How To Distinguish Real Tungsten Carbide From Fakes

Tungsten carbide, and tungsten itself, have many uses. But in order to make good use of them, it is essential that you understand their differences.

What Is Tungsten?

On the periodic table, one of the elements that you will find is tungsten. This metal melts at extremely high temperatures and is used for its hardness (among other things). Because of its density, when tungsten is used to make jewelry, it is characteristically heavy.

What Is Carbide?

When you mix carbon with tungsten, you get carbide. Compared to tungsten, this is denser. So, rather than using tungsten alone, a more durable product is created by the combination of carbide and tungsten.

In the jewelry industry, thanks to their high density, carbides are an extremely popular choice – but there are many uses for them. Carbides are not easily bent, scratched, or nicked. Jewelries created with carbides are frequently chosen over those made with other metals because the carbide jewelries have a tendency to last much longer.

Weeding Out Fake/Imitation Carbide

The following characteristics help distinguish real carbides from others:

  • Hypoallergenic: One very important factor here is the hypoallergenic quality of carbides. Bodily fluids and chemicals such as sweat, when combined with carbides, will not cause an allergic reaction.

It is important to note here that in individuals that are extremely metal sensitive, allergic reactions can be caused if nickel has been used in a particular carbide mixture. Though rare (because the nickel used is at minimal amounts), this allergic reaction is related to the nickel, not the carbide.

So why use nickel? Compared to a combination of carbon and carbide, the nickel-carbide mix results in jewelry that is more brilliant and shinier. Be sure, when buying jewelry, that the purest form of the alloy is being used. A good jeweler will share this information with you, when asked.

  • Scratch resistant: Scratch resistant characteristics are not only another plus of carbides, but one of the most desirable. Additionally, jewelry that is made with carbides are not easily dented or bent. That means you can wear jewelry for long periods of time with confidence.
  • Durability: Having pieces made with carbide also means that you can usually keep them longer them longer as well.
  • Resizing: It can be difficult to resize a piece of jewelry made with tungsten carbide. The alloy is difficult to reshape or bend once the metal has cooled and been shaped. For this very reason, practice extreme care when you choose carbide jewelry. When you purchase the piece, have it sized so that it is not too snug or too loose. (See this applies mostly to rings, of course.)

While compared to gold and silver, carbides are not particularly popular. But in due time, you would be well served by the extraordinary properties exhibited by carbide jewelry.

If you have more questions about tungsten carbide, read the section on our A&A Coatings website featuring further information. If you would like to find out what tungsten carbide and thermal sprayed coatings can do for you, feel free to contact us at your earliest convenience. We have knowledgeable, experienced staff members available to answer all your questions and address any concerns you may have.

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