What is Black Tungsten? Everything You Need To Know

What is black tungsten

When you think of wedding bands, gold or platinum usually come to mind.

However, an increasingly popular wedding band style is black tungsten, which happens to be far more affordable than both.

If you’re on the hunt for something bold and modern, a black tungsten wedding ring might be ideal.

Black tungsten rings scream “I’m taken”. Making it the perfect wedding band.

What is Black Tungsten?

Black tungsten is a symbol of strength and eternal commitment. Tungsten is naturally gunmetal gray in color. The black coating is achieved with ion plated titanium alloy. As with other high-quality black plated jewelry like gold and platinum, black tungsten will fade over time and require replating.

Black tungsten also isn’t as scratch resistant as gunmetal gray tungsten which isn’t plated.

Tungsten, gets its name from the Swedish phrase meaning ‘heavy stone’. The metal is known for its considerable weight and strength.

Ready to learn more about black tungsten carbide rings? Read on to learn everything you need to know about black tungsten rings.

How Black Tungsten Rings Are Plated

Black tungsten rings are ion plated for color, a process that occurs at a molecular level and is thus more durable than other colorization methods.

The process is vastly superior to traditional “wet” plating methods (like electroplating) due to the increased bonding strength.

Ion plated tungsten rings are still highly scratch-resistant (comparable to titanium in hardness), but not as resistant as natural gunmetal gray-toned tungsten carbide.

If you want a durable black wedding band, go for ceramic, silicone, or black zirconium.

If you want a scratch resistant ring, order natural gunmetal gray tungsten carbide, without plating

What is black plated tungsten?

Jewelers use a special plating technique called PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition).

This process involves the application of a titanium alloy by shooting the atomic particles at incredibly velocity on the tungsten.

PVD plating is more durable than traditional finishes, however it still doesn’t match the scratch-resistance of natural tungsten.

Black Tungsten Replating

Black tungsten can also be re-plated when needed.

Black tungsten’s ion plating can be damaged through contact with an abrasive chemicals and hard surfaces (metal, wood, tile, etc).

Just like white gold rings, black tungsten rings that lose their color can be re-plated to bring back their black finish.

Replating requires a skilled jewelry repair shop.

Tungsten vs. Tungsten Carbide

While the two terms are usually used interchangeably, they are not the same.

The purest form of tungsten cannot be used in jewelry as it’s too brittle. To add strength and durability, tungsten is transformed into a metal that contains 85% tungsten and 15% carbon, cobalt, or nickel.

This fused metal is known as tungsten carbide.

When tungsten is combined with carbon, it becomes more stable and easier to work with. Additionally, the cobalt or nickel acts as a binder, holding the metal elements together, allowing it to be molded and shaped.

In tungsten wedding bands, tungsten carbide with a nickel binder is preferred for its high quality.

In contrast, tungsten carbide with a cobalt binder doesn’t work as well for jewelry since cobalt tends to react with body oils, resulting in staining or skin irritations.

Where To Buy Black Tungsten Rings

As black tungsten rings are all the rage, there are several reputable online stores where you can find high-quality black tungsten wedding bands. Here are some of the best:

Blue Nile

Blue Nile has been around for over two decades. Selling black tungsten rings at much lower prices than traditional retail, thanks to the fact that they cut out the middleman—this is a great place to shop for black tungsten wedding bands. You are sure to find one that matches your unique style.

Shipping & Returns Policies

Blue Nile offers free and secure shipping and priority shipping is based on a total order value minimum. If you need to expedite your order, Blue Nile also offers shipping upgrades for an additional charge. Every order includes a 30-day return policy and lifetime guarantees.

James Allen

This is yet another great store for buying tungsten rings. They have unique ring designs available in different polishes to appeal to jewelry lovers. You can choose from exciting colors like silver, rose, grey, and yellow besides black tungsten in bands.

Shipping & Returns Policies

The company also offers a hassle-free 30-day return window (which starts when the order is shipped) and lifetime warranty services for jewelry care and cleaning.


Zales offers a wide variety of black tungsten wedding bands in various patterns and exquisite designs. And given their extensive selection of wedding rings, this is also a great place to shop if you want to go with a matching set. In a range of prices that are as equally extensive, you’ll be sure to find a band to suit your style and your budget.

Shipping & Returns Policies

Returns and exchanges in good condition are permitted within 60 days from the purchase date and online purchases can be returned to one of Zales’s many store locations or returned by mail. Like many retailers, it might take up to 30 days to process any refunds.


How to Care for a Black Tungsten Wedding Band

Black tungsten rings don’t require any elaborate cleaning methods and caring for them is the same as caring for other types of jewelry.

Take your ring off during activities that might potentially harm the ring, like hiking, swimming, or any work involving your hands.

If you pause to consider taking it off, you probably should.

It is recommended to get your ring professionally cleaned every six months to keep it like new.

Black Tungsten FAQs

Is black tungsten scratch proof?

Tungsten is extremely scratch resistant, but the outer surface of black tungsten rings is titanium which is not as scratch resistant.

Are black tungsten rings waterproof?

You can wear your genuine black tungsten carbide ring in the shower without having to worry about it rusting or corroding. If you forgot to take off your tungsten ring before taking a shower, you can simply air dry your ring right after.

Does black tungsten fade?

Black tungsten rings are still extremely durable, and chemically stable. Ion plating is about 60% more durable than traditional plating.

What does a black tungsten ring mean?

Black tungsten wedding are traditional symbols of eternal commitment. The new metals and the color black emphasize the strength of that commitment.

How hard is tungsten carbide?

Tungsten carbide is extremely hard, ranking about 9 to 9.5 on the Mohs scale, and with a Vickers number of around 2600. It has a Young’s modulus of approximately 530–700 GPa, a bulk modulus of 630–655 GPa, and a shear modulus of 274 GPa.

Is there anything harder than tungsten?

Tungsten metal is rated at about a nine on the Mohs scale of hardness. A diamond, which is the hardest substance on earth and the only thing that can scratch tungsten, is rated at a 10.

Is tungsten carbide rust proof?

Tungsten, and especially tungsten carbide, is one of the most durable and scratch-resistant metals to make a ring out of. Additionally, these metals are very corrosion-resistant.

Can you get tungsten rings wet?

Tungsten carbide, which is an alloy of tungsten and carbon, is extremely inert and will not react with humidity or air. The result is a great waterproof material that is perfect for wedding bands.

How long does black tungsten last?

Although IP plating has its expiration date, and can last up to two years, the lifespan of tungsten rings with IP plating can be prolonged, if they are maintained properly. It is recommended to avoid any exposure to water, chemicals, such as chlorine, antibacterial soaps, hairsprays.

What do black tungsten rings cost?

Black tungsten wedding bands can range greatly in price. Top styles range from $250 to $3,000.

The Bottom Line

Black never goes out of style and black tungsten wedding bands are becoming more and more popular among people who prefer modern and contemporary rings. And we think this fad is here to stay!

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Written by Gina Elizabeth

Gina Elizabeth is an investment analyst and blogger. She sometimes eats pretty good, other times not. Hey, you gotta live, you know?