Health & Safety Risks associated with Contemporary Alternative Metal Wedding Bands

We have been asked several times if we carry alternative metal wedding bands ie: tungsten, stainless steel, titanium and cobalt. Or, if we can custom make rings out of these metals. While we can appreciate the look of this trend, it is not one we believe to be suitable for wedding bands for several reasons. For us at Laraci Ethical Jewelers our first and foremost concern is always the ecology of our our planet but in this case we are also deeply concerned about the safety issues of these alternative metal bands as well.

If you were to go into you local Emergency room with an injury to your hand or finger and your ring needed to be removed, these alternative metals can prove very problematic. The majority of modern urban hospitals will have a diamond tipped saw to remove the more standard silver, gold or platinum rings in about 10 seconds and around 1 minute for titanium and stainless steel. Unfortunately, these saws are rendered virtually useless with tungsten, taking 10 minutes to cut through the strongest metal on the planet (5 minutes of cutting with 5 minutes of cooling the saw intermittently). If you are in the ER you know that time is of the essence and the 10 minutes it would take to remove a tungsten band may not be an option. The cobalt ring cannot be cut, it needs to be shattered off with vice grips which could cause even further damage if the ring implodes causing possible nerve damage to your finger.

You may not think you would ever be in this situation, you don’t work with power tools etc but sometimes accidents happen. If you were to sustain major injuries and your finger was the least of your injuries and they had to spend more than 10 seconds cutting your ring off… we shudder to think. We don’t want to get to graphic here. we just want to give you pause for serious thought – life happens. It could be something as simple as a bee or wasp sting causing swelling to the hand and your ring is cutting off circulation so It needs to be removed in a timely manner (in 10 minutes without circulation you could start to sustain serious nerve damage to your finger).

We don’t ever think that these things are going to happen to us but they happen to people all of the time and for us, the risk is just not worth the trend.

There are a few other concerns we have with these alternative metal wedding bands. These metals are intended for a more industrial purpose and not necessarily suitable for wear. Cobalt is a known carcinogen and we worry about it’s properties leaching into the wearer’s bloodstream through the skin. We have the same concerns for titanium which is a heavy metal and could lead to heavy metal toxicity over time. Heavy metal toxicity is linked to many of today’s health issues, too many for us to accept these wedding rings as a viable option.

One more thought, statistics tell us that the average person has their wedding rings resized at least once in their lifetime. For most, the wedding band is sacred, signifying the bond, the promise you have made to each other and that particular ring is “the ring” and is not a throw away ring. However, in the case of all of these alternative metal wedding bands they are not resizable so would need to be replaced. Just one more negative in the long list.

*Worth noting: Some women’s eternity bands also pose similar problems if entirely encrusted with back to back gems