Modern Wedding Ring Materials and Ring Safety
In the past, I have focused a majority of my attention on the care and maintenance of your wood wedding ring (you can read about that here:
However, a common concern that clients have for my wood wedding rings, titanium, cobalt, and tungsten in particular, is whether or not they can be removed in an emergency situation.
Debunking the Myth
One of the concerns I am frequently asked is if a titanium or tungsten ring is a safe and viable option for a wedding ring, as many have heard that it cannot be removed in an emergency situation without amputation or further injuring the finger. This is simply no more true for titanium, cobalt, or tungsten than it is for gold, silver, or any other metal object you wear on your fingers. Should a finger become swollen, or injured while wearing a titanium or cobalt wedding ring, it can be cut off using a jeweler’s saw or dental saw. In these cases, it may be necessary to seek medical attention to get it properly removed, and this procedure may be uncomfortable for the wearer.
A tungsten wedding ring can also be removed in an emergency situation. A more scratch resistant material than titanium, tungsten’s hardness comes with the price of being a more brittle material. Because of this, tungsten is not cut off, but can be removed safely with vice grips, applying enough pressure that the metal is fractured or shattered. In the 21st century, it is just as common a procedure as cutting off a gold ring.
It is likely that this myth about titanium and tungsten wedding rings was created as a selling tool for jewelers to steer clients into purchasing softer, more expensive materials such as gold, and platinum rings. However, there are many benefits to owning a titanium, cobalt, or tungsten ring, such as their durability and longevity and is a great choice for those with allergies to certain metals. To read more about the durability of these metals and the other materials I offer, please read my blog post here:
With ANY wedding ring, regardless of material, the design, or who makes the ring, the wearer is at risk for an injury called ring avulsion and degloving. Ring avulsion is when a ring gets caught on an object (such as kitchen appliances, furniture, or metal equipment such as basketball hoops, weight machines, garbage trucks, etc) and gets pulled off rapidly and suddenly. The force and pressure of this can be as minor as a simple contusion, or can be as severe as degloving- when the tissues, including muscles, tendons, and bones, are stripped off. Degloving is not a common occurrence, but possible. In fact, Jimmy Fallon, the host of “The Tonight Show”, talked about his experience with degloving on national television in 2015 when his wedding ring got caught on the edge of a table when he fell. You can hear about his experience here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CztT_pBFQv8
There are some steps the wearer can take to prevent any injury while wearing a wedding ring. To start, be sure that you are properly sized as loose or improperly fitted rings put the wearer at higher risk for it getting caught on an object due to the open space between the ring and skin. Keep a couple things in mind: your fingers are slightly swollen in the morning (don’t ask me why), your fingers are larger during warm weather, your fingers are larger after a meal (especially after salty meals). This means that if you have your finger measured on a chilly evening before dinner, the result will be on the low end of your actual wedding ring size. To be 100% sure of ring size, I recommend getting professionally sized multiple times.
In addition, be sure to take the ring off during any type of physical activity, such as weight lifting, landscaping, moving furniture, etc., as the wedding ring can get caught on equipment. Also note, that your fingers will swell during these types of activities, and can also lead to a ring getting stuck on the finger due to the swelling.