Tungsten Carbide Wedding Bands: So Tough, They’re Brittle

Jennifer got married a little over a year ago. Her marriage is still going strong, but the stunning tungsten carbide ring that she bought for her husband? Shattered when he dropped it on the floor. Wait…isn’t that supposed to be a modern material that’s not just black and shiny, but also tough and strong? Yes. But that strength actually makes the material brittle, and it can’t handle direct impacts…like being dropped on the floor.

Jennifer wrote to Consumerist:

I just wanted to send you my story as a warning to those who may be looking to purchase a wedding ring.

I gave my husband a tungsten wedding ring when we were married in June 2011. I purchased this ring because he liked the design and Jared’s website clearly says that it is, “prized for its strength and durability”. That made me feel confident with the purchase.

Then 2 days ago my husband dropped his ring on the floor and it broke into 2 large pieces and 1 small. We were shocked and called up Jared’s who said to bring it into one of their stores. When we did the guy said “oh yeah these break all the time” and said he could get us a replacement but couldn’t say how much it would cost, just that there’d be a “shipment fee”. Since we didn’t have much other choice and buying an entirely new ring would cost too much money, we decided to get a replacement sent to us.

I am really disappointed that Jared’s is selling these rings claiming they are strong and durable and then later admitting that they break. How long is this replacement going to last? How many times will it break in the next 5-10-20 years? How often will I have to pay Jared’s for this poorly crafted wedding ring?

Mr. Jennifer isn’t alone. One groom’s tungsten carbide ring shattered at his wedding reception when his hand hit the ground while he was dancing. Others have shattered when dropped on the floor, like Mr. Jennifer’s band. One jeweler made this instructional video to show customers why they shouldn’t drop their tungsten rings:

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. keith4298 says:

    Just so we are clear, is the OP upset at the store for not telling her about how strong products are brittle or with physics, for you know – existing?

    • SirWired says:

      It’s not much of a stretch for the OP to equate “durable” with “able to withstand a reasonable amount of use.” Jared didn’t confine their ad to “scratch resistant”; mentioning it was brittle might have been a good idea.

      There are plenty of strong materials that are not brittle… so one does not automatically mean the other.

    • longfeltwant says:

      No, actually, the OP is upset at the store for advertising the ring as “strong and durable” when in fact it is “neither strong enough nor durable enough to withstand dropping on the floor, as even a plastic lollypop ring could withstand”. Is the difference between those two descriptions sufficiently clear for you to understand the complaint? If not I can try to make it even more clear.

      • SBR249 says:

        Speaking from a purely technical perspective, the ring is both “strong and durable” based on the definition of those two words when used in accordance with physics and economics (no durable isn’t used in physics).

        Strength in physics as applied to material science can mean many types of strengths but most commonly tensile or compression strengths. In both cases, tungsten carbide is considered very strong in that it take a tremendous amount of force to either pull it apart or compress it and make it smaller. Brittleness is technically not considered a measurement of strength.

        As for durable, in economics, a durable good (as opposed to a consumable good) is one that has utility over time. Considering a ring won’t gradually disappear over time as you wear it, I’d say it’s a durable good.

        So what the OP is really upset about is the fact that the jeweler failed to mention the other not-so-desirable physical properties of this new-fangled material, which is that it’s extremely brittle (as is a lot of things with very high hardness like tungsten carbide). For this, while I think the jeweler should have warned them, the OP is also somewhat at fault for not doing proper research. This isn’t a defect with the ring or workmanship, but an inherent property of the material and the information is widely available.

        You wouldn’t buy an SUV without research its fuel efficiency (if you cared about gas expenses) as just you shouldn’t buy jewelry with exotic materials until you know all the relevant properties of that material.

        • Jerry 101 says:

          This is advertising and retail. What’s true in physics (or in econ) doesn’t matter here. It’s just jargon to the flock.

          The op’s only mistake is in thinking that businesses care enough about customers not to screw them over at every opportunity. Now the op knows.

        • cactus jack says:

          “You wouldn’t buy an SUV without research its fuel efficiency (if you cared about gas expenses) as just you shouldn’t buy jewelry with exotic materials until you know all the relevant properties of that material.”

          I think this is more of a “You shouldn’t buy… without research.”
          I’m thinking most people walking into a jewelry store are more concerned with the, “Oooh, shiny/pretty” effect. But whatever, even I knew tungsten carbide was brittle.

      • Mambru says:

        As my materials professor said every day.” As Strength goes up ductily come down” i never thougth I will be using something I learned in college. thanks interwebs

    • MaytagRepairman is stealing socks while fixing your dryer. says:

      She should be angry at her husband. He obviously doesn’t love her if he let his ring fall on the floor.

      /s

      • El_Fez says:

        Clearly he doesn’t love her – he took off the ring. Doesn’t that instantly nullify the union?

    • daemonaquila says:

      One normally would expect a ring to withstand a drop or being hit on something. Unless it’s made of glass or something that is KNOWN BY MOST PEOPLE to be fragile, the seller should warn people that this is not a good material to knock about, and should not claim that it is durable – a word that normally means able to withstand normal drops, shocks, hits, etc. with ease.

      • dwtomek says:

        It sucks that a lack of knowledge on material science screwed her on this. While Jared’s description of the material as strong and durable is fair on a technical level, they should also be aware that the knowledge base necessary to actually understand those terms as they apply to jewlery is likely to not be present in a large selection of their clientele. It is a little ironic though. Generally we expect the machine to give words new definitions to words to fool us consumers, not use accurate technical terms to fool those of us who have assigned our own definitions to the words.

  2. kfrankl3 says:

    The jewelers are semi-correct in the statement that tungsten carbide is extremely strong, but very brittle (this is correct of most carbides), the caveat is that the jewelers should mention the brittle natures of a carbide to their customers. This situation is much the same as stating glass is very strong, it is. But we see it break all the time as it is very brittle. Also it should be noted that the term strength is ambiguous as it is not rigorously defined but conventionally refers to the Young’s modulus.

  3. Panzer_Meyer says:

    Sucks for the OP to waste money at Jared. You can get a ring just like that on Amazon for $30.

    • longfeltwant says:

      Seriously! She paid three hundred dollars (with tax and shipping, rounded up) for that? On the same page, Jared is selling steel rings — for a hundred dollars! A HUNDRED DOLLARS! That is TWENTY TIMES too much! Here’s a steel ring for $7!

      http://www.amazon.com/High-Polished-Stainless-Steel-Wedding/dp/B0033CS2FM

      Jeez, I’m totally with the OP for complaining about false advertising, but I simply can’t scrape any pity out of the bottom of my empathy jar, for a woman with such incredibly poor consumer skills.

      • dwtomek says:

        So she should do research as far as price comparison goes, but when it comes to appraising the intrinsic values of the product itself… no research necessary? The advertising was accurate, though perhaps intentionally misleading.

      • evilpete says:

        I paid $100 with $30 replacementments for life ( including shipping and engraving)

        Shopping around after a found the same ring for $35 else where.

  4. dpeters11 says:

    Unfortunately there are pros and cons to each metal.They should have touted more the durability and scratch resistance than strength though.

    I wonder what the shipment fee was? That really bothers me, it’s almost like giving them a blank check.

    • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

      Yes, that bothered me too. I would not have authorized the replacement without knowing exactly what I’d be paying. At some point, depending on the shipping, it makes sense to just get a different style ring. I know there’s sentimental value, but when he looks at that ring, does he now think “oh, how enduring our love is”, or “I hope I don’t bump my hand on the fridge door when I’m getting the milk out”?

  5. grendyll says:

    I got mine (same brand) from an online retailer. Triton offers a warranty against defects, but this online retailer offered a lifetime no-questions-asked warranty, less S&H. When mine cracked, I received a new one for something like $20 shipping.

    OP may want to check directly with Triton, see if the manufacturer’s warranty will cover it.

    http://tritonjewelry.com/fit-for-life-guarantee.shtml

  6. bsalamon says:

    It may be a bit more expensive, but you can get a nice white gold band with a design that will last significantly longer, and will probably appreciate in value.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      Many people go Tungsten because the husband has a job that would not permit wearing a gold band to work. My husband is a mechanic, a gold band would be destroyed (but still whole I guess) after 6 months. On top of that gold is extremely conductive. He’s had his Tungsten ring for over 2 years and not a scratch on the thing, it’s wonderful.

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        I would also much rather a band that shatters like this, than a gold or titanium band that degloves my finger.

  7. Blueskylaw says:

    “Jared’s website clearly says that it is, “prized for its strength and durability”

    Iron is also praised for it’s strength and durability, but that doesn’t mean it is
    suitable as wedding band material.

    • daemonaquila says:

      It also means that Jared and other jewelers should not be selling wedding rings made out of either of those materials, unless it features a disclaimer about the problems you’ll have with that material.

  8. Red_Eye says:

    I’ve had mine for 5 years, I have dropped it, hit it with a hammer, nothing has phased it. Maybe there is a difference in the tempering or alloys used between brands (mine was a Kay one not a $10 buy.com one). But yes carbide shatters, if you look into removing rings from people who have been injured, Gold gets cut, Carbide gets shattered, Titanium get cut. (source: http://www.titaniumstyle.com/titanium_tungsten_ring_cut-off.htm )

    • Raekwon says:

      Kay’s = Jared’s. They are a different name for the same jeweler. Triton also makes the tungsten rings for multiple jewelers. But yes you are correct. People wear tungsten specifically because it doesn’t need to be cut off in case of an emergency. A lot of jobs don’t allow gold or the softer metals.

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        Just google ring degloving. Disgusting and scary. Plus, these rings are like $30 on Amazon – easy to replace. Not so easy to replace a finger!

        • HogwartsProfessor says:

          No thanks, I’ve been blessed with a vivid and detailed imagination. *shudder*

    • Platypi {Redacted} says:

      Hey, thanks for the ring cut-off link. I have a titanium ring (which I like much better than the gold one I got when I got married, that one wore out) and people always say that “they will have to cut off your finger if you have an emergency!” Nice to have a place to show/reference for that.

      Titanium rings are good for doing the bottle opener trick, I wonder if the Tungsten ones would just snap?

      • josephbloseph says:

        Depends on what the bottle opener trick is. I use my tungsten carbide ring to open bottles all the time. I have a steel ring with a bottle opener built into it, and it has scratches. Not a scratch on the tungsten carbide.

  9. MickeyG says:

    Wow, that’s actually really interesting. I know when I got married in 2007 it was being pushed a lot, but I didn’t like that it couldn’t be cut off if something happened. Never once saw anything about it shattering if dropped.

    I would not have liked not being given the shipping charge though…. I like all the facts before I agree to something where I need to pay out of pocket!

    • jvanbrecht says:

      More to the point.. it is a ring.. what shipping charge.. shove it in a padded envelope and mail it (insurance is a cost of doing business and should not be directly charged to the customer).. so at most.. shipping should be like $5….

      • crispyduck13 says:

        Most likely it’s a shipping charge from China where they buy their “premium” POS tungsten rings.

        • ChuckECheese says:

          There’s probably a lot of tungsten sitting around in China these days now that we’re moving on to CFLs from incandescents.

    • GitEmSteveDaveHatesChange says:

      It may not be able to be cut, like gold, silver, titanium, etc… but there are countless videos on youtube that show you how it can be removed with a pair of vicegrips squeezing.

  10. Thyme for an edit button says:

    I’d EECB it and see where that gets you on that whole shipment fee thing. It is pretty deceptive of them to call a material “prized for its strength” when it is known the material shatters when dropped a few feet.

    If that doesn’t work, leave them bad reviews and take your business elsewhere. We got custom silver rings from a metalsmith on Etsy for less than $200 for each ring. Haven’t had any problems and the rings are unique.

  11. jvanbrecht says:

    I have a tungsten ring, I have dropped it, smashed it on many occasions (I mountain bike, so the ring has hit trees and rocks on a semi regular occasions). I also do alot of home improvements and the ring has been smashed against concrete, tile, drywall, wood and against other metals like hammers and power tools.. Still going strong with no problems.

    I also purchased it from a ring website, not an expensive jeweler, but also not a cheap amazon/ebay site. I think it cost me around $150 including shipping and I believe a lifetime warranty.

    I suspect the OP’s ring is probably subpar and over priced (I do not trust many of the large jeweler chains). I suggest she cost her losses there and go find a place that has nice rings, at a reasonable price.. the Gem Shows that travel around the country are a good place to look.

  12. Red_Eye says:

    Another thing, the one in the picture broke at the cut in angled line, perhaps this styling created a weak point. The one in the video we cant see. Mine is smooth finish. (and sz 14)

  13. BlkSwanPres says:

    I got mu Tungsten wedding band off of ebay for $10 shipped, in every way identical to the $150 band they had at Zales. I have dropped mine many times from similar heights, never broke.

    • jvanbrecht says:

      I do not really consider $150 an expensive ring (although $10 would have been nice heh).. Mine is tungsten with silver inlay.. so it was a little more expensive then the plain tungsten bands… Gold was never an option, neither my wife nor I like it (she likes white gold though), so it worked out nice and cheap.. unlike her white gold engagement bands which cost a fortune (second one was to repurpose an inherited piece of yellow gold and diamonds that broke, so we reused the diamonds).

  14. dane_frandsen says:

    Funny enough, this is the exact reason my wife bought tungsten for her “work” wedding ring. She works as an field engineer and wanted something that would break off if it got caught on any machinery.

  15. cosmic.charlie says:

    The headline is misleading. It really should read: “… Wedding bands: So Hard, They’re Brittle.” Toughness doesn’t have a direct effect on how brittle the material is.

  16. blinky says:

    She bought wedding rings at a mall jewelry store?

    • SirWired says:

      Why not? Jewelery stores exist to sell jewelery, and wedding bands is one of the things they sell.

      I’m personally not a big fan, but obviously they do enough business that there are lots of them. It’s silly to fault the OP for going to one. Not every town has a good independent jeweler… while the help is usually more knowledgeable, the prices aren’t necessarily good.

    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

      Quelle horreur!!!! (Cluctches pearl necklace and swoons.)

    • who? says:

      Lots of people buy wedding rings at mall jewelry stores. In this price range, where else are they going to go? Target?

  17. VintageLydia says:

    My husband has one of these rings and when we got it, Jared was really really clear about how it can shatter. But my husband has hobbies that would make gold and other materials inconvient at best, dangerous at worst, so he’s just careful with it. He still dirt bikes and mountain bikes and does other things that smack it around but I’m guessing since its still on his hand, his finger absorbs a lot of the impact.

  18. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    A) This has been true of tungsten-carbide rings forever. Having talked to salesmen when looking for a ring (and doing research) I discovered this myself. They don’t chip or crack when hit on your finger, but they do not handle falls well.

    B) I recommend buying them from Amazon rather than Jarod or another jeweler. Why? Because they are dirt cheap. Jared will charge you $2-300 or more for a ring you can get for $40.

    C) But Jared guarantees their rings for life, you say? Well, obviously this article demonstrates the limits of lifetime guarantee – namely the shipping charge, Further, why pay an extra $200 for a guarantee on something for cheap to begin with? Would you buy a $200 insurance policy on a $40 toaster?

    • Blueskylaw says:

      “Would you buy a $200 insurance policy on a $40 toaster?”

      That depends on if I think it’s a good value or not and how
      hard Sears is pushing warranties that day.

  19. dolemite says:

    I’ve seen these rings going for like $10. I thought about one, but I didn’t like the thickness/weight of it. I also thought about titanium (now titanium is really cool), but titanium scratches easily supopsedly. Ended up with a regular white-gold ring.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      You can get band the same size of a white-gold band for $10, too.

      • crispyduck13 says:

        Cheap ass thin white gold bands are $80 most places, and that was 2 years ago so tack on another 10%.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          I meant the tungsten bands. Thinner tungsten bands for super cheap.

    • CajunGuy says:

      Mrs. CajunGuy (CajunGal, I guess we’ll call her) and I went with titanium wedding bands. They do get scratched up, but I think it actually adds to the charm of the rings. They’re ridiculously light, to the point that it doesn’t take long before you forget they’re there.

      CajunGal doesn’t like gold at all. That made picking out an engagement/wedding ring challenging. I thought about silver or white gold, but I just never could find anything that was different but not gaudy or hellaspensive. Then I stumbled upon titanium and was hooked. Her engagement ring is a titanium band with a diamond in what’s called a tension set. Basically, the band is cut and a diamond is stuck in the crack (that sounds really bad now that I think about it, heh). It’s held in place by the tension of the band itself. Anyway, she loved it. She can’t wear both on the same finger, since each ring is about 6mm thick, so she wears her band on her left hand and engagement on her right.. They’re scratched up from use and abuse, but she loves them and no one around us has anything like her engagement ring. Oh, and the engagement ring cost me about $300 (because of the diamond, basically) and the band, back then, were $100 for the set.

      • GitEmSteveDaveHatesChange says:

        Where did you get your ring? I always recommend http://www.titaniumrings.com/ , because they are very economical, and make a Abyss replica ring, and are one of the few companies that does outside engraving.

        • CajunGuy says:

          Heh, funny you say that. That’s where I got all three rings. And our wedding bands? The Abyss rings. Fracking mind reader.

          I did inside engraving on my wife’s engagement ring.

          • GitEmSteveDaveHatesChange says:

            They really are the best. I always recommend them to people. I bought three rings through them, two Abyss(I lost ~80lbs, and my old one literally flew off my finger, so I ordered a smaller one. I keep the original around my neck on a chain.) for me and one for the now Ex, which was a plain band with “I [heart symbol] you” engraved on the outside twice around the circumfrence. The hardest part was describing what I wanted to them, but once they understood, it was in my hands within a week or so.

        • CajunGuy says:

          FYI, this is the engagement ring.

          http://www.titaniumrings.com/titanium-womens-rings/tension-settings/facia-tension.html

          There seem to be many more styles now than there were back then. We’ve been married for over 6 years now, so a lot has changed I suppose. Prices have come down, too, it seems. Might look into getting us “replacement” bands one of these days; something a little fancier than just the plain Abyss rings.

          • HogwartsProfessor says:

            That’s cool. I always thought if I got an engagement ring, I’d want one that didn’t have a solitaire sticking up. I’m liable to knock it off just doing regular stuff. I lost a tiger eye out of a ring that way. Really pissed me off because I loved that ring.

          • GitEmSteveDaveHatesChange says:

            I always planned on getting the next Future-Ex-Mrs. GitEmSteveDave the Isis. My Mom drilled the marquis cut into my head. http://www.titaniumrings.com/isis.html

  20. polishhillbilly says:

    I have a tungsten carbide ring from amazon. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001FBCOIY/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i00

    I paid $5 in 2009 for it.
    It has been dropped, smashed with a hammer, bathed in motor oil/transmission fluid/rear end fluid, and lost in the yard for a few weeks.
    Nothing at all has happened to it.

  21. Captain Spock says:

    What the hell? Seriously, I am looking for Wedding Bands now and ALL i am seeing is this Tungsten Carbide.

    • Blueskylaw says:

      With gold being VERY expensive, jewelers need something to make up the profit difference from lost business. Tungsten costs around $35 per one kilogram, or about 99.4 cents per ounce. Gold costs around $1557 dollars per ounce. See where this is going?

  22. longfeltwant says:

    “buying an entirely new ring would cost too much money”

    My ring, made of titanium, cost three hours’ wages, perhaps up to a day’s pay if you make minimum wage. A steel band can be had for single dollars. If the shipping costs more than a dinner for two at McDonald’s, then I’d tell Jared to stuff it.

  23. sevenfoxes says:

    When I was ring shopping, most places really played up the hardness of Tungsten Carbide. “Oh look! This one is a 1400 on the hardness scale where gold is only a 150 or something!”

    But then I went to the shane company. I told them I was sold on the Tungsten Carbide because of the scratch resistance and they asked me what I thought about the shattering issue… I said. “What shattering issue?” and then the sales rep went back and pulled out a bag of broken rings. I can’t believe no one told me about that sooner. I bought a cobalt ring instead, ultimately I went to a different company though because I wasn’t crazy about shane co.’s designs/price.

  24. celinesci says:

    I got my husband a tungsten carbide ring from Overstock for $40, he beats it up, drops it, and even uses it to open beers. We’ve never had issues with the ring.

  25. scoutermac says:

    When my wife and I went to Kay Jewelers to look at wedding bands we looked at these rings. We were then told by the sales associate that these rings would shatter if dropped.

  26. RandomLetters says:

    A little off topic but… My grandparents on my father’s side got married right after the depression when he returned home from being on a CCC crew. My grandfather managed to scrape up enough money for my grandmother a small wedding ring but there wasn’t enough for him one. Years later while working in the oilfield he took a stainless steel nut and made a wedding ring from it using just a file, sandpaper and a lot of time (my grandfather had infinite patience). Almost 70 years later now that ring hangs from a chain around my neck. Its got a few small dings but its still as bright and shiny as the day he made it.

    • Kaleey says:

      awww…

      Infinite patience is right – I’ve taken rough brass to a shine with sandpaper and polishing wheels – I can’t imagine how long stainless steel would take.

      On another note – I considered titanium for our wedding bands (me & Mr.) but I planned on wearing my engagement ring with my wb so I wanted them to match. Hubby has 10K plain gold band, and mine is 14K and plain as well.

  27. GitEmSteveDaveHatesChange says:

    Ever since I got my first ring from them, I have always liked http://www.titaniumrings.com/ . They are a pleasure to deal with, did outside engraving, and pretty economical.

  28. iblamehistory says:

    Wow, I didn’t know about this. We were married in November of 2008 and we decided on identical, plain tungsten bands, ordered from a website for about $60 each I think. We’re extremely simple and I am not very, should I say, “girly.” I didn’t want anything fancy or expensive. My husband plays guitar and we wanted something he could wear and not scratch up. I just wanted an identical ring that wouldn’t cause a financial catastrophe if it were to get lost.

    Going on 4 years now, we’ve had no problems with breakage or scratches. I sometimes bang it on things just for… fun? I don’t know, it’s probably annoying, but I’m easily amused and I like the sound! Maybe I’ll stop doing that, I’d rather not have to spend another $60 just for my own stupidity.

  29. sweaterhogans says:

    This seems peculiar. My husband and I have tungsten rings (bought from Amazon. Why the F would you spend 10x the amount at “Jared”?!) We both have dropped our rings a number of times, and there is not so much as a scratch on it. I’m thinking that mine is actually 100% tungsten and the breaking ones are not.

  30. BBG says:

    Okay, materials science PhD here, so I’m not just talking out of my ass (on this matter)…

    Tungsten carbide (WC) is NOT a metal. It is a ceramic. Like all ceramics, it’s brittle. Now, WC is less brittle than some other ceramics, but it still is classified as a brittle material, with a toughness far lower than most metals.

    As for titanium, it’s actually pretty soft, which is why Ti rings scratch easily. Titanium nitride, OTOH, which is the material used to coat ‘titanium’ drill bits, it actually quite hard. And gold coloured. Might make a nice ring…

    • dangermike says:

      Seriously. I read it as “News Flash: Ceramics Are Brittle!”

      Like, whoa, stop the presses, man.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Nice, thanks for the info. I really did not know what tungsten carbide was.

    • Sian says:

      Good Ti rings are alloyed (6% Al and 4%V or 6Al 6V 2Sn) not brittle at all and are hard as the hardest workable (non-tool) steels. Light as heck too.

  31. drowse says:

    I actually went with a titanium ring when I got married. I like it though it is a bit scratched up and I probably paid too much for it from a Zales Outlet store.

    I actually had to have a new ring ordered, since I lost some weight after I got married and the original ring was too big. Zales was nice enough to change it out for a smaller ring for me.

  32. dwasifar says:

    A few notes in response to various statements made in this thread.

    “Tungsten.” Actually the material we’re discussing is tungsten carbide, not tungsten. There’s a significant difference.

    “There are pros and cons to each metal.” You mean “each material.” Tungsten carbide is not a metal. It’s a composite; its raw state is a fine gray powder, and it is formed under heat and pressure into solid objects. This is why it shatters under impact instead of bending like a metal would.

    “Gold is extremely conductive.” To electricity, I assume you mean. Yes, that’s true, but tungsten carbide is conductive too, so that by itself is not a reason to favor gold over tungsten carbide.

    “$300 is too expensive for this ring.” It certainly is. Mine cost $50.

    “I didn’t like the thickness/weight of it.” You get used to the weight pretty quickly. The thickness is another matter. :) Mine feels fine but that’s me.

    “Strong and durable.” I don’t know if you can call it strong if it shatters, but then again I don’t think you can call a gold ring strong if it bends. Durable? Well, I will tell you that the finish is durable. Mine looks like the day it came out of the box after two years on my hand.

    The bottom line is, for $50 a pop (or less – I’ve seen them as low as $20) you can buy a lot of replacements before you bump up against the price Jared would have charged for a white gold band of similar size. And now that the OP knows tungsten carbide rings are not in fact indestructible, they will likely take care not to drop one again.

  33. quieterhue says:

    They shouldn’t be selling metal that shatters on impact. Period. People do a lot of high impact things with their hands and they generally wear their wedding rings all the time. Rings have to be able to withstand a lot of beating for a long time.

    Moral of this story: when it comes to strength, sometimes less is more.

    • dwasifar says:

      Well, as has already been pointed out, it’s not metal.

      I fail to see why people are so concerned about what happens to their rings under heavy impact. If someone was swinging a hammer at my ring while I was wearing it, I’d be more concerned about my finger than my ring, wouldn’t you? The ring doesn’t have to be indestructible unless you’re wearing it on an indestructible hand.

      Now, for some reason, let’s say you feel compelled to put a gold ring and a tungsten carbide ring on an anvil and smack them with a hammer. The tungsten carbide ring shatters. $40 buys you a new one. The gold ring doesn’t shatter. Can you put it on and wear it? No, it’s mashed; you would have to get it repaired, and more than likely recast. Where are you going to get that done for $40?

      So I don’t see the point of complaining that you can damage tungsten carbide by abuse. Sure you can. You can damage any ring by abuse. But if you don’t abuse it, it looks great pretty much indefinitely, and if you do eventually break it, you’re not out a bundle. What’s the problem?

  34. giax says:

    Pick a better material next time.
    We got airplane grade titanium – which is surely strong and durable – but also to its disadvantage: if one wears a ring made of that, and gets e.g. an allergic reaction where the fingers swell, the only way to take the ring off at an ER will be to take the finger off.
    Hence, we found after like 6 years of being married a second pair that looks design wise very much like the titanium ones (plain, classic) made of stainless steel at some Texas souvenir shop in DFW airport for around $ 10. Looks good, doesn’t break, and it fits the main purpose of the ring anyway: to advertise we are taken.

    • CajunGuy says:

      Wrong. Titanium rings can be cut, just like gold or silver.

    • Sian says:

      only the hardest (6.6.2) aerospace grade titanium would cause any problems at an ER. long-handle cutter will take them right off.

  35. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    While I must assume there was some sort of defect in this particular ring such that it shattered from a simple drop to the floor, sorry if you’re dim enough not to inherently be aware of the fact that the harder a substance is, the more brittle and non-ductile it is.

    Tungsten carbide is celebrated for it’s hardness…it’s obvious that brittleness must also be part of it’s characteristics, as in a lack of capability for elastic deformation.

    Personally, I bought a tungsten carbide ring specifically because I *want* it to be brittle. It’s not out of the realm of possibility for me to drop, say, a motorcycle engine on my hand, in which case I’d like my ring to just shatter rather than crush my finger and cut off blood circulation such that I then just have to get my finger amputated. Sure…all of my fingers would probably be broken…but at least broken can heal.

    Also, I have an oddball medical condition in which any given body part can just swell up like a severe allergic reaction…another great case where I, personally, would really like to be able to just have someone strike my ring with a punch & hammer and just have it shatter away from my hand, rather than rush to the hospital and hope they can cut if off before my finger dies.

    …finally, I see no value in the vanity aspect. My wife wanted a nice lookind diamond ring because she would enjoy wearing it, so that’s fine and we paid a good amount of money for said diamond ring. I couldn’t care less about having a loop of 24k gold around one of my fingers, so $30 for a tungsten carbide ring was perfect for me from that standpoint too.

    • who? says:

      I am a college educated engineer. I’m not particularly “dim,” but I don’t work with metals, and would have no idea if tungsten is hard, soft, brittle, malleable, or purple. I didn’t realize the properties of a particular rare metal alloy were part of the common body of knowledge we should all have.

      The website says that the material is prized for its strength and durability. Clearly, while the material might be strong and durable when it’s used for the correct applications, it isn’t a very durable wedding ring.

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        As hardness does up, ductility goes down. Basic science topic that you should have learned probably by 9th grade.

        And durability isn’t inconsistent with brittle. The ring can’t be scratched…by anything. Well, not anything you have any likelihood of running into. It can hold an edge extremely well too…such an edge would be extremely “durable.”

        What you can’t do with it is bend it. Or draw it into wire. Which are things you *can* do with gold or silver…which are very soft metals, that have very poor durability in that they are easily scratched and can’t hold an edge to save their lives.

        • DaveInBillsburg says:

          Yeah, but gold doesn’t shatter when dropped, so it’s got that going for it.

        • 180CS says:

          By 5’th grade, you should have known all your states and capitols. Do you still remember them all? No? You don’t use that knowledge in your day to day work and therefore forgot it over the years/decades you haven’t had to think about it?

          Sure, this seems pretty basic to you, and I would ask the same thing about how easy it is to shatter. It’s not the customers responsibility to understand strength of materials. It’s the jewelers responsibility to explain that when they say durable, they mean that the ring is going to shatter if you do so much as knock on a door the wrong way.

          • cactus jack says:

            How in the world could you forget the states and capitols? There is even a clever rhyme to help you remember them in alphabetical order.

          • YouDidWhatNow? says:

            As I originally pointed out, there must have been some defect with that particular ring such that it shattered from a simple drop to the floor.

            I’ve been whacking my tungsten carbide ring on various things, with not inconsiderable force, for many years and have not had it shatter. Barring any pre-exsiting defect, it should take a pretty sharp application of force to shatter it.

            The OP’s ring must have come from the factory with something wrong with it.

      • Difdi says:

        I’m not any kind of engineer, the closest I come to working with metals is the circuit boards in the servers I maintain, and I knew tungsten carbide was brittle.

    • Jerry 101 says:

      Sorry boss, I took 9th grade (and tenth grade and eleventh grade and twelfth grade science, not to mention several classes in college, including geology) and I had no idea tungsten was so brittle. Jared, a scuzzy business to begin with, also isn’t promoting tungsten’s hardness. They are promoting strength and durability. I would expect, from the ad, that their rings could withstand being dropped.

      I drop my gold ring all the time. Heck, I dropped it at the airport when the wife and I were in the security line(I take off every bit of metal I can find. I hated the guy who did half – ar$ed job and help up the line while being wanded (per undies bomber days), so everything came off, and my ring fell to the ground. Boy o boy am I glad I went with that soft old gold. It survived the fall. Seems to me to be a lot more durable than tungsten).

      In addition, my only experience with tungsten is with my darts. Those haven’t ever broke, and they’ve been through a lot of abuse, so I’d be ticked off if my tungsten ring shattered after being dropped on the floor.

    • Kestris says:

      Little under 200.00 got my husband and I lovely, engraved sterling silver bands for our 5th wedding anniversary. 15 years later, they still look as nice as the day we got them, albeit a bit worn around the edges.

    • RabidMonkey says:

      You shouldn’t call her dim, that’s rather harsh and just makes you sound like a jerk. It’s easy to assume that the “Strong and Durable” (as the jeweler advertised it) tungsten carbide ring wouldn’t shatter if dropped from a moderate height. A more honest claim would be to call it “scratch resistant” as WC is rather hard (~9 on the Mohs hardness scale). I think jewelers should definitely be more up front about the properties of the jewelry they’re selling.

    • luxosaucer13 says:

      I decided to go with a tungsten carbide, given the brittleness, because of one of the reasons you outlined above: I’d rather lose a ring than a finger.

      Besides, due to religious considerations, I can’t wear gold.

  36. AltMetals1 says:

    Tungsten can break but it won’t lose its shine, if you are looking for unbreakable buy titanium, titanium will not break, but titanium can scratch easier than tungsten, but not as easily as gold or platinum.

  37. evilpete says:

    Umm yea, Tungsten Carbide is brittle. Ever break a drill bit???

    I’ve had one for 5 years, no problems, if it does break it will be “repaired” for $30 including shipping.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      Unless I’m mistaken, such drill bits only have a thin coating of tungsten carbide to help them hold their edge. I’m not sure the entire bit could be tungsten carbide…I think you’d be torquing them apart all the time.

  38. Sian says:

    This is why I went with titanium.

  39. crummybum11 says:

    “Awww… He went to Jared!”

    • Jerry 101 says:

      That was their first mistake. Any jewelry store that advertises all over the tv is just gonna rip you off. Places like Jared make used car salesmen look like Abraham Lincoln- honest.

  40. OMG_BECKY says:

    In other news, water is wet.

  41. RoguePisigit says:

    Am I the only one wondering why she paid $230 for a ring she could have gotten much cheaper? When my husband and I were ring shopping, a salesperson tried to tell us that only the expensive brands made tungsten CARBIDE rings, and the others were just cheap knockoffs. A quick Google search revealed this to be completely false — it’s just not a very expensive metal, but jewelry stores know people expect to spend hundreds of dollars on a wedding ring. We got my husband a gorgeous ring for $30, and later a second one when he lost some weight (they can’t be resized), and he’s been perfectly happy with the $60 we spent.

  42. TD99 says:

    The general public tends to forget that there’s a difference between “shatter-resistant” and “scratch-resistant”. In order to be shatter-resistant, the material needs to be somewhat soft and in order to be scratch-resistant, the material needs to be very hard.

    plastic = shatter resistant
    glass = scratch resistant

    That said, I got my tungsten ring from Overstock.com for about $8. If it breaks, no biggie. Just buy another one!

  43. Jimmy37 says:

    Certain types of tungten carbide are known to shatter because they are brittle. Search the Internet about this.

  44. fatalexception0e says:

    Well, mine is a lot more durable than that. I’ve had it a bit over four years now. I’ve dropped it on tile and concrete floors. (from hand height, not holding it over my head) Also, I used to work in a warehouse, and I used to whack it on the steel safety rails a lot. The only damage would be a little yellow paint I had to scrape off the ring.