Titanium vs Gold as Wedding Bands For Your Finger’s Safety

Giant Bolt Cutters Used to Remove Titanium Wedding Band

I’m Quoted in an NPR Article on a Man Trapped in a Titanium Wedding Band Overnight.                                                             Andrej Slalibi and Andrew N. Morritt/Emergency Medical Journal

In this post I talk about titanium vs gold wedding bands and why titanium is a bad choice.

Why be boring I say, so here is a story to illustrate why titanium is a poor wedding band choice for your finger’s safety.

Update: June 2, 2018

A rattlesnake bit a river rafter. He was stuck in his titanium ring at hospital. A jeweler saved his finger. See story at the bottom of the page.

You and Your Titanium Wedding Band in the Woods

Picture this, you’re out in the country having a beautiful day off. You’re walking with the woman you love. Miles away from the nearest small town, clean air with scudding clouds, no sound of airplanes, no electric wires, no cell reception, just good conversation and good exercise.

You’re just finishing your picnic lunch and you get bitten on the left arm by a wasp. Ouch. And soon you’re feeling that swelling feeling and know you need to get back to the car and get some ice. Too late you notice your fingers are swelling and your wedding ring finger is puffy and red in front of your wedding band.

Your Purple Finger

Huge wrench and dude

You Have to Get Pretty Hardcore to Remove Titanium Wedding Bands

You can’t get off your band. You freak out a bit, but don’t let her know. Back to the car, you have her driving and your wedding finger is now purple. Finally you have cell reception and you Google maps the nearest emergency room. Dang, it’s really small and there’s hardly anyone there.

The nurse says, “What’s your ring made of honey?”

“Titanium.”

“Oh.”

Your finger is approaching that blueish color. If you were at a larger emergency room they’d have a motorized rotary ring saw that could get your titanium band off in about ten minutes. But that is not where you are. You are in budget-strapped-Podunk-emergency-room-land.

“If you had a gold band or platinum, we just saw it right off. But you’ve got one of those hard metals. I’ll go get Ralph, I’ve got the arthritis and can’t turn that ring saw wheel anymore. Sorry honey.”

Your Life in Hell, Thanks to Your Titanium Wedding Band

sawing off ring

Hand ring saw for gold and platinum. Won’t remove titanium.

Who knows how long it’ll take them to make the first saw cut through your wedding band with their hand twisting ring saw. And they have to cut it in two places, so it’ll break apart in half. That is not a scenario I’d like to live through as you or as your wife.

According to Mark Mehaffey MD, emergency room doctor of St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in Houston Texas, wearing a titanium wedding band “puts your finger at unnecessary risk.”

See the full interview where Dr. Mahaffey explains why super hard metals are a danger to your finger if you don’t have easy access to a fully equipped emergency room.

Doctor Says – Don’t Chose Super Hard Metal Wedding Bands

Spreading Pliers, titanium vs gold

When You Squeeze the Plier’s Handles It Spreads the Ring Apart.

Short story long, don’t choose super hard metals for your wedding band. Go with gold or platinum which can be sawed off easily with a hand operated ring saw.

Incidentally if you need your gold or platinum ring sawed off, your jeweler can put them back together at the correct size. Super hard metal rings like titanium, tungsten and stainless steel cannot be repaired. Unfortunately they can only be replaced.

Titanium vs Gold Wedding Bands and Your Story

I prefer a wedding band that changes with you. And if you end up with some adventurous story of being wasp stung and needing your ring sawed off, wouldn’t it be cool to have had gold or platinum be your band, then when you tell your story you can point to your ring and say, “yes, this is my ring! Still here.”

It’s About Your Wedding Finger

In this post I’m opposing titanium because of the difficulty of removing it in the event of an accident or allergic reaction. I have other reasons I think it’s not a good choice as a wedding band. Please see my other post about titanium and tungsten, Don’t Wear Titanium or Tungsten Wedding Bands.

Update: May 27th 2014

Image - DEX Media

Image – DEX Media

I’m sharing a comment from Jennifer Parks:
We just went through a very similar scenario to the one you posted. My husband and I were camping and he went down a slide, catching his finger on the bolt at the top. As soon as he got to the bottom he was trying to pull the gold ring off, to no avail. We had to drive a half our to the nearest hospital, it was not really a Podunk one, but somewhere in between ;) Anyway they had two ring cutters and BOTH blades were dull. 1/2 hour after we got to the hospital the ring was still stuck on his finger. Finally there was a paramedic in the ER that got a new cutter of his unit and they got it off. 9 stitches later, we are good and on the road to a complete recovery, but I can’t imagine what would have happened if it took much longer to get it off. He had already lost feeling in the finger and the finger was cold from blood loss. I am currently looking for a safer ring for him. I don’t want to go through that again!

Thank you Jennifer for letting me share your story.

Update: August 13, 2015

500px-National_Public_Radio_logo.svg

I was quoted in an NPR article on titanium rings and their danger. A man wearing a titanium band was hospitalized overnight as they struggled to remove his titanium wedding band. He had taken a long hot bath and his finger had swelled up. He didn’t have an accident or get a sports injury, he took a bath! I rest my case.

Update: June 2, 2018

Live News Five has video and a story of kayaker bitten by a rattlesnake.

What isn’t in the story is the fact that the hospital couldn’t remove the patient’s titanium ring. They were prepping him for surgery to cut off his finger, when a staffer called his jeweler, Mack

DeWayne Thomas owner of InFingers Jewelry in Walterboro, South Carolina.

Mack dropped everything, grabbed his equipment and made it to the hospital in time to save the young man’s finger.  What a hero. If he hadn’t been there, titanium would have robbed a young man of a finger.

Lest you fear kayaking due to rattlesnakes, the young man picked it up out of the water and was bitten multiple times. His friends killed it and brought it with them to the hospital. Hence the picture of the snake in a bucket. And for good measure a picture of the ring after it was sawed off with professional equipment by Mack. Mack is quite the hero. 

Your Personal Jeweler,
Calla Gold

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About Calla Gold

Calla Gold is a Personal Jeweler and Author who takes pride in working with clients one-on-one to integrate their personal sense of style and taste into custom designed jewelry and repaired jewelry pieces.   Unlike typical Santa Barbara jewelry businesses, Calla Gold has no brick-and-mortar location. Calla Gold comes to you, bringing you the jewelry collection you want to see and collaborating with you to create unique custom jewelry. Calla also works with at-a-distance clients.

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Linda Havlik
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Linda Havlik

I can see why young people want to be different than their parents by choosing another type of metal for their wedding rings, BUT this article gives convincing reasons to re-think that move. There is a reason people have gotten married with gold and platinum for so long.
I didn’t realize that the alternative metals posed a hazard to a man’s fingers. Further reason to not wear harder alternate metals daily. Stay with the classics! Outstanding story Calla!

Tracey D
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Tracey D

I’m guessing a lot of guys would say, my finger will be fine or I’d pull it off before it swells. But that might not be possible.
It was interesting to hear from that ER Dr. Not something that I think about usually. But certainly food for thought.
I liked your story.
T.

Nick Walker
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Nick Walker

Calla, I had no idea about the quality of titanium bands until now. Based on the facts you have provided, titanium is not the best choice and there are better alternatives for choosing a wedding band. Both style and quality should be observed when making a choice for a ring. I admire the use of the scenario you provided to really visualize and think about how titanium is not the best choice because it is a harder metal. Thanks so much for this information. Until now, I had no idea about the comparative metal quality of titanium bands compared to… Read more »

Linda Menesez
Guest

Another great post, Calla! As someone who has serious allergies, this caught my attention. Your story cleverly illustrated your point! I’ve had my wedding ring for a very long time, but if I hear of anyone considering alternative metals for a ring, this will definitely come to my mind.

Linda

Francis Jansen
Guest

Gee, that is an interesting perspective as to the kind of metal to choose.
I have always thought it somewhat dangerous for people that use their hands a lot with hard work etc, to wear a ring at all while doing dicey work. Knowing that gold rings can be sawed off and titanium is much harder is knowledge I’m pleased to know. Thanks Calla for the great article.

Patricia Schwartz
Guest

Calla,
I absolutely agree with you when you say that this is not a situation you would like to be in. This situation sounds scary and painful. I’m still cringing at the thought of that happening to me or someone close. This post very perfectly illustrates why sticking with a traditional metal for a wedding ring is the safest and smartest way to go. Thank you for sharing this bit of information, I’ll be sure to pass it along.

Jennifer Parks
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Jennifer Parks

Calla, We just went through a very similar scenario to the one you posted. My husband and I were camping and he went down a slide, catching his finger on the bolt at the top. As soon as he got to the bottom he was tryign to pull the gold ring off, to no avail. We had to drive a half our to the nearest hospital, it was not really a Podunk one, but somewhere in between 😉 Anyway they had two ring cutters and BOTH blades were dull. 1/2 hour after we got to the hospital the ring was… Read more »

Lawrence Cole
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Lawrence Cole

Dear Calla Firstly, I would like to point out to you that wasps usually don’t “bite” people, they sting. If a wasp were to bite you you would hardly feel it. Secondly, I work in a jewelry store that sells titanium rings along with gold, silver, tungsten and platinum. I am getting tired of explaining to customers that these spurious stories about titanium rings are just that: stories made up by jewellers to push their customers onto more expensive metals. Titanium is no more difficult to cut than steel, and all ERs are equipped to deal with it. For me,… Read more »

Piotr
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Piotr

Dear Calla,
What is the source of your story? Did you make it up or did it really happen? How do we know that this story is true? What is the probability of being stung by a wasp in an arm and having a finger so swollen as a result of it not to be able to remove the ring? Why don’t you present a simple, fact-based side-by side comparison of pros and cons of each metal?
Piotr

Gregory Cottage
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Gregory Cottage

Wow, I mean, wow. Makes me even more grateful that my wife’s vintage wedding ring is made out of palladium.

Thomas Norman
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Thomas Norman

Great point on ring safety when it comes to getting them cut off. But no one has mentioned the dangers of wearing certain toxic metals against your skin, which leads to a lot of health issues. Palladium is one of the worst and likened to mercury in its toxicity levels, other metals are coated with rhodium which is also very toxic.

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