Collin and I popped into a mall jewelry store last night. Collin’s been looking for his own wedding band online, and he’s found a contender. But I insisted he put on actual rings in a jewelry store so he could feel the weight of different metals and see different widths on his finger.
The store had only one case of men’s wedding bands, half of which were diamond-studded “Godfather rings,” to borrow a term from the adorable 60-something saleswoman. She took out a few rings in yellow and white gold, all quite plain but otherwise pretty. Then she brought out the tungsten carbide rings. Prices starting at $99! Can’t argue with that.
Well, of course Grandma Jewelry can!
First she tells us that rings made from tungsten can’t be re-sized the way gold rings can. “As the years go on, you’ll find your fingers get a little pudgy.” Then she shares that her husband’s fingers got so big even his traditional gold wedding band can’t be sized to fit. She pointed to her wedding band. “I never let him forget that mine still fits.”
At this point I think this is the most adorable senior citizen north of the Florida panhandle. Even though my cynical side, which has been in fine form since my glasses broke, is piping in with, “she just wants to upsell you to the gold!”
Then Ol’ Granny Trinkets adds another candy to the anti-tungsten dish: “What if you have an accident? What if you close the car door on your hand? Tungsten rings are so hard they might not have the equipment to saw them off in the emergency room.”
I think my response was something along the lines of, “What? Really? What!”
She repeated her claim. “I told my nephew because he said he wanted one. I said, ‘What if you smash your hand up? Your fingers swell around that ring and you’re in serious trouble.’ He said, ‘Nah, worst case scenario you lose a finger.’”
I repeat: What! REALLY? WHAT!?
I don’t know what to make of Nana Sparkebright’s warning. It’s a jeweler’s job to sell more expensive metals. And it’s an adorable old lady’s job to impart her wisdom and look out for wayward engaged twentysomethings. I feel so conflicted! My weakness for sweet old ladies is butting up against my general skepticism regarding salespeople!
What say you all? Is this finger-killing tungsten ring thing an urban legend or a real danger?
June 22, 2010 at 10:15 pm
Thank goodness tungsten is in “vogue” according to ehow! Haha! And according to this lil link here, it’s totally a myth:
I think you should go with whatever you two like the most. I sometimes wish we had gone the Tungsten route, but the pawn shop only had gold and silver. So we chose gold. I think we just wanted to get the damn wedding bands off our to-do list. That and the price was right. We also felt like we were recycling so that was a bonus. p.s. the pawn shop had Godfather rings GALORE! I wanted one just to have one!
June 23, 2010 at 8:41 am
I love that you got your wedding bands from a pawn shop! Maybe a sweet couple in the next generation will go to a pawn shop to find theirs and the salesperson will say, “We’ve got a bunch of Tungsten rings.” The young couple will look up at him like they have no idea what he is talking about. “Oh, yeah… it flashed in the pan twenty years ago. Fell out of favor because people kept losing their fingers after freak accidents.”
February 10, 2012 at 4:55 pm
aiya why so many qnitseous and concerns… Go RSVP for our banquet in Hong Kong already!!!
June 22, 2010 at 10:54 pm
They can totally cut tungsten! Yeah, it’s more difficult than gold, which is a pretty soft metal, but it can be done and you don’t exactly need the jaws of life. She sounds cute though.
June 23, 2010 at 8:42 am
Hooray! Thanks for the fact check.
June 23, 2010 at 1:01 am
I heard that tungsten is pretty tough, same worst-case scenario stories and that it can’t just be re-sized. But the nice thing is it’ll never scratch and it’s not as expensive.
June 23, 2010 at 8:43 am
Plus it’s symbol on the periodic table is W, which appeals to Collin as a science geek and me as a general geek.
June 23, 2010 at 6:06 am
Man she’s really anticipating danger huh? I love that she’s like ‘ well what if when you are swimming with crocodiles they only chomp on your ring hand?? huh thought about that???’
June 23, 2010 at 8:44 am
Ha! Ring chomping crocs: film at 11.
June 23, 2010 at 9:19 am
We looked at tungsten rings too and were also warned about the possibility of not being able to remove it, but everyone we talked to about it said that that was just a rumor. I have a friend who has a tungsten ring and he loves it because it has been completely scratch resistant, it was inexpensive, and it is a cool color.
If you are still debating, check out Scott Kay’s cobalt line. It is also an alternative metal, inexpensive, and scratch resistant. It looks and feels like white gold. I don’t know that people would be able to tell the difference between the two (I know I can’t).
June 23, 2010 at 9:43 am
hahaaha! Thats great! and it reminds me of our talk with our young jeweler lady who saw that as a good thing – because “If you smash your hand, the ring can withstand more damage.” and I said, “Yeah, but at that point I’m more worried about his hand…not the dang ring.”
June 23, 2010 at 11:12 am
i’ve heard this about titanium, too, but haven’t researched it to find out if it’s true or a big ol’ lie. Looks like the tungsten thing, at least, might be a myth — good for fingers, bad for jewelers!
June 23, 2010 at 1:52 pm
Yeah, like Shae, I’ve heard this about titanium, but not tungsten. And if you smashed your hand in a door, won’t a unsmashable ring actually protect your finger?
Mr. Beagle is going with brushed sterling silver, so that the scratches will just blend in.
June 23, 2010 at 5:04 pm
I dunno about tungsten, but titanium is dangerous. plus gold is just BETTER.
June 23, 2010 at 5:29 pm
I love gold. Yellow gold especially. But I am trying not to put undue influence on Collin when he selects the metal for his band.
June 23, 2010 at 6:56 pm
I researched titanium a while back for my e-ring, and found out that the “you can’t cut it off: thing was a myth. But the “can’t resize it” thing isn’t, so I went with white gold. This was a good choice, since I already need the ring resized.
Also, palladium is a nice platinum or white gold alternative. I know you love yellow gold, but it’s a white platinum family metal with a warm yellow undertone for less money.
June 23, 2010 at 7:25 pm
Thanks for the input! Palladium also gets points for having a cool name.
June 26, 2010 at 10:04 am
don’t worry about the metal, except in terms of prettiness. i know a bloke who slipped while attempting to climb a spiky metal fence. his (gold) wedding ring caught on one of the spiky bits and ripped his finger mostly off. the doctors sort of reattached it, but it doesn’t work very well. i think the moral of this story is that jewellery is out to hurt and mangle us at every opportunity.
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