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 Post subject: tungsten carbide
PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 9:19 pm 
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Not really a gem question, but what the hay...Anyone else out there having problems with tungsten carbide wedding rings breaking or chipping? These things are virtually scratchproof, but when struck by stone or iron, or tile (or anything hard) they can chip or break. They can't be sized either. I wonder how many will survive to be passed down to the grandchildren? And if they do last will they fit? In nearly 30 years I have never had a gold, platinum, or combination thereof, wedding band returned because it was broken. We had one fellow return his three times. Comments wanted. Thanks, Richard.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 6:57 pm 
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In the last few years the stores that I have worked in have sold at least a few hundred tungsten rings. I have only seen one come back in to be replaced due to damage.

I actually purchased a super cheap tungsten ring off fleabay when they first came out and dropped it off about a 10 foot ledge to test the durability and it basically shattered. This was a band around 3-4 mm in width and very thin in depth. My experience is that tungsten rings made by reputable manufacturers are much more durable as they tend to be made very wide and thick.

In fact, many of the manufacturers of tungsten rings sold in retail stores offer free replacement for just the cost of shipping. Granted, they charge quite a premium and can probably absorb the cost of a limited percentage of replacements.

Also, I own a 7mm wide tungsten band that I've worn daily for the past two years with no damage. And I am not easy on my hands by any means. YMMV...

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 7:12 pm 
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Tungsten and tungsten carbide are very different materials. Which are we really talking about?


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 8:23 pm 
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Tungsten carbide is the material sold in rings. We use two manufactures where I work; one does seem more durable than the other (no names mentioned). Thanks for the response. Richard

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 12:08 am 
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The thing I don't like about tungsten carbide rings is that most emergency rooms can't cut them off. The regular ring cutting tool will just have its teeth rounded over by tungsten carbide. Or tungsten metal as well.

The only way to get it off would be to go to a hospital that has an orthopedic implant removal kit that includes a high speed high powered irrigated diamond bitted air tool. Or maybe risk banging them with a hammer to shatter them. Not my pinkies pleez.

When peoples' fingers swell up and they want their rings off NOW , a ring that can be cut with a compound nipper or with a ring removal tool is a lot easier. Getting a TC ring off would probably require two cuts because the material is completely stiff. I would never wear one of those gangrene traps.

There are many different grades of TC. Some are more impact resistant than others.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 8:03 am 
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I have heard this statement many times when speaking of tungsten carbide rings with customers. That they are dangerous because they can not be taken off in an emergency. However, I have not found this to be the case. I have many friends that work in the health field including hospital emergency rooms and they have almost all said the same thing, that they do not try to cut the rings off, they take advantage of the brittleness of the rings and break them off when needed. Apparently, as the popularity of tungsten rings increased, this is what many hospitals have been training their staff to do. I have never heard of a case where this was not possible and a ring was unable to be removed.

All it takes is generally a moderate tap with a small hammer to crack the rings and a few more gentle taps to break it off or judicious use of vise grips. Granted this destroys the ring, unlike gold or platinum rings that can be cut and re-soldered, but this is a small price to pay when necessary. I myself have broken a 7mm wide tungsten ring with a pair of vise grips fairly easily on my own finger. Of course you do have to be more careful with this than using a simple ring cutter :wink:

In my experience titanium rings have been the hardest to remove when necessary as they do not break or cut easily. Depending on the alloy of course since this seems to vary greatly.

YMMV...

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 8:18 pm 
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I would not want to wear a ring that needed to be cracked off in a vise grip.

Titanium would be a pain to remove but unlike carbide when a regular ring remover is used against it it won't turn the high speed steel teeth into rounded bumps. It will take considerably longer to remove than a precious metal ring. But you don't need special tooling to do it.

I think highly polished carbide is very cool looking and like the watches made from it. But stuck rings are a pretty common occurrence. May as well think ahead. JMO


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 9:20 am 
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Fortunately, differences in taste and opinion leads to more options for everyone :)

I enjoy the opportunity to discuss different sides of an issue as I think it leads to the best chance to learn something new. Thanks!

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:41 am 
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I personally don't recommend rings that are made out of these trendy metals because they are simply trendy metals with NO intrinsic value. I don't find them appropriate for wedding rings.
Perhaps bicycle frames, but not wedding rings.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 4:35 pm 
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Thanks Barbra, well said. My feelings exactly.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:32 pm 
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Barbra Voltaire wrote:
I personally don't recommend rings that are made out of these trendy metals because they are simply trendy metals with NO intrinsic value. I don't find them appropriate for wedding rings.
Perhaps bicycle frames, but not wedding rings.

While we recognize the gold of an engagement ring has a significant intrinsic value, what is the intrinsic value of the carbon in the diamond? :D :D


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 2:46 am 
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Significantly more than the value of carbon in everything else. :wink:


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 6:11 am 
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Barbra Voltaire wrote:
Significantly more than the value of carbon in everything else. :wink:


The guys with the Fullerite nanotubes and the Buckyballs might question that statement.

I'll just wait here and ask any that drop by.

Tony.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 10:52 am 
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Ummm 8-[ Aren't we humans made up of carbon??

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 11:46 am 
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A little bit... but mostly hydrogen and oxygen.


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