Oct 14

Titanium or Tungsten vs. Gold or Platinum Wedding Bands, Revisited

By Calla Gold

 The Opinion Blog That Sparked a Debate

 

Rose gold band with rosemaling hand engraving and Black Rhodium

This Rose Gold, Hand Engraved Ring with Black Rhodium Can be Sized

I’ve been a jewelry blogger, writing my Jewelry Without Walls blog for a number of years now.  Odds are that if you have a jewelry-related question, I’ve answered it.

My most popular, or maybe I should say most infamous, blog post is this one: Don’t By Titanium or Tungsten Wedding Bands.

I will revisit and attempt to better explain my opinion on this matter in light of the many comments I received. I will further elaborate on why I believe gold and platinum make better wedding bands than titanium or tungsten.

Two Big Reasons Why Gold And Platinum Beat Tungsten and Titanium for Wedding Bands

There are two main reasons why I believe you should buy Gold or Platinum instead of Titanium or Tungsten. I gave five reasons in my previous post, but got some flak in the comments for that. Now I’ve distilled it down to two reasons with a few sub-reasons underneath my two main points.

 The Two Key Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy Titanium or Tungsten Wedding  Bands

1.  Gold and Platinum bands can be re-sized easily, unlike the unsizeable Tungsten or the barely-resizeable Titanium bands.

2. Gold and Platinum are Valuable, Traditional  and Time Honored Metals.  Titanium and Tungsten are not.

Hercules Ring, Roman times

Ancient Roman Gold Hercules Knot Ring.
Image from A History of Jewelry, J. Anderson Black

Let’s Talk About the Meaning and History of Gold

Gold especially has been valued throughout human history.  In fact, Gold artifacts have been found in ancient burial sites that date as far back as the 4th millennium BC.  You would find it difficult to think of a civilization that didn’t value gold.

Gold is prominent in legends, such as Jason and the Golden Fleece. Gold is mentioned frequently in the Old Testament, such as the story of The Golden Calf or the golden altar on which the Menorah was placed.

The Future of Your Wedding Bands or Lack Thereof

Gold and Platinum can be re-sized quite easily.  Almost all jewelers should be able to provide this valuable service. As a jeweler of 30 years I’ve sized my share of wedding bands and I’m here to tell you, most people have changes in their finger size once they are married for a while.

I don’t know about you, but if I couldn’t size my wedding band that I said my vows over I’d be pissed.  Call me sentimental but I’d like the have the original ring on my finger.

Tungsten can’t be resized.  No if, and’s, or buts.

tungsten-ring-break

Oh yeah, tungsten bands can break when you drop them.

While I am ragging on Tungsten, a commenter on my previous blog post on tungsten and titanium, pointed out that it can break easily. She shared videos of a six year old breaking one with a hammer.

She’d started a petition to raise awareness of the brittleness of tungsten. She had dropped her husband’s band, (during the ceremony?) and it broke. She felt that a ring that shatters is not a good representation of a lasting love. Video of a breaking Tungsten band.

Titanium Can’t be Soldered or Heat Worked (I Can’t Size it)

Titanium bands can (barely) be altered to fit your finger if it gets bigger or smaller, but the process isn’t as simple as re-sizing Gold or Platinum.

First of all, there are not many jewelers who have the machine shop tools necessary to (barely) re-size titanium.  So you’re far more likely to get told that it’s not possible. In case your curious about how a titanium band is made here’s a video.

Big Chunk of Titanium Ore

Big Chunk of Titanium Ore

How do You Change the Size (Barely) of Titanium?

In order to increase the size of titanium band the inside of the ring must be milled out.  Depending on your ring’s thickness this may not be a problem, but if you have a thinner ring  and an expanding finger, then it may become impossible for you to wear your ring.

Even if it can be milled (ground) thinner to give your finger more room, you’ll only get a half to full size larger at the max. I’m sorry to say that many people married for many years have their finger size increase over one size.

To reduce the band’s size, a titanium sleeve must be milled and then pressure fit into the ring. The edges then need to be fixed up so that it will be hard to tell that anything was added.

Hey if your hand shrinks too much you could end up with multiple layers inside your band, giving you the world’s thickest band and not be able to touch your fingers together.

Calla Gold soldering a ring

Using Solder to Work on an Older Gold Ring

What is Normal Ring Sizing Like?

If you want a more in-depth explanation of normal gold and platinum ring re-sizing then read a previous blog post of mine, “Ring Sizing Explained.”

The Monetary Difference in Value

Simply put, gold and platinum are worth more than titanium or tungsten.  This is due to  Gold and Platinum being far more rare.  Your ring is a symbol of two peoples’ commitment to each other, but it is also an investment, one that may be passed down to your children.

I’ve had people tell me that they don’t see a point in buying a gold or platinum band because they require more maintenance.  If that is really a deal breaker than I ask you, why spend the time and money keeping your car clean and tuned up?  The upkeep on gold or platinum may be more costly than with titanium or tungsten, but in my opinion, it’s worth it.

What Your Wedding Band Means to You

Now, I understand that some people stress that a wedding band is a symbol of the bond shared between two people, and that the bond is what matters most.  I completely agree that the bond is the most important thing.  You may find yourself at a point in your life where you can’t afford a gold or platinum ring. Or perhaps you want to save on the ring because the dress or photographer needs that budgeted money.

Couple in Love in water, holding hands.

Cherishing Their Wedding Bands and Each Other

My photographer friends will kill me for this, but if I had to choose between the photography and my wedding ring, I’d spend the money on the wedding band, that tangible symbol of love that I wear everyday.

A friend of mine did chose great rings over a photographer and pre-made her food. She had a punch bowl at the sign-in book with disposable cameras in it and we all took pics.

Gold has a Long Tradition in Wedding Rings

Ultimately it’s a matter of tradition for engagement rings to be gold, and it’s a tradition that can be traced back to the time of the Romans in the second century B.C..  The Roman bride was given two rings, a gold one which she wore in public, and one made of iron, which she could wear at home while doing house chores.

There are some of you who don’t care for tradition, and that’s fine!  However, I believe that your wedding ring is the most important piece of jewelry you can own. It tells the world you are married. It tells your spouse everyday that you love them and are happy to share your life with them. I personally think that using a special, valuable metal is the way to go. There’s a reason we don’t wear plastic wedding bands.

Do I Hate Titanium or Tungsten?

No, I do not hate them. I think they’re fine on any finger but your wedding finger, or as back-ups if you are really worried about damaging your gold or platinum wedding band.

If you read the comments from my previous blog you’ll see some very pro-titanium folks have commented. This is my response, I hope it helps you in your decision making process for your wedding bands.

May Your Marriage Last a Lifetime 

Your Personal Jeweler,
Calla Gold

52 thoughts on “Titanium or Tungsten vs. Gold or Platinum Wedding Bands, Revisited

  1. Very interesting article Calla… I have personally always been a fan of gold bands! However I never knew that titanium and tungsten were so difficult to work with. Thanks again for your professional opinion on this.

  2. Another very informative article, Calla! I didn’t know about how titanium and tungsten couldn’t be sized. And having had to size my and my husband’s rings I can see that you want to have metal you can alter in your wedding rings. I definitely like the idea of following tradition too. I’ve had my white gold wedding ring for many, many years, and it still looks beautiful! You gave some great reasons for sticking with what we know works.

    Linda

    • Linda,
      Thank you for your story. I love how your white gold rings have lasted through your long marriage and changed with you.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  3. Thanks to this post I went back and read your “Don’t Buy Tunsten or Titanium Wedding Bands” post. Then I read the comments. It was at times most entertaining. I see why it was your biggest response post.
    Great post!!!!

    • Hi Tracey,
      I’m so pleased that you read the comments. They are something aren’t they? I’m glad you liked it. Tungsten and titanium are here to stay, just not on the wedding finger!
      Just stick to gold,
      Calla Gold

  4. Calla~ so interesting! My wedding band has had to be resized several times over the 31 years that I have been married. At one point, due to arthritis, I had to have my band cut off! Luckily it is gold and my jeweler was able to easily resize it! Originally, i bought my husband a wedding ring that was silver with turquoise- he broke it the first time he wore it to work. We replaced it with a gold band and have been very happy with that! I really appreciate your expertise!

    • Dear Brecia,
      Thank you so much for sharing your wedding rings story. It really speaks to the specialness of your rings! May your marriage and your rings go the distance!
      Calla Gold

  5. There are different grades of tungsten, rings can range from 10$-500$ depending on the grade.
    I’ve had a tungsten ring for 7 years, have dropped it, smashed it, and banged it on stuff with no problems.
    I bought tungsten because I work with heavy weights all day, and can wear it while I workout without worry.
    Cut, resize, solder? How is that symbolizing everlasting love.
    But, I’m not going to front, tungsten isn’t indestructible. This week I cracked my tungsten ring lifting a barbell with 300lbs up off the floor.
    Crack is hairline, and the ring is still wearable, and durable.
    Lifetime manufacturer warranty.
    30$ shipping, and a new ring is mine, but the same style.
    You buy cheap stuff, it’s what you get.
    but gold or platinum wouldn’t handle that kind of abuse.
    when I bought it, I got it a half size bigger knowing I’d get a little larger.

    • Hi James,
      I do tell my clients not to wear their gold or platinum rings while weight lifting. If you do want to wear your wedding band weight lifting you would want to wear an alternate metal ring like tungsten. It is good to be reminded of the different qualities of these alternate metals. And hearing how long you’ve lifted in yours is an interesting piece of information to me as well.
      You were smart too to get it a half size bigger.
      For me I’d still want to have a gold or platinum band vs titanium or tungsten so it could be sized not only by me but my kid or grandkid who inherited it. Seeing the meaning and pleasure that my clients who are re-sizing grandpa’s ring for themselves years later has moved me. The fact that it was worn for years by someone who loved them and is now theirs feels sacred to some. If they got an unsizable alternate metal ring it wouldn’t be the same.
      Thank you for sharing your perspective and keeping the conversation interesting.
      Gold Girl,
      Calla Gold

  6. That symbolizes everlasting love perfectly.

    Just wear the ring only when convenient, it’s too fragile to wear all the time.

    That’s exactly how I feel about my wife. A true symbolic ring would be the tungsten one I have, untarnishable, unscratchable, not necessarily intrinsically valuable to investors, but permanent and unchangeable and always with me no matter what I do.

    • Hi Joe,
      If I understand you correctly you love your wife everlastingly and it’s OK if your lasting symbol of love can’t be sized – changed.
      It is unchangeable for sure.
      I’m not trying to give you a hard time. I like where your heart is at.Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla Gold

  7. Hi Calla ,

    I went back and re read the previous blog, particularly the responses I posted that were uncalled for and rude . There’s never any excuse for bad manners and I seem to have broken that rule. Anyway, I had lost some weight and the titanium band that I really liked was too big . So I went to about four different Jewelers for sizing . Needless to say , the first four said ‘ why don’t you just buy another one ,’ and the last jeweler said titanium could possibly be stretched a tiny bit. End of story . Your words flooded my head like a tidal wave .. Long story short, the next day I went to Cartier and purchased a platinum band , a 750 yellow band and an iconic Cartier LOVE bracelet in 750 yellow . Oh and a tank watch, of course lol. Anyway I forgot how nice gold and platinum felt to wear again . Years ago I had a number of pieces from Tiffany , but when they started selling stainless steel jewelry and that other wonder metal crap I was done . Cartier is still old school , thank goodness . I guess you were right all along . I was defensive because I thought you were being a snob. I see now that was not the case. Those metals really are worthless . Naturally they can express sentiment . So can a cigar band .

    • Wow, Edward, I want to frame your comment. It is heartfelt and a wonderful changing of mind. I haven’t had one of my detractors share with me a comment so lovely as this. I am so happy to read this. I want to share it from the rooftops. Can you tell how happy I am?
      Well done going to Cartier, you’ll love your pieces that you chose.
      I do hope that your weight loss was purposeful and not the result of illness.
      You final cigar band reference tells me you must be a writer or in the leagues of the intellectuals, as it is perfect!
      Thank you for making my day good sir,
      Calla Gold

  8. I was married with a lovely platinum band which I wore for over fifteen years. Alas, with my increasing age, I wound up with arthritis in my hands and that lovely band whose weight was so enticing in the jewelry store became painful to wear. I swapped it out for a titanium band that I can barely feel on my hand. It’s not the metal, it’s the bond between me and my husband that matters to me.

    As to the history of gold, it truly is a time-honored metal that is traditional in wedding bands. Diamonds have become the traditional stone for engagement rings, mainly due to clever salesmen creating a market for them. I read the comments on the previous post, and I agree that any jeweler that says people shouldn’t buy titanium is trying to protect their own business. I could understand if you phrased your opinion as an opinion without trying to make titanium sound bad. Like saying, “I myself would never wear titanium because…” instead of trying to make it sound like titanium is dangerous and/or of no value.

    I, personally, found the platinum to be ultimately of no value. My ring size hasn’t changed since I was eighteen. I am now fifty-three. If I had gotten a titanium ring to begin with, I would still be wearing the ring my husband married me with.

    • Hi Pandra,
      I congratulate you for having arthritis and not having a change in finger size. You are right that titanium is significantly lighter in weight than platinum. If sensitivities were exacerbated by a weighty ring I can see that titanium would solve that problem.
      I wrote this post after my longer one “Don’t Buy Titanium or Tungsten Wedding Bands” received static for me being opinionated. I tried to be more cut and dried in my points this time.
      Thank you for taking the time to share your story and opinion.
      Loving Gold,
      Calla

  9. Thank you for your congratulations but I feel there are several problems with your opinion about titanium and with your permission, I will address what has troubled me about your blog and your comments. In order to focus the discussion, I will raise only one point at a time. I am not trying to get you to change your opinion about titanium-we all want what we want and love what we love. I would hope that you might think about my points and perhaps realize how hurtfully you have expressed yourself in acting like people who choose titanium are going for a “lesser” metal that is not suitable for a wedding ring.

    My first point is that you raise the question of value. You say, rightly, that gold and platinum cost more than titanium. It is worth pointing out that widespread knowledge of platinum is only a few hundred years old, that platinum was considered a nuisance because it could not be melted or worked, that it was not until the eighteenth century that platinum found some value in very limited industrial uses, and that it wasn’t until high-temperature jeweler’s torches were developed that platinum began to be used in jewelry. There is no long-standing tradition of platinum as being the metal of choice for wedding rings.

    Gold does have a longer history of use as wedding rings, but I would be interested to know your source that the Romans gave their wives gold wedding rings. Every historical source I have been able to find says that the Romans gave their wives IRON rings, and that the rings were not a sign of love but a symbol of ownership. It’s also worth pointing out that in ancient Ireland, gold was not prized for itself but for its origin. Gold from Ireland was not considered of much value compared to “magical” gold from Britain. Here’s a link. http://www.livescience.com/51126-prehistoric-ireland-gold-artifacts.html So while gold has been considered of value for thousands of years, it has not always been considered of value as money or something to be exchanged.

    In other words, gold was seen by some cultures to have value other than monetary value. Leaving out the opinion that monetary value is a wretched value to assign to a marriage, titanium can certainly match gold and platinum in symbolic value, and perhaps even beat them both. A marriage is supposed to be lasting, and durable, and able to go through tough times and endure. Titanium meets all of those qualifications better than gold or platinum, as it is a tougher and stronger metal that can stand up to life’s hard knocks better.

    Like I said, I’m not trying to change your mind about titanium. I’m hoping to change your mind about expressing yourself in a way that says that people who choose titanium are choosing a lesser metal that does not express love as well as gold or platinum. I’m hoping that you will think about the point I’ve raised here and perhaps realize you can extol gold and platinum without trashing titanium. I know, I know, you’ll say you’re not doing that. But look at the title of your blog post. You don’t say “Why I prefer gold and platinum to titanium.” You say “People shouldn’t buy titanium or tungsten bands.” That’s pretty judgemental, like buying titanium is doing something wrong. People are only told they shouldn’t do something when it is wrong.

  10. Why would you congratulate someone on having arthritis? In any case, I have a titanium band for an engagement ring and will graduate to tungsten for the wedding band. Gold and Platinum are all nice, showy, and expensive, but they are not as strong. I chose these two types of rings as a symbol of the strength of our love and union. I could honestly care less about traditional metals, their monetary value or its ability to be resized. If it doesn’t fit later on in life, I’ll simply wear it around my neck. Maybe you should write a blog about how we shouldn’t do that as well.
    Cheers from Santa Barbara

    • Hi Oscar,
      I know of people who are very excited about the strength of titanium and tungsten. Check out this recent article I was quoted in about a man who spent the night in the ER because they couldn’t get his titanium ring off:
      http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/08/13/432086018/titanium-rings-tough-to-crack-in-emergencies
      Gold and platinum are plenty strong enough if made right. I am re-sizing very many platinum and gold grandma’s and grandpa’s wedding rings for this new generation. These rings were worn and loved for decades. These rings mean so much to these young people.
      My blog is for people who care about the ability to change their rings as their fingers change size over their life and would like to be able to give them to their kids or grandkids. Not everyone cares about these things. If you do not then my blog post is not for you.
      Thanks for weighing in with your opinion.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla Gold

  11. Hi Calla!
    Thanks for your response and for the article – it was amusing to read. But you left one question, really the only one in my past post, unanswered.

    Why would you congratulate someone on having arthritis?

    • Hello Oscar,
      Glad I have amused you. I’m not sure what you are referring to when you reference my congratulating someone for getting arthritis. I do not recall doing this as getting Arthritis is not to be wished on anyone. My grandmother had Arthritis and it caused her pain and she hated how it made her hands look.
      Do quote the paragraph where you feel I am congratulatory to an Arthritis sufferer. I’ll edit it if it is communicating that view. That is not my intent in any way, shape or form.
      I hadn’t intended to be humorous for that matter Oscar. But my son regularly finds me clueless and laughable. Ah the joys of parenthood. It seems I have a gift.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla Gold

  12. Hi Calla,
    Here is what I reference. Your response to Pandra on June 25, 2015 at 6:10 am:

    “Hi Pandra, I congratulate you for having arthritis and not having a change in finger size.”

    – Oscar

    • Hello Oscar,
      The point of the sentence is to congratulate Pandra on having no enlargement of knuckles caused by her arthritis. All my previous clients who come to me with arthritis problems always had some sort of enlarged knuckles. I watched my grandmother with arthritis get larger knuckles. My life experience has been that arthritis causes enlarged knuckles. I congratulated her that this had not happened to her. I was in no way implying that she was to be congratulated for being an arthritis sufferer.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  13. A note on sizing titanium.

    A plain titanium band can certainly be sized up and down.

    It does however require skills more akin to a metalworker than jeweller.

    It can be stretched, but requires high temperatures.
    As for downsizing the same applies, but it can also be braised. Requiring an inert gas and possibly electroplating first.

    So machining out or pressing new inner sections in simply is not needed. Its just a matter of finding someone skilled in working it rather than butchering!

    If not a jeweller, search harder for a metalworker who creates pieces from titanium.

    Method might not work with duel-metal rings, as any gold inlays could melt. But leave that up to the metallurgical magicians 😉

    The trick is the molecular oxide layer that forms on its surface and its high working temp. Defeat those and it’ll do what you want.

    Obviously, a little more involved than gold that bends when you tell it to, but not hard for the right person.

    • Dear Alex,
      The data I have gotten from other wedding ring makers is that machine shop trained metal workers use these techniques to change titanium bands. To enlarge a titanium band they grind it out from the inner part. And to make it smaller they add in a thin inner band. I have heard not word that the metal can be worked with heat.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  14. Moslem male are prohibited in using gold jewelry, and platinum are way tooo expensive only the corrupted rich will buy them in my country. How about a cheaper option like palladium? Can u review it? 🙂 thx

    • Dear Mohdi,
      Thank you for letting me know about the prohibition of gold for a Moslem man.
      I do have on my blog calendar to review palladium. Thank you for reminding me that it is an option that needs a blog.
      The short version is that I’ve made a few items in palladium and I’m not a fan. As a jeweler I find it difficult to work with.
      When sizing and other work on it is done there is a risk of porosity (little pin holes in the surface of the palladium) and dark marks where the work on the ring has been done.
      If you buy palladium you’d want to know that there is a jeweler out there who can size it without leaving dark marks where the work was done or porosity spots. In other words if the jeweler successfully jumps through the hoops to make this ring you still need to worry about how it’ll look when repair work is done for the life of your ring.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  15. So your entire argument is that people should spend a bunch of money on gold because everyone else before them has done it?

    You must have a ton of money invested in gold (poor financial move, btw) or have some vested interest in the gold market… oh that’s right, you’re a jeweler.

    Next time I need to buy a car, I think I’ll go to the Ferrari dealership and ask one of their sales associates if I should choose their machine or a Toyota. I wonder what their advice will be…

    • Hi Not a Fool,
      I see that you feel strongly that gold is an extravagance over alternate metals.
      I think if you read my post you know how I feel about gold and platinum vs. titanium and tungsten as wedding jewelry.
      I don’t apologize for liking the historic perspective of using gold and platinum. But I am mindful that new technology and metals are here to stay.
      It’s not about the money. I want a metal that can be worked, fixed and sized. I also personally like the color of yellow and white gold more than titanium.
      I met yet another man who had ordered a tungsten ring and in the space of a year outgrown his wedding band due to his sportiness.
      He called me to size it because his wedding was in one week and he couldn’t get it on.
      He was not happy he’d never be able to use it.
      I told him they’d probably send him the right size. He said, “I don’t want this to happen again, I’m not switching wives and once I’m married I’m not switching rings.”
      He chose a white gold band.I’ve already re-sized it once.
      I wrote this so people will know about the sizing limitations.
      And to share my viewpoint.
      Thank you for sharing yours.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  16. Subjective reasoning, based on the title of the original article I was expecting to read they’ve been linked to heavy metal poisoning or something equally serious.

    I agree resizing is a nice feature, but overall I’d say it’s far less important than hardness. What is your opinion on cobalt chrome? It has the hardness of titanium/tungsten, the appearance of white gold/rhodium, is completely resizeable, and economical. The perfect ring metal?

    For preciousness, I’m not convinced. If gold is intrinsically precious, I’d expect 9, 14 and 18ct gold to be listed towards the titanium/tungsten end of the spectrum. The fact is we combine gold to remove the phyiscal properties of gold from the ring, because they are bad properties for a ring that’s worn on your hand every day to have. The useful properties, including why gold is historically valuable, are the appearance and inertness, but also the durability, which gold doesn’t have, which brings me back to cobalt chrome.

    • Hello Mike,
      You say that sizing is less important than hardness to you. As a jeweler who takes in a ton of resizing work weekly, my perspective is that sizing is a very important issue with wedding rings.
      You say cobalt chrome bands are completely sizable. I sell gold and platinum and not alternate metals. I’ve spent time now and again online trying to find out how they size cobalt chrome. It doesn’t look “completely sizable” to me. I found this statement on wedding bands dot com – “Resizing tungsten and titanium wedding bands is nearly impossible, but Cobalt Chrome wedding bands can tolerate slight sizing adjustments without adding or removing any metal.” If you are not adding or removing metal perhaps you are stretching the metal. Slight sizing adjustments suggests to me 1/2 a size. My guess is that you send in your size 8 ring and they send you a size 9 in the same style that is not the same ring. I call shenanagans on the claim that they are completely resizable.
      In the hardness department, hardness of metal can also be a negative if your hand is injured. As the harder the metal is the more challenging it is to remove in an emergency. I discuss this in this post:
      https://www.callagold.com/wedding-rings/titanium-vs-gold-for-wedding-bands/
      Cobalt chrome is more durable than gold, however I just like gold better, I like designing unique rings, I like being able to cast one of a kind designs. I like that gold can be worked, and changed and altered years later. That is my feeling.
      Cobalt chrome may be the perfect choice for you and if so more power to you. It would not be my choice.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

      • I’ve heard it suggested gold rings be repaired and replated as often as every 12 months. A ring that degrades without constant maintenance? I’d much rather look at mine and think about how it’s remained unchanged since our wedding day, even if our bodies have not.

        Getting into specifics, cobalt stretches to a full (US) size (everything-wedding-rings.com), compared to approx. 1.5 to 0.5 (US) sizes for common set stone or wide rings (ebay.com), cost considered. I don’t know the total change in size of the average wedding ring, including those that aren’t of course, but I’d be amazed if it’s more than a full US size up or down.

        Furthermore, how are the lost/replaced atoms in resizing different to those in the constant erosion/replating of gold? And speaking of loss, my Mum’s twice had her engagement diamond fall out from bent and worn claws. Fortunately it was found both times, but the fact remains hardness counts.

        Finger damage seems like an extreme scenario to factor for. Why not get a plastic ring in case you’re mugged? Rings can deglove fingers too, but that’s no reason to wear one made from meringue. If you’re hurt, take it off. If you weren’t quick enough, hospitals can remove them for you.

  17. Hi Calla, I just ran across your article on this issue while investigating about tungsten & titanium rings. I am also a custom jeweler & have been for over 30 years. I have never made nor dealt with these alternative metals before,primarily because I do not like their energy…it is my own peculiar premise to feel this way about it, but there that is. Another important reason for me is while they make attractive bands, I usually am involved with lost wax casting, or flat metal fabrication, which which I don’t see as a good method for these alternative metals.

    As for strength of precious metals, I have made 100s of both gold & silver rings for men & have yet to have one break that I know of…since I have a lifetime agreement to repair any item of jewelry I make for free, I can conclude that most of those rings are still functioning well. I have resized a few of my rings which I do at no cost for the silver ones & charge minimally to size up gold rings.

    I know it is impossible to convey a sentiment which is attached to a piece of jewelry, especially one which has been handed down, but I have also done probably more than 300 remakes using either silver or gold from one family member to another, to be able to make them into something which can be worn again & enjoyed by the new recipient is an amazing process….:-} What you said is true, the gold ( or silver for that matter) is usable time after time. Mike needs to do a bit more research about gold ‘degrading’ & who in the world would choose to have ‘gold plated’ rather than the real thing, even at 10k or 9k, the ‘value’ is still there. He might be confusing ‘re-plating’ with simple re-polishing…2 entirely different animals.

    I admire your tenacity with this blog, I can see where many people will still unaccountably speak down to you about it with the thought that you are more interested in the ‘cost mark-up’ on material than you are for the beauty you create, but in my mind, nothing could be further from the truth. When we custom create for others, we want it to engender different feelings, we want it to inspire, we want it to last forever…:-}

    I thank you very much for writing this article because it gave me information to ask some relevant questions of my clients who wish me to make rings from these alternative metals.

    ***Just a post note here; prior to coming to your site I had read that while titanium is ‘pretty much’ hypoallergenic, not so with tungsten, that some people do react to the cobalt in it, even the high grade tungsten.

    Sincerely grateful,
    Penni

    • Dear Penny,
      I just finished reading your story of looking into alternate metals and I appreciate the detail you used. It is really nice to get your acknowledgement of the information just as information.
      Your passion for the custom pieces you create and the clients you serve is one I share.
      I hadn’t known about the cobalt in tungsten and that some people react to it. Since I just work with silver, gold and platinum, which I love so much, I find that new data that will no doubt add to the thread of comments.
      Thank you Penny,
      Calla

  18. Penni (or Calla) are white gold rings not plated with rhodium? Gold is extremely soft and has to be maintained.

    I brought up lower carat golds because I believe your logic is inconsistent. Correct me at any stage if I’m wrong, but if precious metal rings are “superior” to non-precious metal then the amount of precious metal has to matter. If it doesn’t, then where is the crossover point between precious and not? If 9ct, 18ct, or 24ct are all equal in their “superiority” to new metals, what about 8ct? Or 7? What if I had a custom 0.5ct gold ring made? Or bought a titanium ring and had it rhodium plated? Does that tiny amount move it from the “inferior contemporary metal” category to “superior precious metal”? When does a precious metal ring stop being a precious metal ring?

    My point is it’s a sliding scale, not binary. So if you truly believe precious metals are superior for their monetary value and historical significance then you must also believe 9ct is less so than 18 or 24ct, because to believe otherwise is cherry-picking. However because that’s clearly a ridiculous, materialistic and impractical view to hold, it must follow that a ring’s composition affects nothing more than its physical properties, and that it’s for those properties that people are turning to contemporary metals.

    I’ll finish by saying that, of course, the ability to be worked into intricate or custom designs is a property precious metals have that most contemporary metals don’t. However, it’s also not a property that people who are buying contemporary metal rings are interested in. Seeing cheaper or stronger alternatives appeals to them, so trying to convince people that they’re a “lesser” choice is disingenuous.

    • Dear Mike,
      I’m not sure who you are refering to as Penni, maybe an earlier commenter. If you love the simple appeal of the spare design of alternate metal by all means go forth. You will probably at some point years from now no longer be able to wear it because your finger size may change. But if neither of these is a concern for you then go alternate metal.
      I love gold, minimum 14kt thank you very much. As a jeweler, a jewelry lover, specifically a gold lover and a blogger, I blog based on my observations and preferences.
      You bring up interesting points. I think you are a philosopher and would be fun to arguefy about things over a good meal.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  19. I’ve been married for almost ten years and I’ve never experienced this finger size changing you’re speaking of, I don’t wear jewelry to bed so I fail to see how my hand would swell up in the middle of the night, I love the fact that my Titanium ring is unique and fits my personality which is a bit darker/rougher/dry/straightforward; while my relationship like most are not all pretty and poetic so I feel my dark titanium band symbolizes not just the strength of my relationship but also the fact that real marriages are not in fact fairytales but a wide array of experiences that temper you and test each others dedication in each tough time such as deaths/career instability, plus I’m not what you would call a vanilla man that lives in a vanilla marriage.

    • Hello Bryan,
      It’s true that after ten years of marriage your finger may still be the same size. If you haven’t gained weight or had other issues like a sports injuries, etc. that cause fingers to change ten years can go by without finger size changes. After twenty or thirty years, size change becomes more likely to occur. However it’s not written in stone that your finger will change sizes. I have just observed it to be so with many men and women.
      I know what you mean about a marriage being challenged with changes and ups and downs. I’ve been married a long time and have experienced non-vanilla experiences that tested my and my husbands committment to each other. I’d say going through those tough times together deepens your love.
      I once made a custom wedding ring with roses and thorns, because as my clients said, “Love hurts.”
      You seem very happy with your alternate metal choice. I personally am happy with my gold choice which is pretty and sparkly with some diamonds and reflects for me the brightness of love that lasts through the good and the bad.
      Thanks for sharing your views on titanium.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  20. I am going with titanium because I am allergic to nickel and I can’t afford platinum.

    • Hi Carla,
      For the record you can request nickel free white gold. We cast this combo regularly. It can be sized in the years to come. You might consider it.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  21. I had no idea that titanium rings could not be easily resized. It is important to remember that taking the time to do some research and understand how titanium works and what it can be used for can help you choose the best one. Personally, I would also want to consult with a professional in order to find the best quality titanium for my needs.

    • Hi Marcus,
      Thanks for writing. I wrote this because I have not beef with titanium as a ring for any finger but the wedding finger.
      Yesterday I was contacted by a guy who has been married for about five years. His ring was too large and he’d almost lost it a few times and hadn’t worn it for a while and his wife didn’t like that. He and his wife spent a lot of time figuring out what his ring should be like.
      They were upset that he hadn’t been sized properly to begin with. But always assumed that when they got around to it they could have it sized. It was fairly expensive as rings go. It was a rose gold and titanium inlay on the top ring.
      I was sad to have to tell someone who spent much design time and care that their ring can’t be sized. The quality of the titanium was excellent. But it still couldn’t be sized.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  22. Hello,
    Titanium can be resized, I do resize titanium rings all the time.
    It’s easier to resize them to larger size but it is possible to make them a smaller.
    It’s just a matter of having the knowledge and experience in working with the exotic aerospace alloy.
    As far as removing a stuck ring. Any ring can become stuck. There are tricks that can be used to remove a stuck ring without cutting it. And of course the titanium can be cut. Gold is great but, I am not a fan of Tungsten Rings.

    • Hello Dan,
      As far as sizing titanium goes. Here’s what I have been told, you cannot heat work titanium as a jeweler. You can add in a circular piece of metal to make it feel smaller. However it now makes it thicker. You can in a metal shop setting grind out some of this inside to make it a little bid larger. Neither of these actions is something I’d do as a jeweler. Both of these actions are not ‘sizing’ by the jeweler’s definition. When we size a ring, we heat it, open it and make a new piece and add it in and close it to enlarge and cut a tiny piece and close it to make it smaller. That is why when a client inherits a gold ring size 4.5 I can size it to an 8.
      I believe that what you are calling ‘sizing’ is only offered for a size down at the most by adding a piece of metal inside, or sizing up by at most one size by grinding the interior. Grinding and adding a thickening piece of metal does not pass my definition of sizing.
      Yes titanium can be cut, however it takes a rotary (electric) ring saw with a sharp saw blade to remove titanium. I can saw by hand gold and platinum. Not all emergency rooms are equiped with sharp saw blades or electric rotary ring saws. They are supposed to be equiped, but supposed to does not guarantee your finger’s safety. See my blog about being quoted by NPR on their scary article on a titanium ring removal:
      https://www.callagold.com/jewelry-problems/npr-quotes-calla-gold-on-titanium-ring-removal/
      I know there are methods of ring removal out there, I talk about them in this post:
      https://www.callagold.com/all-about-rings/ring-removal/
      However, there are times when because of swelling etc, that you cannot get the ring off. Then you’d wish you had gold or platinum as I sawed it off easily.
      Here are pictures of the simple tools I can use on gold and platinum:
      https://www.callagold.com/jewelry-repair/sawing-off-rings/
      Titanium is much more difficult to remove. My hand held ring saw could never remove a titanium ring.
      For our comment readers I wanted to respond to each of your claims. I do feel strongly about gold and platinum being more appropriate as choices for wedding rings.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  23. Awesome post. Thanxx for the info. I couldn’t make up my mind but now I have. Gold all the way! =)

    • Dear Peachiz,
      I’m so happy that you got the info and it helped. I applaud your gold choice. I’ve been married 38 years and as I look down on my wedding finger, there is gold and some bling and I love it.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  24. Bravo on your information and point of view. I have never understood why a fine jewelry store would lower the bar to sell non precious metals in their store. We should all be selling the finest metals and gems that we can. The two things you take with you after your wedding day are the memories and your wedding rings. They should both be the as precious as possible.

    • Hello Phil,
      I totally agree with you. It makes me think of a recent grad student client of mine, Mark. He found me on YELP and called to ask me if I could size his grandpa’s wedding band which his dad gave him, when Mark said he wanted to propose to his girlfriend. His grandpa’s band was a size 13. Grandpa worked with cement and if you want to see big fingers, look at a cement mason. Anyway, the ring had banged up engraving on it and needed to be sized to a 7.
      We sized it down and re-engraved the whole thing in the style of the original engraving. It looked brand new. This wonderful old wedding band had lasted for 70 years of marriage. It was 14kt yellow gold. It was still going strong. We’re now designing the wedding band to go with the engagement ring I made for his fiance Trisha, out of his grandma’s engagement ring.
      What are we using? We’re using 14kt yellow gold. We’re doing a single casting so we can put in gold from his grandma’s ring.
      The memories and love connected with wedding rings is strong. This continuation of love through the generations never would have happened if grandpa and grandma used alternate metals.
      This is fine jewelry and wedding jewelry deserves to be made of fine metals.
      I thank you for your viewpoint as a jeweler that we should honor fine metals in the most important rings we’ll ever have.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

      • Yeah, and he paid an exorbitant price for it too. I would have told him to go to amazon and buy a nice tungsten carbide ring in his size for $20. Looks just the same as white gold.

        • Hi Anthony,
          My comments do not come to me nested by what comment you are replying to. Since there are 46 comments I’m not sure who you are referring to who paid too much for their ring.
          Thank you for visiting the blog.
          Your Personal Jeweler,
          Calla

  25. Calla,I have read your article about titanium wedding rings but I can not find anything about having only the crown made of titanium. On out last cruise to Alaska I bought my wife of 51 years a new diamond ring setting, Did not buy a diamond just the diamond setting, they said that the crown was made of titanium. I went to s jeweler in the Houston area to but the diamond stone to put into this setting, he said that he would suggest that we replace the titanium crown with a white gold crown. he said that the white gold is better than titanium to support the diamond in this setting.
    The question that I have is he correct or is he just trying to get me to pay for a new crown?

    • Dear Ed,
      There is no such thing as a titanium prong setting.
      Titanium styledotcom says:
      “Titanium cannot be made into a ring with a prong setting because of the way the metal is manufactured. Rather than shaping the metal into a ring like other metals, titanium rings are cut directly from a sheet of metal.”
      My guess is the poorly informed salesperson meant it had a platinum head setting for the center gemstone.
      My guess is the Houston jeweler has never seen a titanium setting and doesn’t trust it. I’d establish exactly what the diamond setting is made of by going to an appraiser and once you know the correct metal have a new conversation with the Houston jeweler.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

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