Comparing Men’s Wedding Bands: Cobalt vs Tantalum
Which metal is best for male wedding rings? Jordan Jack compares two of our favorites.Posted | Updated
If comparing wedding ring metals is your thing, we know you loved our Titanium vs Tungsten Showdown. Now we’re back, but this time we’re comparing cobalt and tantalum to find out which is the better metal for male wedding bands.
We all know that gold and silver wedding bands have been the most popular kids at school since the advent of wedding jewelry, but the alternative kids are starting to sneak in...and they’re getting attention.
While there’s no doubt that traditional metals will continue to rule in the popularity department, newer materials like titanium, tungsten, stainless steel, and carbon fiber are definitely making their mark thanks to their durability and modern look and feel. With all of these new options it can be tough to figure out which to choose when shopping for male wedding bands.
So, without further ado, let’s have two of our favorite metals go mano-a-mano. Like fisticuffs in the schoolyard, cobalt and tantalum are here to battle for status. Let’s see how these metals compare in each of ten categories.
Here’s Jordan Jack’s Cobalt vs Tantalum Showdown:
1. Strength & Durability
Cobalt is much stronger than the precious metals due to its density and because it is alloyed with other strong metals for use in jewelry. It has a very high strength-to-weight ratio and excellent wear-resistance, so male engagement rings made of cobalt can withstand the rigors of daily wear over a lifetime. Cobalt is often used in medical and dental devices and implants and many other mechanical components such as wind turbines and engines.
Tantalum likewise is alloyed to make it stronger and bring out its best characteristics. Like cobalt, tantalum is a very strong metal with tough applications outside of the jewelry world including medical and dental prosthetics and devices, jet engine components, and parts for tanks, missiles, and nuclear reactors. Tantalum is a great choice for male wedding rings because of its ability to handle a lifetime of wear.
2. Hardness/Scratch Resistance
Coming in at 7-8 on the Mohs scale (diamond is the hardest at 10), cobalt is highly scratch resistant. Cobalt is four times harder than platinum and can take a beating. Over time your cobalt ring may get a few minor scratches but these become part of the character of your ring and nothing needs to be done about them.
At 6.5 on the Mohs scale, tantalum is also impressively scratch resistant. It is possible to develop minor scratches over time that will not affect the beauty or performance of your ring.
3. Tarnish & Corrosion Resistance
Cobalt is very resistant to tarnish and corrosion. It is an inert metal and will not tarnish, rust or fade. It keeps its beautiful shine and luster all of its life with no special plating or coating. It will not develop a patina or any kind of tarnish even with intense wear.
Tantalum is quite possibly the most corrosion-resistant of all wedding ring metals. It is one of the most acid-resistant metals and has been proven to corrode only when subjected to hydrofluoric acid. Since we doubt you’ll be dipping your ring-clad hand into hydrofluoric acid, we feel pretty confident in saying that your tantalum ring won’t corrode. Tantalum also does not tarnish but it may develop a unique patina over the years.
Winner: Cobalt for tarnish-resistance since its look will never change. Tantalum for corrosion resistance due to its extreme ability to withstand exposure to chemicals.
4. Crack Resistance
Male wedding bands made of cobalt are very resistant to chipping or breakage. If dropped you can rest assured that your cobalt ring will survive unscathed. Under intense pressure cobalt will bend, but the pressure required to bend it is unlikely to be encountered on your finger.
Like cobalt, tantalum rings are resistant to shattering, chipping, and breakage. Tantalum easily withstands daily wear, even for those whose work is rough on the hands. While it is possible to bend tantalum, the amount of pressure required to bend it is unlikely to be encountered.
Cobalt feels fantastic on your finger. It is smooth and has a heft that’s very similar to white gold. Its weight is the Goldilocks of wedding ring metals...not too heavy, not too light, just right.
Want the perfect marriage between a hefty look and ultra-comfortable feel?
Take a peek at Jordan Jack’s Cobalt Two-Tone Rose Gold Tone and White Band.
A heavier wedding ring material, tantalum is perfect for those who like a more solid, masculine feel. Tantalum gives a substantial weight on the finger.
For those who want a black men’s wedding band that looks hefty and strong, our Black Tantalum Groove Center Band checks all the boxes.
Those who like a neutral weight ring will prefer cobalt while those who like more heft on their finger will choose tantalum.
Both cobalt and tantalum are used in medical and dental implants and also in surgical instruments. They are hypoallergenic and biocompatible and will not cause skin reactions. Both are excellent choices for people with skin allergies or sensitivities.
7. Versatility and Design Potential
Cobalt has the stunning look of platinum or white gold without the need for rhodium plating. It is a bright white metal with limitless design potential. It can be made in several colors and completed with many finishes.
For the classic look of a white gold or platinum ring, this Cobalt Band with Satin Finish Center is a timeless choice. And for men searching for the perfect black wedding band, the answer can be found in our Cobalt Black Etched V Design Band.
Typically greyish in color with a hint of blue and naturally very shiny, tantalum is also very versatile and can come in several colors and finishes. Its design potential is unlimited.
Our Tantalum Gunmetal Scratch Finish Band combines the steely gray of tantalum with a modern gunmetal scratch finish and smooth inner band. Showing off the versatility of tantalum, this Tantalum Two-Tone Rose and Black Frozen Center features a beautiful combination of finishes and colors.
Clean your cobalt ring with regular mild soap and water and dry with a soft cloth. Every few years you may want to take your ring to a jeweler for a professional cleaning to keep it looking its best.
Like cobalt, tantalum rings need no special care. Cleaning with water and mild soap and drying with a soft cloth will be sufficient to care for your tantalum ring. Storing your band (whatever its made of) in a soft cloth pouch will also prevent other jewelry from bumping against it and causing nicks and scratches.
Winner: Tie. Both are low-maintenance materials for wedding bands.
9. Engraving & Resizing
Cobalt rings can be laser engraved but are very difficult to resize. Be sure to get your size right the first time with our handy downloadable ring sizer.
Tantalum rings are highly malleable and are easily engraved.
More affordable than the precious metals, cobalt offers a stunning option for those on a budget. Prices vary greatly depending on the options you choose, such as adding diamonds to your band.
For the budget-conscious:
This gorgeous Cobalt Two-Tone Scratch Finish Satin Band combines two time-honored looks.
Check out our head-turning Cobalt and Stainless Steel 1/10 CTTW Diamond Band.
Tantalum is a rare metal and is becoming scarcer. As such, it tends to be slightly more expensive than other alternative metals but is still less expensive than precious metals like platinum and gold.
If you love the timelessness of sterling silver wedding bands but want a sturdier look and feel, check out Jordan Jack’s Tantalum Milgrain Band.
Another great style for those who love silver wedding bands is this Tantalum Two-Tone Ridge Design featuring a gleaming gold ion center.
Winner: It depends.
As a base material tantalum is a bit more expensive but price of the final ring fluctuates based on design choices.
Who’s the Ultimate Winner?
You are! Both cobalt and tantalum are excellent metals for male engagement rings and male wedding bands, particularly if you work hard with your hands. Weigh out all the strengths of these two metals and make your choice...you can’t go wrong with either!
Jordan Jack’s Selection of Cobalt and Tantalum Rings
Visit Jordan Jack to see our unique selection of cobalt and tantalum rings. Our Home Try On service is an easy, hassle-free way to shop for male engagement rings and we pride ourselves on our quality and affordability.