So you’ve already ditched the idea of a gold wedding band in favor of something more modern, durable and easier on the pocket. Tungsten has become a very popular choice with men (and even some ladies) for the above reasons, but what if you’re still not keen on a metal based ring? There is a very appealing and popular alternative; silicone. So which is for you, tungsten wedding bands or silicone wedding bands?
We’ve looked at what we think are the 5 main criteria for selecting a wedding band:
- Risk – how much are you exposed to injury.
- Convenience – can it be worn all the time, everywhere?
- Cost – how affordable it is.
- Durability – how long will it last you.
- Customisation – can it be tweaked to your tastes and style?
But first, a quick dive into the background of each material, then we’ll assess each based on the above criteria.
What is tungsten?
The tungsten you know is actually tungsten carbide. Pure tungsten is very soft, so its strength comes when it is made into a compound. Tungsten carbide is known as one of the toughest metals on earth.
It’s extremely dense and is almost impossible to melt. It is very resistant to corrosion and has the highest tensile strength of any element.
What is silicone?
Silicone is a synthetic polymer made up of silicon, oxygen, carbon and hydrogen (and a few other elements). Silicone has low toxicity and high heat resistance. It also provides good electrical insulation.
Silicone has a very high heat resistance which makes it ideal for kitchenware (oven mitts, tongs, pan handles, molds etc.). Plus its non-stick properties also make it useful for cookware coatings.
Tungsten is incredibly strong, but the downside is that it’s also brittle. It won’t bend or misshape if enough pressure is applied to it, it will only shatter – not the best if you ever need to have a tungsten ring cut off! That said, the circumstances that would call for that would be extremely rare. Being a metal, tungsten does pose a risk of injury, just like any other metal ring.
Silicone poses no risk whatsoever and if you want to avoid ring avulsion, it’s the way to go.
Both silicone and tungsten are considered to be hypo-allergenic so neither should present any issues to your skin.
Tungsten is a metal. It’s hard, can be sharp and it’s attached to flesh and bone. So if you’re in an occupation or past-time that is active or involves a high ratio of manual interaction or the use of your hands, you’re going to want to remove that ring to avoid injury. Additionally, most occupations that fit that mold will simply not allow metal rings and jewelry whilst on the job.
Additionally there also comes the risk of losing your ring if you’re having to constantly take it on and off.
Silicone rings can be used in almost any situation and are becoming increasingly recognized for their safety benefits, which is why more and more occupations and professional bodies are allowing them.
Most tungsten rings cost between $50 and $100, however some can cost upwards of $150!
Comparably, silicone rings are more affordable at an average price point of around $30.
Now, obviously tungsten should last a lot longer, just by the nature of it, so it’s arguable that having to buy multiple silicone rings over the course of many years could outweigh the up-front cost of the single tungsten ring. If that’s your thought process, be sure to pick the right style or design as you’ll be “stuck” with it.
Regardless, when it comes to the average price point of a silicone ring, there’s nothing stopping you from dabbling in the silicone ring arena to try it out, even in addition to a traditional ring. In fact, most people (like me) will already have a traditional wedding ring, so any purchase of a silicone wedding band will be in addition.
This is the category that tungsten takes first place. My tungsten ring I had initially, I used for almost 8 years before I got my first silicone wedding ring. And it didn’t have a scratch on it. Now I didn’t remove it for every activity but I also didn’t throw it through the meat grinder either. So for people in high activity based occupations or past-times might have a different outcome. That said, people in those positions likely wouldn’t want a tungsten (or any metal ring) due to the risk of ring avulsion and other injuries associated with metal rings.
Silicone obviously can be cut far more easily, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t durable in itself.
Options and customization
Now, neither tungsten nor silicone can be re-sized. That said, given their price points, particularly silicone, it’s not a train smash. It’s affordable to replace either type if needed, with minimal fuss.
That said, when it comes to options and customization, silicone rings are unrivaled in my opinion. The options are almost endless – colours, styles, designs and even “engraving” are all available. Another plus; why not buy a bunch of varying colours/styles and pair your ring with your outfits? Now that’s how you accessorize.
Tungsten has a far more limited offering, and while you can get various styles and colours, given its difficult nature, customization options are limited.
RESULTS – Silicone 3 : 1 Tungsten (1 draw)
So there you have it, regardless of which you’d prefer, you now have a bit more understanding on the key differences between the two. At the end of the day, they’re both durable, hypo-allergenic and look the biz! So pick your favorite – or pick both.