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
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?”
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,