Alternative metals for men’s wedding rings have been increasing in popularity as more young couples choose non-traditional options. Tantalum is one such metal that’s recently entered the wedding band arena.
There are pros and cons to choosing tantalum for your wedding ring but generally, most people agree that the pros outweigh the cons.
But before we go into that, let’s first learn a little about this intriguing metal.
- Facts About Tantalum
- Pros of Tantalum – Reasons to Get a Tantalum Wedding Ring
- Cons of Tantalum – Reasons Not to Get a Tantalum Wedding Ring
- Should I Buy a Tantalum Wedding Band?
Facts About Tantalum
High polish tantalum wedding ring. Find it here.
If you know nothing about tantalum, here’s a quick overview:
- Much of the tantalum mined comes from Australia and South America, although you can find smaller deposits in other parts of the world too.
- Tantalum has a gray color with a touch of blue. It’s typically found alongside nobium as well as thorium and uranium (two radioactive elements). Don’t worry though – tantalum isn’t radioactive.
- It’s extremely rare and it’s believed that there’s only about 50 years’ worth of tantalum left. Like tanzanite, this is a resource that’s going to run out in our lifetimes, unless new deposits are found.
- Although tantalum was discovered in 1802, it’s only recently that the metal began to be used in jewelry. It’s mainly used to make tantalum capacitors for electronic equipment.
- The name tantalum comes from the Greek mythical character, Tantalus, doomed for all eternity to stand in water with fruit hanging just out of his reach. Tantalum, like the character it’s named after, doesn’t get negatively impacted by being immersed in liquids, notably acids.
Pros of Tantalum – Reasons to Get a Tantalum Wedding Ring
Now that we know a little more about tantalum, let’s get right to it. Here’s a list of the advantages of this metal, reasons to support buying a tantalum wedding ring.
Hammered tantalum by The Wooden Circle Co. See it here.
Tantalum is highly versatile and comes in a range of shades, finishes and textures.
The typical color for tantalum rings is gray but it comes in (maybe 50?) shades of gray, ranging from very light gray to almost-black shades.
In terms of finishes, the metal can be crafted into popular ring finishes such as matte, satin, brushed and high polish.
The metal can also be textured, featuring styles like hammered, bark, volcanic rock and even more unique styles like this lunar surface ring.
Tantalum is also popularly set with inlays or paired with different metals to add contrast and visual texture to the wedding ring.
The style of the ring highlights tantalum’s color and luster and showcases its characteristics.
Tantalum is a hard and durable metal. Find this here.
For a wedding ring, you’d be looking for a tough, durable metal that won’t scratch or damage easily. Tantalum is one such metal.
What’s more, it also doesn’t tarnish, corrode or shatter, making it perfect for people who use their hands a lot for work, or deal with chemicals.
Note that if tantalum comes into contact with hydrofluoric acid, it will start to rust, but how often do you think that would happen anyway?
Here are a few more benefits of tantalum – it’s an inert metal so it doesn’t react to other metals (e.g. no magnetism), it’s one of the most acid-resistant metals (with the sole exception of hydrofluoric acid), and it doesn’t conduct heat.
Like many of the tough industrial metals used for wedding rings today, tantalum also doesn’t need any special care to keep it lustrous and clean. Sometimes, tantalum can develop a patina that comes from exposure and scratches but this can be professionally polished off.
Follow common sense cleaning steps to keep your tantalum wedding ring clean like avoiding harsh chemicals and using mild soaps and a soft brush.
Tantalum is extremely rare as I’ve mentioned above and experts believe that this metal will run out in the future. For such a rare metal, tantalum is priced reasonably.
However, unlike other industrial metals like ceramic, titanium, tungsten or cobalt, tantalum is much pricier. It’s not as expensive as gold or platinum, but it’s not exactly cheap either.
To put it into perspective, compare these very similar tantalum and titanium rings. There’s a difference of over $200 in price.
Tantalum wedding band. Find it here.
Similar titanium wedding band. Find it here.
The ring design and other embellishments add to the overall cost of the piece. Sometimes, a well-crafted tantalum ring can be as costly as rings made out of precious metals.
This is a big one for people with metal allergies. Luckily, tantalum is hypoallergenic and bio-compatible. This characteristic is why tantalum is often used in the medical and dental industries to create equipment.
Most industrial metals, like tungsten, titanium, carbon fiber or ceramic, can’t be resized easily. This means that as your finger size changes, you would have to change the ring too.
Tantalum is easy to work with and easily resized. In this respect, it’s similar to gold or platinum. It bends rather than shatters and can be easily cut out in an emergency.
Cons of Tantalum – Reasons Not to Get a Tantalum Wedding Ring
With all these pros, you might be wondering if there can be any downsides to buying tantalum. Unfortunately, there’s always two sides to any coin – in this case, ring.
1- Limited Designs for Women
Tantalum wedding ring by Anthony Alferev Rings. See it here.
If you’re after a delicate, feminine tantalum ring, you might have to search for a long time. There aren’t many ring styles for women coming in tantalum, which can be frustrating for a woman who wants something different for her wedding ring. On the flip side, there’s a wide range of men’s tantalum rings and you could always request a more feminine band to be custom made.
2- Conflict Resource
One controversial feature of tantalum is that it’s listed as a conflict resource in the Congo. The sale of tantalum was used to fund wars and conflicts in this region.
Another point is that mining tantalum has ethical and sustainability issues, in terms of environmental impact.
However, approximately 99% of tantalum comes from other regions, like Australia, where it’s mined more responsibly. The amount of tantalum that comes from these conflict zones is very low.
For people who want a precious metal, tantalum won’t be a good choice because it’s still classed as an industrial or alternative metal. It’s a counter-culture wedding band metal and not suitable for someone who loves tradition.
Also, there’s the worry that tantalum could simply be a trendy metal and not one that will turn into a classic. Unlike gold or platinum, which have been tried and tested, tantalum is still new. How will it perform years down the track?
Should I Buy a Tantalum Wedding Band?
Tantalum ring with white gold inner lining. See it here.
The decision to buy a wedding ring is highly personal and choosing the style of ring depends on a range of factors, including budget, appearance and personal values.
A tantalum ring offers a lot in terms of durability, wearability and ring designs. While it might not be the most popular or classic wedding ring metal, it has a neutral look and color that’s bound to be in style.
It’s also an excellent choice for someone intrigued by science and technology but may not be ideal if environmental issues are a priority for you.
If you’re looking for a tantalum ring, we recommend checking out the following shops, which have small but excellent tantalum rings on offer.
- James Allen – 360-degree video shows you the ring from all angles, as well as excellent customer service, facilitated shopping experience and great after sales policies.
- Blue Nile – offers great prices, excellent after sales policies and high-quality products
- Etsy – for a wide variety, from the classic to the whimsical, there’s a wide range of tantalum rings here to suit all budgets.