial and more precious.
Your Magic and Meaningful Wedding Rings!
A wedding ring is like a talisman—an object, like a stone or a jewel, thought to give magical powers to the person that carried or wore it.
Your wedding ring is more than just a symbol saying “I’m married.” It’s like the talisman. It protects the union and wards off someone coming between you and your spouse.
It guards against the evil spirits of divorce. I don’t know about you, but in my universe the more valuable the talisman, the more valuable the magic.
Get a Good Wedding Band with Value and Versatility in it!
Getting married? Don’t Buy Titanium and Tungsten Wedding Bands. Get a gold or platinum ring. Leave the titanium and tungsten for your right hand. For the ring that represents your union and your love, don’t go cheap and temporary.
Use the metals that represents lasting value and lasting love. Get wedding bands you can pass on to your kids. I have sized so many rings from my client's parent's and grandparents. For students and young people with little money, these inherited jewelry gifts keep on giving as they can be sized and altered. The meaning that these rings give is sentimental and priceless. I know I'd want to give wedding rings to my heirs that could be sized and re-used.
For your love, for the changing finger sizes in your married life, chose gold and platinum. Your love is worth it!
Update August 13th - 2015 NPR Article
I was quoted in an NPR article on a case study of a man hospitalized overnight with a titanium ring stuck on his finger
A man taking a bath had his finger swell and went to the hospital to have his ring removed. They couldn't get it off initially. He ended up in the hospital overnight.
Update-January 4th 2017 - Commenter Story
Commenter Skip, who wears a tungsten carbide wedding band and is about to replace it brought up a very interesting negative issue about tungsten carbide. Read on:
"One other thought on the cons of tungsten carbide wedding bands. I have had my wedding band for 5 years now and got it because of the low price and that it is basically indestructible. The first issue was the fading of the shiny finish. I have not been able to find a process online or a jeweler that can bring it back. The second (and biggest) con is one that I seldom see noted or discussed. Since it is second only to a diamond in hardness, tungsten carbide can be very damaging. We bought new stainless kitchen appliances nine months ago. I have virtually destroyed the handles on both the microwave and the refrigerator. I guess I could get into the habit of opening everything with my right hand, but old habits die hard. While this ring has emotional value, I have no choice but to replace it with white gold and will be doing so soon. Oh well." Skip
May 25th 2018 - Titanium Jeweler Speaks
In a discussion on Facebook in a private jeweler's group, (JHJ), a lively back and forth appeared about the merits of alternate metal jewelry. Jerry Spaulding in response to the "it can't be sized" problem had this to say:
Wow! What a useful article! As professional wedding videographers I have had the pleasure of filming countless wedding rings of all shapes and sizes. Personally, I feel there is nothing like a beautiful gold or platinum ring and this article just reinforced my feeling about that! Thank you for bringing us these incredible insights Calla! They are greatly appreciated!
-YTS Digital FIlms
Thanks so much William for taking the time to respond. I imagine you’ve seen more wedding rings than I have as a videographer. I’m glad you enjoyed the post.
Hi I was reading your article on “don’t buy titanium or tungsten rings”. You just bust my bubble I so like the unique look of the tungsten ring. I’m going to have to rethink this, any suggestions on something that is comparable to this look.
You might consider black rhodium finished designs. Check out my post on black rhodium:
Sorry to bust your bubble. Perhaps you can find an alternate that can change with you throughout the years.
Your Personal Jeweler,
I’m getting married soon and am looking (with no success) for a ring that will survive his profession. He works at a collision repair shop and works with lots of acids and other heavy duty chemicals on a daily basic. Even with gloves on, these chemicals eat through a lot and I’m worried will cause serious damage to a regular gold or platinum ring. Any suggestions on what kind of ring could survive these conditions?
Tungsten and titanium during the day with nicer ring for the weekends might just be the right choice with his work. Platinum is pretty impervious to chemicals, but it will scratch up like crazy. A lot of guys don’t actually care about that, but I wanted you to know as part of your figure out on what to choose for him.
Good luck in selecting a ring or rings that you’ll both be happy with.
Your Personal Jeweler,
PS. I love your name!
Titanium rings are cheaper to resize if you don’t go to a jewellers. Assuming a simple band you cut and then microweld. A good workshop will do that for about £20. Finding workshops that do Titanium is awkward though so you may have to drive to the next city. Once welded it won’t be perfectly smooth but a bit of fine emery and wet and dry cloth will bring it back to profile easily. Tungsten rings don’t suffer from the safety concerns you mentioned. In fact they are safer. They are very hard wearing. I wear mine to the gym… Read more »
Hello Mark, I do micro-welding on rings and I cannot handle titanium. What temperature are you speaking of that this workshop that you’d go to would use? I have been told that to make a titanium band larger they grind out the inside and to make it smaller they insert another band to thicken it from the inside. The safety concern I have with titanium is the occasional emergency need to remove it. Where gold and platinum and silver for that matter can be sawed off with a simple hand cranked ring saw, titanium requires an electric diamond tipped ring… Read more »
The only reason you think that gold represents love is because someone made a good advertisement. Watch “Adam Ruins Everything” on youtube, and you will see what AI am talking about. Another thing is that if it is a symbol of love, then why is it so weak?
Hi Tori, I personally wear yellow gold because I love the buttery warmth of it. My grandmother and grandfather wore yellow gold, my mother wears yellow gold and I wear yellow gold. It’s value is bred into my bones. I cherish what they cherish and what my lifelong friends cherish. Yellow gold, white gold and platinum and rose gold for that matter. I love that it can be sized, that I can add a gemstone if I want, that I can add a texture or polish it to a high shine. This freedom to change, to alter and to have… Read more »
Exactly. Same with diamonds; people used to wear rings of various bands and germs til the jewelry industry ran their aggressive marketing campaigns. Now people feel guilty if their ring isn’t a slightly altered copy-paste of gold or platinum and diamonds. No, if you love someone you’ll get them something that will hold its splendor for quite a long time, a ring you don’t have to be afraid of wearing while actually living life! Plus, for the price, you can get it customized so much more for the budget. Tungsten Carbide is the way to go if you and yours… Read more »
Hello Mouse, I had a convo this morning with a jeweler friend. He’s all in on titanium, tungsten and inlaid wood and all. I said to him, “you realize if you could alter the size of your rings you’d kill my business.” He replied,”Nah, people would probably still want gold. So you wouldn’t die, you’d just get skinnier.” “So how’s the ‘no, I can’t size your inlaid wood band,’ going?” I asked him. “Not so good. I’ve had a few super pissed off people. But seriously, there was this couple, they ordered dinosaur bone inlay, swore up and down that… Read more »
If I can act as a “mediator”: 1. Yes, the “precious metals” ring fulfill an emotion that someone brainwashed our grandmothers to have…But isn’t a wedding does just the same thing? Will a ceremony determine if you’ll love someone for the rest of your life? 2. Yes, they are not resizable, but I can get 10 tungsten bands, in all sizes for the price of a gold ring. So it doesn’t really matter. 3. The amount of precious metals in those rings is worth squat, and you (as a jeweler) know that very well. A 1.5-2mm thickness, 14K white gold… Read more »
Hello Shane, For your first point, Having my special wedding ring fills an emotional place. The ring for me symbolizes the love. It reminds me of the ceremony. For your second point, I’m a sentimental person. If I had ten rings in different sizes to choose from it’d make my wedding ring seem common. It’s supposed to be special. For me that solution to the no sizing problem falls flat. For your third point you mention that the value of gold for recycling is less than a retail cost of a designed ring. The raw materials of a car cost… Read more »
Yeah. They always look good the first day they are worn. Try taking a photo of them a year later and see what you get.
I have indeed seen the year or years later rings. Not so pretty.
Great blog Calla…Personally, I agree with you and would only give my husband (to be) Platinum. Thanks for your informative and passionate posts!!! Keep up the awesome work.
I love that you dug my message of going for value. That’s great that you’ll go with Platinum for your husband to be. He’s lucky that you value him so!
Great info Calla Gold.
Titanium and Tungsten are here to stay. I agree with you now that as wedding bands they are a “don’t buy!”
That custom ring you made is absolutely out of this world gorgeous!!! Always a fan of platinum and gold. Will share this info.
Thank you Dr. Lynn for reading and letting me know your thoughts.
I have always been a gold or platinum girl , yet men seem to like the titanium, must be a golf thing? ! Great for a club but not to wear as a wedding ring. Why don’t men get that? Good info! Thanks Calla!
You’re right, it’s fine for golf, but not the daily wedding ring wear!
Calla-I agree with Lynn that Titanium and Tungsten are here to stay-for eyeglasses.. not a precious wedding ring. Great advice!
Thanks for weighing in!
Tungsten wedding rings break very easily also!
I’m upset enough about it that I started a petition. Calla Gold Jewelry, thank you for your blog post on the inappropriateness of Tungsten Bands for representing the sentiment of your marriage.
Calla, please like this page on Facebook to let everyone know the truth about tungsten rings.
I did like your Facebook page and loved the video of the six year old breaking the Tungsten wedding band. Who wants that representing their vows?
The information shared here regarding Tungsten men wedding rings is very good. I think it is the most important thing to have wonderful designs. Thanks!
Thanks for visiting Nadira!
Ridiculous. Just more way for a jeweler to make money. My husband works with metals,and titanium is very durable, strong, and lasts much longer than a gold, diamond band. Better metals and much less expensive. It’s not the band, it’s the bond that counts!!!
Caryl, I have no problem with the strength of titanium. It is very durable and I think it is fine for a right hand ring. My experience with long married people however is that their fingers change size. Over the years whether due to weight gain or loss or just the inevitable growing of the knuckle (and Caryl they do continue to grow after adulthood is reached,) people’s wedding fingers do change size. I object to titanium as a wedding band because it cannot be sized. Yes it will last a lifetime, but what good does that do you if… Read more »
I must be missing something. I have talked to twenty couples with over 400 years of marriage and mot one person has ever had to have a ring resized. Not one. As for being a your other point, the only reason gold is so valuable is because our culture has made it that way. If they had the tools to make tungsten rings a thousand years ago, they would be just as valuable today as gold.
Dear Eric, Who knows who’s missing what. I have about 3500 clients and my most popular repair service and I do many per week is the sizing of rings. I have observed so many married people having their rings sized that it seems a common thing to me. I’ve sized my wedding ring more than once and my husband’s too. I’ll beg to differ with you on tungsten. If they had found tungsten back then, since it has a ridiculously high melting point we jewelers do not cast with it. On the other hand gold can be hand worked in… Read more »
I can’t wait to read your next article on why cats are better than dogs – because the ancient Egyptians “worshipped” cats lol
Well we had a pretty long discussion at the dinner table about whether pigs are smarter than dogs. I am for the pigs.
Your Personal Jeweler,
Lol my name is Darryl and I am 36 and been married for almost 20 years. I now have 6 wedding bands, only one is good, my finger went from a 13 to a 16 down to a 15 now I’m at size 17. I’m not over weight, I’m 6″2 220 LBS and my hand swells and goes down.
I just got rid of them, all but the gold one. It was the original, but i was told they can’t do that size difference.
Hi Darryl, As far as sizing your original size 13 gold band to a size 17, a new piece would need to be made and soldered onto the original gold band. I would get a second opinion as that is work that can be done unless there is some issue with your band. I recently took an extremely thin, depth-wise, gold band ring from my client’s grandfather and build an under ring in the larger size and mounted the grandfather’s ring into a channel. It now has the necessary depth to be worn daily as his wedding ring. Someone else… Read more »
1) You didn’t list 5 reasons, you listed the same reason five different ways!
2) Titanium and tungsten are very valuable… why you’d think otherwise is a mystery…
3) While it is true that tungsten can’t be resized, you’re wrong about titanium… likely not as easily as gold but it can be.
Hi Joe, Thank you for weighing in. I feel that I have given five reasons why titanium is a bad idea as a wedding band. I like it fine as a metal and for a right hand ring. I do not like it for a wedding ring for my five reasons. I’m glad you feel it can be sized. I’ve done quite a bit of asking and short of grinding out to gain a half size I’ve had no positive response to being able to size it. As a thirty year jeweler I’ve sized a lot of wedding rings. My… Read more »
Have you ever tried on a Tungsten ring? I doubt it, otherwise you would know that it is the opposite of lightweight. It is heavier than gold and closer to platinum in density.
Being lightweight is a fair criticism of titanium, but you should amend your article so as not to mislead readers about the weight and feel of tungsten.
Your point is well taken, I was speaking of titanium when I referenced the light-weightness of the metal.