Copper Iridium Alloy Wedding Band?

by Alicia
(Houston, TX)

My fiancé likes the color of a copper ring and the idea of using iridium. Is that possible? Would oxidation tarnish the metal alloy like it would with pure copper?

Thanks


Hi Alicia,

Unfortunately, a copper-iridium alloy ring is probably not possible – or cost effective – to create. Two potentials issues which would arise when trying to make this alloy include:

1. Iridium has an extremely high melting point at around 4,436°F while copper has a pretty low melting point at around 1,984°F and a low boiling point of 4,644°F. This would mean that to create an iridium-copper alloy, by the time the iridium is melting the copper would already be practically to the point of boiling. And so creating this type of alloy would require a high level of metallurgical expertise and equipment.

Just as an aside, the reason small amounts of iridium can be alloyed with platinum is because platinum has a high melting point of 3,215°F but even more importantly an extremely high boiling point of 6,917°F.




2. Iridium is also one of the rarest elements on earth – and is highly valued. So, combining this rare and expensive metal with an inexpensive and abundant metal like copper wouldn’t make much sense from a value/financial point – particularly because it would cost so much in terms of equipment etc. just to try to make the alloy.

In nature, iridium is sometimes found alloyed with copper – but this is a natural process that occurred when the earth’s crust was molten hot! The only time I’ve ever heard of a copper-iridium alloy that was man-made was through these ancient “rice-pulling” copper-iridium coins that supposedly had mystical properties – but needless to say they were proven to be fakes.

So, I think sadly we’ll have to scratch a wedding ring made with a copper-iridium alloy off the list of possibilities for your fiancé.

Moving on to a pure copper ring – while copper does display an absolutely lovely color, a copper wedding band would require a lot of TLC to stay in good shape. Copper is an extremely soft and malleable metal, and when exposed to the air it quickly develops a tarnish. A copper wedding band could easily become bent, dinged and scratched with light to medium knocks and it would need to be cleaned frequently to remove the tarnish.

Copper rings are also notorious for leaving a green ring on fingers. This occurs when the copper begins to react with the air and natural oils and sweat on the skin.

Also, copper has very high electricity and heat conducting properties. And this can be a concern sometimes for rings – especially for people who work in capacities where high temperatures or electricity are involved.

And so, beautiful as copper is – it isn’t a good metal to use in its pure form for every day wear wedding bands.

But – if your fiancé likes the color of copper, then he may also enjoy the color of red gold. Rings made with red gold are available in a wide range of colors – from light pink to a more dark copper-like tone – depending on the alloy used to create the red gold.

The higher karat rose/red gold alloys too – including 14k and 18k red gold – will stand up pretty well to every day wear and only need an occasional polish and buff to remain in excellent condition. You can find out more about Rose Gold Wedding Bands at this link.

I hope this answers your question – but do write back if you have any additional questions!

Congratulations and best wishes on your engagement too!

Suzanne Gardner
Everything Wedding Rings

Click here to post comments

Click here to return to Wedding Ring Questions.