Until recently, we only had a handful of options when it comes to ring metals: gold, silver, and platinum. While these are excellent materials for making different kinds of jewelry, we sometimes want to deviate from the “big three” for a change. Thankfully, the advent of technology has brought forth a slew of other choices. Many jewelry stores are now offering black metal rings, which are rings made from “alternative metals” such as titanium, tungsten, and steel.
While many people associate the color black with dark concepts, they’ve recently become a hot trend in the jewelry world. Instead of the traditional gold or silver, many people, especially men, prefer to wear black wedding rings. And it’s no wonder why–this ring metal looks modern, unique, and fashionable. Now, there’s a broader selection of black rings in the market because they’re in such high demand. Stores have them with or without jewelry inlaid, in simple and intricate designs, and different finishes.
Black Metal Rings: Everything You Need To Know
Despite all its attractive qualities, there are also drawbacks to these dark rings that might be a deal-breaker. If you’re considering this style, you must be aware of its pros and cons. In this guide, we break down everything you should know about black metal rings–their composition, the benefits they provide, and their downsides.
Alternative Metals: A Growing Trend
Back in the day, no one ever thought that there would be jewelry that isn’t gold, silver, or platinum. After all, these metals are considered the “big three” and remain the most important metals in the world of jewelry. But recently, we’ve seen a rising trend in black metal jewelry, specifically in the men’s department. Alternative metals such as ceramic, tungsten carbide, cobalt, titanium, and stainless steel have become a big hit for male consumers, especially in wedding rings.
Here are some of the reasons why alternative metals have been growing in popularity in the jewelry realm.
The price of precious metals has been continually increasing over the years, which makes alternative metals cheaper in comparison.
Younger consumers are defying the norm and deviating from traditional-looking pieces. They want to amp up their styles and wear accessories that look fresh and edgier. Rings and other pieces of jewelry made from alternative metals undeniably give off that cool vibe–they look industrial, unique, and tough.
Keeping up with modern times
We’re living in the age of self-driving cars, robots, 3D printers, and bionic prosthetics –technologies that we used to see only in the movies. Now, they’re actually here and are being utilized by humanity. Because of these advancements, the use of alternatives metals in jewelry seems like a timely choice.
Now that you know why alternative jewelry metals are trendier than ever let’s explore each of these metals and their qualities.
Black Metal Rings: Popular Options
Before picking out the perfect ring, it’s crucial to learn about its components and qualities. Here’s a look at some of the most popular alternative metals used in the manufacture of rings. We explore their general properties, applications to jewelry, and respective pros and cons.
Stainless steel rings
If you’re looking for both strength and affordability, you’ll definitely find them in this metal. Stainless steel jewelry will last you forever; they’re durable enough to stand daily wear. They’re also scratch and tarnish-resistant, thanks to the chromium mixed in them, which is generally at least 10.5%. Chromium makes stainless steel resistant to oxidation. This prevents rust or unsightly stains from appearing on the metal’s shiny surface. Steel also comes in different finishes; they can be polished to imitate the matte look of pewter or the reflective appearance of chrome.
The natural color of stainless steel is silvery-white with a mirror finish. For it to turn black, it must undergo a process called anodizing, which involves changing the surface of the metal through an electrochemical process without altering its composition.
- Tarnish-proof and scratch-resistant
- Extremely durable, making it perfect for wedding bands that signify an everlasting union between husband and wife
- Requires basic care – just use warm water and soap to clean it
- Lightweight metal that wears comfortably on the finger
- Significantly cheaper than gold, silver, and platinum
- Despite its lower price point, it looks a lot like platinum. A stainless steel ring will retain its beauty and natural luster for a long time.
- The most environment-friendly black metal material option in the jewelry realm. The production process of stainless steel rings involves dramatically less energy and waste than other metals.
- 100% recyclable
- Stainless steel rings can be cut off using regular cutting tools. This will prove useful in emergencies.
- This metal is a poor conductor; it can conduct only up to 16v, whereas gold and silver can conduct up to 310v and 429v, respectively. You won’t have to worry about getting electric shocks from steel rings.
- Because of its extreme toughness, stainless steel rings are difficult to resize. The piece must be sent to a stainless steel ring manufacturer for it to be resized using specialized equipment. This process will take up a considerably longer amount of time as compared to gold or silver rings.
- Steel rings with inlays, gemstones, and patterns are impossible to resize because cutting might wreck the piece.
- Make sure to get your ring size right the first time before buying steel rings to avoid the hassles of resizing.
- Keep steel rings away from chlorine, as it’s sensitive to this chemical. Remember to remove any steel jewelry before swimming in chlorinated water.
This metal is as strong as steel but is 45% lighter, which makes it an excellent material for people who aren’t used to wearing jewelry. Despite being lightweight, titanium is durable; it doesn’t corrode, and it’s highly resistant to dents and bending. Due to its incredible strength, it’s used in the manufacture of armor plating, spacecraft, and aircraft parts. Titanium’s industrial associations have certainly contributed to its popularity, and it will surely appeal to men seeking jewelry made of rugged material. It’s also pure, which means that it’s not combined with other metals.
Titanium has a natural platinum gray color and is treated for it to turn black.
- Titanium doesn’t rust and is resistant to corrosion from seawater and chlorine.
- Difficult to bend out of shape.
- Titanium is incredibly lightweight; it weighs less than silver and gold. This quality makes titanium rings comfortable and easy to wear.
- This metal is great for individuals who always forget to take off their jewelry before taking on a heavy task.
- Titanium’s lightweight nature makes it a great base metal for different add-ons and design options.
- It can have a matte or high-polish finish.
- For a heavy-duty yet lightweight material, titanium rings are surprisingly inexpensive, at least compared to gold or silver.
- Titanium is strong, which makes it the complete opposite of a malleable metal. So if you’re looking for a ring that you can mold, shape, or etch, steer clear of titanium rings.
- For the above reason, titanium rings can’t have prong settings like traditional engagement rings. It’s possible, but the prong setting should be made from another metal.
Prone to scratches
- Titanium is an excellent material, but it’s far from perfect. Therefore, despite its toughness, titanium rings can still get scratches and show signs of wear more than other super-hard metals.
- You can resize titanium rings; however, it comes at a price and has its difficulties, especially for rings that have stones.
Of all metals, this one has the highest melting point and the most tensile strength. It’s so tough that it’s impossible to bend and reshape. Tungsten rings aren’t made from this metal alone; they’re made from tungsten carbide, which is equal parts tungsten and carbon atoms. Tungsten is scratch-resistant and doesn’t require constant polishing, as it retains its shine for a lifetime. This is the perfect material for men who work with their hands and want low-maintenance jewelry.
Tungsten has a natural gray color, which can be darkened through a brush finishing process.
- Extremely durable – it’s scratch-resistant and impossible to bend.
- Retains its natural luster for a lifetime
- Has a nice weight to it, which is comparable to gold or platinum
- Like all alternative metals, tungsten rings are more affordable than ones made from precious metals.
- A tungsten carbide ring is impossible to resize because it’s too hard.
- While hardness is a good quality that provides many benefits, there are downsides to it. The harder the metal, the more brittle and breakable it is.
- If you drop a tungsten ring or accidentally smash it on a hard surface, it will likely break or shatter.
- Broken tungsten is irreparable.
Zirconium is a transition metal that is so durable, it’s used in aeronautics, submarines, and even nuclear reactors. It’s also resistant to corrosion and scratching. In its pure state, zirconium is gray-white in color. But with exposure to high heat, the metal oxidizes and produces a beautiful permanent black layer. This layer feels a lot like ceramic and is as hard as sapphire. Zirconium is comparable to titanium in that it’s lightweight and skin-friendly. Read on to learn more about black zirconium rings’ pros and cons.
- Zirconium rings are durable; they’re scratch-proof, tarnish-resistant, and shatterproof.
- Unlike other alternative metals, the black color of zirconium rings is permanent. Therefore, it requires no replating or polishing. This quality is very rare in the world of jewelry.
- Unlike the alternative metals above, zirconium is malleable, which means zirconium bands are available in a myriad of designs.
- Can be paired with gemstones and other metals
- The ceramic-like layer of zirconium rings can be given various finishes: brushed, hammered, or polished.
- Zirconium rings aren’t an exception to this typical quality of alternative metals. Most rings made from this metal come in the lower 3-digit price range.
- Of course, like many other strong alternative metals, zirconium rings are difficult to resize.
- While it’s possible to create a variety of designs and shapes from zirconium, it has limited color options–mostly just gray and black.
Non-Metallic Black Ring Materials
With the advancements in jewelry-making technology, humans can now use non-metallic materials to produce excellent black rings. Here are two of the most popular ones and their unique properties.
Many recognize elysium metal as a breakthrough material as it’s the most durable and hypoallergenic material in jewelry-making. The creation of elysium rings involves thousands of diamonds fused under extremely high heat and a million pounds of pressure. This revolutionary method presses the diamond crystals so tightly that light can’t penetrate, which gives each piece its black color.
- Elysium rings are undoubtedly the toughest rings on the planet. It’s ten times stronger than ceramic and four times harder than tungsten. Only laser, electricity, or another diamond can cut through it.
- It will never fade, dull, change color, or scratch, which means that it will always look as good as the day you bought it.
- Elysium is so hypoallergenic, that’s it’s been used within the human body to heal spinal cord injuries. If it’s safe enough to be inside your body, then it’s surely harmless to the skin.
- Wearing something made of pure diamonds will surely give anyone a feeling of luxury. Elysium rings are so precious that they’re recognized as the ultimate in luxury wedding rings.
- As the hardest rings on the planet, it’s a given that elysium rings are impossible to resize.
- With luxury comes a steep cost. The cost of an elysium ring can range from $1,500 to $8,000. Its price will depend on the materials and the level of detail that would go into its making.
When we hear the word ceramic, we immediately think of pottery or clay. But what most people don’t know is that rings can also be made from this material. Jewelry grade ceramic is also called titanium carbide–a material composed of titanium and carbon atoms. The luster of a black ceramic ring is comparable to that of a tungsten ring, and its gloss will last forever. Although ceramic rings are sturdy, they can still chip.
- Extremely durable
- Tarnish-proof and scratch-resistant
- Retains its natural luster even without regular polishing
- It has a naturally smooth glossy finish but can be made into different finishes from matte to highly-polished.
- Very lightweight
- Tungsten carbide’s hardness makes it impossible to resize using standard ring cutters.
- Although tough, ceramic rings aren’t resistant to chipping and breakage.
- Ceramic is a bit harder, which makes it slightly brittle. Therefore, it can easily crack or break if it falls on a hard surface.
Black Metal Rings: Are They for You?
As you’ve seen, the common denominator among black metal rings hardware is their incredible strength. Rings made from alternative metals are incredibly durable, which already qualifies them as an excellent choice for jewelry. Men and women who work with their hands would find this feature extremely beneficial, as they don’t have to be extra careful all the time when they’re working while wearing their rings. Alternative metal rings are also hypoallergenic, which means that even people with the most sensitive skin should have no qualms about using them.
The only glaring drawback of most black metal rings is their permanence in terms of size. Initially, you might think that it won’t matter, but you can never tell what happens in the future. Your body is subject to changes as you age, and most of the time, it’s something that you have no control over. It’s actually common for jewelry owners to come back to their local stores and request for resizing after a few years. But if you own a piece that can’t be stretched or cut anymore, the best cost-free solution is to wear your ring around a chain.
The bottom line is, black metal rings are a great jewelry option as they have many benefits and splendid qualities. However, you must also consider their downsides and make sure that you can fully embrace them before making that final purchase.
If you’re on the lookout for new jewelry trends, you might want to check this guide we created on facial jewelry and why it’s all the rage for 2020.