Nate answers some of the most frequently asked questions about black zirconium wedding bands by Spexton.
1. What is Black Zirconium?
Zirconium begins as a grayish white metal that is very similar to Titanium--it is relatively lightweight, is skin-friendly (no nickel), and is primarily used in nuclear reactors due to its high heat and corrosion resistance. Once heated, the exposed portion of the metal oxidizes black, feeling much like a ceramic.
2. How does Black Zirconium compare to Tungsten?
Unlike Tungsten rings, which can shatter, Black Zirconium rings are shatterproof. Spexton's Black Zirconium rings are jet black in color, and are similar in weight to titanium--much lighter than Tungsten. Because we handcraft each of our Black Zirconium rings to order, we are able to offer endless customizations such as size, width, thickness, texture, inlay metals, so that your ring is a true original. Because tungsten rings are mass produced there is nothing inherently special or unique about them--and no options to customize.
3. Can Black Zirconium Wedding Rings be cut off the finger if necessary?
Black Zirconium Rings, as well as Titanium and Steel rings can be cut off of the finger if necessary by medical personnel. It is a widely circulated myth that these types of metals cannot be cut off, and there's an interesting article on the leading myth debunking website, Snopes.com, that gives an in-depth review of this falsity about contemporary metal wedding bands.
Spexton has handmade scores of thousands of titanium, zirconium, steel and other contemporary metal bands since our inception in 2003 and have never had any issues with safe ring removal.
4. How are Spexton Black Zirconium Wedding Bands different than others?
First and foremost, the vast majority of all mens wedding bands are mass-produced overseas, especially if they're made out of metals like Tungsten, Titanium, Cobalt, Steel, Zirconium, etc.
Spexton is an American custom handmade design studio. We believe that of all the mass-produced things you buy in life, your wedding ring should not be one of them. This is the guiding principle for all of our production techniques. Unlike mass-produced men's wedding bands, our customizable Black Zirconium rings are each made one-at-a-time in our studio using only manual lathes. This means that we hand carve every one of our wedding rings, black zirconium or otherwise, without the use of computers. This is like having an artist paint an original painting for you, vs. purchasing a print of one of their works.
At Spexton, when we make a Black Zirconium ring we begin by cutting the design out of solid zirconium bar and then shape the design on our manual lathes. When ready, we heat the ring using a process we have perfected that causes the outer portion of the zirconium to oxidize to the black you see on the finished rings. We follow the firing process with additional steps that further harden the zirconium making it extremely resistant to surface scratching.
By blending unique finishes, textures, and inlays such as rose gold and diamonds, our black wedding bands are extremely durable, expertly polished, and unlike anything you can purchase in any jewelry store (except the Spexton store, of course).
5. How will Black Zirconium Rings hold up to daily wear? Will they scratch?
With normal daily wear black zirconium rings are extremely durable. Our assistant machinist wears one daily and is constantly knocking it against metal surfaces and it looks great after a year.
If you scrape it hard across the pavement, wear it rock climbing, smash it against very abrasive surfaces, or cut it with diamonds, you can cut through the oxidized layer and reveal the white metal. A totally impossible to scratch black wedding ring material does not exist.
That said, you will need to be actively abusing the ring or have a serious accident in order to reveal the white. If you know you're going to be digging in gravel, doing something where you should be absolutely wearing gloves but aren't, or are performing any type of job where jewelry is forbidden for safety reasons to begin with, then obviously take off any and all jewelry.
I'll also point out: we use a diamond tip to engrave our rings. When using the diamond to cut into the surface we can engrave about 100 titanium rings before the tip of the diamond becomes dull and needs to be replaced. With our Black Zirconium we can only engrave about 5 rings before the diamond is completely worn out from cutting into the zirconium--it is just that hard.
If you have any questions about our Black Zirconium Ring collection, or any of our other items, give us a shout!