Monday, 7 January 2013

Naughty, naughty Tungsten

After receiving a bulletin announcing that Lashbrook Designs will be pulling Tungsten Carbide options from their offerings (for now,) it peaked my curiosity.  So I did some investigative journalism.  The mineral Tungsten is scientifically known as Wolfram (W on the periodic table of elements).  It appears that Tungsten has been involved in all manor of trouble, making it the bad-boy of the mineral world.

Trent West (the Godfather of Tungsten Carbide jewellery) has been suing companies left-right and center in recent years over its’ 9 patents having to do with the production of Tungsten jewellery.  Of two recent defendants, one chose to enter a licensing agreement and another told Tungsten to go get stuffed. 

Tungsten has also been listed as a potential conflict material; as much of it comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Tungsten is so wily, it was discovered on the left ring-finger of Congressman Barney Frank, whose Dodd-Frank Consumer Protection Act requires public companies to monitor the origin of raw materials to avoid “conflict” minerals.  According to the Huffington Post, he and his husband have no idea if their rings contain Congolese Tungsten. 

Although Tungsten (W) lives five doors down from Gold (Au) on the periodic table of the elements, its’ density is almost identical to that of gold.  According to a New York Post Article, Tungsten has been going around dressed-up as gold to fool investors.

This “Tungsten” character can be one bad apple, but through all of these issues he seems to have survived with hardly a scratch. 

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