Black Tungsten vs Black Ceramic Rings: What's the Difference?

Any colored tungsten carbide ring other than its natural silver color is achieved through a process called ion plating. This is true for all tungsten jewelry in the world. Ion plating is a process by which a surface is bombarded with atomic sized energetic particles in a vacuum to deposit a hard coating of compound materials that results in a desirable color. The process is vastly superior to traditional "wet" plating methods (like electroplating) due to its increased bonding strength.

Ion plating, while more difficult to scratch than traditional gold or silver, is not as scratch resistant as the underlying tungsten. Plating can be damaged through contact with an abrasive surface or substance, chemicals, and hard surfaces (metal, wood, tile, etc). Plating can also be damaged by frequent exposure to hard water, or repeated contact with moderately hard surfaces such as a computer mouse or the inside of a glove.

For these reasons, we recommend removing plated tungsten rings before doing such activities as: handling metal objects, going to the gym, playing sports, entering water, and washing dishes or hands. We understand that this can seem like an inconvenience, but it is no different than wearing a traditional gold or silver ring. Rings such as these should be treated with attentive care.

If you are interested in a black band, we recommend looking into black ceramic as opposed to black tungsten. Ceramic is nearly just as strong a material as tungsten but the color is not plated so it does not have this issue. This is why you will see that many of the black rings that we offer are made from ceramic. Ceramic is also very lightweight compared to tungsten carbide.

In terms of hardness, tungsten carbide is rated at 9 on the Mohs scale while ceramic is 7 (diamond is a 10 and gold is 3 to give a sense of scale). Essentially what this means is that they are both very strong. Both rings can be cut in case of emergencies and hospitals will have the equipment to do so. Neither ring will fade, though the ion plating on black tungsten can be worn as we mentioned earlier. The hardness of the plating is 6, the same strength as titanium. Theoretically black tungsten can be replated and ceramic can be refinished, however we don’t have the equipment to do so and there is basically no need to do so, ever. Neither can be resized in the traditional sense, however we do offer a lifetime resizing guarantee if you ever do need a different size down the line. We also have a lifetime guarantee that covers almost everything except for normal wear and tear or intentional damage.

If there’s anything to be aware of, it’s that our warranty does not cover normal wear and tear, including scratches. While our rings are highly durable and scratch-resistant, they are not scratch-proof. Nothing is. Even a hard diamond can be cut. If you like some heft with your ring, you may want black tungsten. Both rings will be difficult to scratch, but black plated tungsten may show the silver tungsten underneath while black ceramic will just show black ceramic. Side by side, black tungsten will look slightly more black, while black ceramic will have a slightly dark gray tint to it just because it is more reflective.

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