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There is a general conception circulating around that tungsten rings can’t be cut off in an emergency. This is perpetuated by some jewelers who say that you could end up with a seriously injured finger because in an emergency, tungsten is impossible to cut off.
Admittedly, tungsten is very difficult to work with. This is because tungsten is incredibly hard and brittle, ranking at a 9.5 on the Mohs scale. Just about the only thing that can scratch a tungsten band is a diamond. This makes tungsten difficult to mold, solder or work with in general.
However, this doesn’t mean that tungsten can’t be removed in an emergency. It just means that it literally can’t be cut off like most other rings. To reiterate – while tungsten cannot be cut off, it can definitely be safely removed when required.
Why Would You Need to Cut a Ring Off?
It’s hard to imagine parting with your wedding ring, especially on your special day. It symbolizes your commitment and love. However, life can be unpredictable, and there might be circumstances where you need to cut off your ring. Here’s why:
Emergency Hospital Trips
When you visit the hospital urgently, you may be asked to remove all jewelry. While taking off necklaces or bracelets is easy, a ring can be trickier. If medical staff can’t slide your ring off, they’ll cut it to ensure your health comes first.
The Ring Gets Tight
As we age, we might put on weight – and not just around our waist! Our fingers can also change size. Your ring, however, remains the same. Over time, your ring might become too tight and cause discomfort or even cut off blood flow. In this case, cutting it off might be the safest choice.
Other Possible Scenarios
Injuries can cause your finger to swell quickly and the ring to become stuck, whether it’s a sprain, fracture, or bee sting. Similarly, certain jobs involving machinery might require quick ring removal to avoid injuries.
If your ring can’t be removed quickly and safely, cutting it off might be the best course of action.
Choosing a ring that can be safely removed in these scenarios is an essential factor to consider when picking your wedding bands.
Should You Always Choose a Ring That Can Be Cut Off?
Some rings can be cut off in case of emergencies, and later they can be fixed without anyone knowing they were cut. However, in certain situations, it’s better to have a ring that can’t be cut but will break under pressure.
This means the ring won’t be usable after breaking, but it might be safer during an immediate emergency.
Rings can be dangerous, causing unexpected harm. The main problems with rings that can be cut are ring avulsions and cuts. Ring avulsion happens when a strong force pulls on the ring and harms or removes the finger along with the ring.
On the other hand, if the metal bends without shattering, it can cut into the finger and cause severe injuries.
To avoid such risks, it’s recommended to remove rings before doing manual work or playing sports. However, accidents can happen at any time, which is why some people prefer tungsten or ceramic rings that can’t be cut but will shatter under extreme force.
If the ring gets crushed or pulled, it’s more likely to break instead of causing severe injuries to the finger or pulling it off. This makes it a safer option for those concerned about potential injuries from wearing wedding bands.
How is a Tungsten Ring Removed?
So how is a tungsten ring removed? Because tungsten is extremely brittle, it doesn’t bend when subject to extreme force or pressure. Instead, it shatters or cracks into smaller pieces.
This in itself is an attractive option.
Think about it. If you’re wearing a gold or platinum ring, and your finger gets crushed, the ring will bend into your finger, causing pain and injury. If you’re wearing a tungsten ring and this happens, the ring will crack and fall off your finger, reducing the likelihood of injury.
If there’s a medical emergency, removing a tungsten ring is fairly easy. There are a few different ways to do it.
1. Using a Hammer
Use a hammer to strike your tungsten ring around the band. Take care when doing this as you don’t want to strike the ring too hard and cause injury to your finger. After a few strikes, the ring gets ‘softened’ and eventually falls apart. This video demonstrates this:
2. Using Pliers
This is probably the more practical and safer way to remove a tungsten ring in an emergency. Most hospitals and emergency rooms use this method, and often have specific equipment on site that does the job. Using a pair of vice grip pliers, or similar tool, gently squeeze on the ring until it fractures and falls off your finger.
It typically doesn’t take more than 3 or 4 cracks with the pliers for the ring to shatter. Check out how to do this safely in the following video:
Ceramic wedding bands are also removed in the same way as tungsten, using a vice to shatter the ring. Most other metals, like gold, silver, titanium, palladium, cobalt, and tantalum, are removed using traditional ring-cutting devices like a jeweler’s saw. If your tungsten ring has an inlay of bendable metal, then both removal methods will have to be used – first, shatter the tungsten and then cut the precious metal inlay.
Interestingly, while some people make it seem as if tungsten is dangerous to wear because of this ‘difficult to cut’ characteristic, in reality, metals like titanium or cobalt take much longer to remove, making them more of a hazard.
As one reader so aptly put it:
In an emergency, a tungsten ring isn’t any more difficult to remove than a gold or platinum ring. In fact, it might actually be easier to remove and therefore safer because it can easily be shattered with vice grip pliers.
If you want to learn more about tungsten rings, read our guide here.
Choosing a Safe Wedding Ring
Accidents can occur, and while no one plans to cut their wedding band, emergencies may require removing it quickly. The choice of metal determines how the ring will respond in such situations.
Some metals can easily survive emergency cutting, while others, like tungsten rings, shatter upon impact, reducing the risk of injuries during accidents.