After much research and browsing, coming to a decision to go with a tungsten carbide ring for your wedding band or for any of your jewelry needs was a very sensible choice. While your research for your ring may have led you to some other facts about tungsten. While the US has deposits and other countries have some as well.
It may surprise you, but coming out of the earth, tungsten metal did not come out in the beautiful perfect circle that is soon to be the tungsten rings on your finger. As you can imagine, most tungsten can be found underground. Scheelite and wolframite, as you may recall are the names of the minerals where tungsten can be found, are found underground in long, narrow veins. To get to these veins, there are many different mining methods used to produce the jewelry you can find throughout the internet and in jewelry stores throughout the United States.
There are some open pit mining methods used to extract tungsten ore. Open-pit mining methods are used when the tungsten minerals are found in the earth’s surface, not requiring digging underground. The areas where open-pit mining occurs are usually referred to as quarries. These quarries or large pits are expanded until no more useful minerals can be extracted. This method is used more often in Australia and Canada to extract tungsten minerals. However, most tungsten deposits are found underground requiring underground mining methods.
The method of underground mining methods used depends largely on the mine and essentially what ends up being a more cost-effective and safe path. One method of mining tungsten ore comes from what is often referred to as “slashing out the ore”. Essentially, miners will drill directly into the tungsten ore deposit to carve out large chunks of the ore. While other mining operations could use what is often referred to in the mining world as “room-and-pillar” mining methods. This method involves essentially carving out rooms of the tungsten ore, while leaving many pillars to support the roof. As the process continues in this method, a series of rooms and pillars are developed. Essentially, a large room full minus a few pillars is extracted per area.
Despite the large amount of ore that is pulled out from either mining method mentioned or any other used, it is surprising to know that most tungsten minerals contain less than 1.5 percent useful tungsten. This is found in tungsten trioxide. In order to extract the useful minerals from the rock, crushing machines break down the ore into much smaller chunks. After this is accomplished, those chunks are then sent to an ore-dressing plant. Eventually and depending on the destination of the ore, what comes out, will become your new piece of jewelry.
From earth to your finger, the tungsten process is a very difficult and labor intensive process. It is extremely easy to not think about how your ring got to your finger, but once you do understand, it makes you appreciate your choice even more. A lot of hard mining work went in to find the material used to make your and many other fine pieces of tungsten carbide jewelry.