What are Ring Cutters?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ring cutters are tools which can be used to cut rings. These tools are kept by many jewelers, as they often have cause to cut through rings when they are making size adjustments or performing other tasks. They are also commonly stocked in emergency response kits, ambulances, and emergency rooms so that rings can quickly and safely be removed from the fingers of patients during medical emergencies. Funeral homes and autopsy facilities also commonly maintain a set of ring cutters so that rings can be removed from the dead if necessary.

Wedding rings may need to be cut off, since most people rarely remove them.
Wedding rings may need to be cut off, since most people rarely remove them.

Some ring cutters are designed specifically to be used on rings alone. They may include a small jeweler's saw to cut quickly through the metal, or other types of blades. These devices are not safe to use on a ring which is stuck on someone's finger. Ring cutters designed for this purpose have a blade guard which can be slipped between the ring cutter and the finger, ensuring that the finger is not damaged when the ring is cut through so that it can be removed.

A person putting on a ring.
A person putting on a ring.

There are a number of reasons for rings to become stuck on fingers. One of the most common is weight gain, with wedding rings in particular being prone to becoming stuck because people rarely remove them. Another is illness or disease which causes swelling or clubbing in the fingers. For example, people with congestive heart disease often have swollen fingers, as do pregnant women, and individuals with arthritis may develop such severe swelling and twisting in their fingers that it is not possible to slip rings off.

It may also be necessary to cut a ring off because a ring has become trapped in something, causing a safety issue. For example, first responders at the scene of an accident may see that a ring needs to be cut away to free someone without injuring that person's finger. Rings can become snagged in metal parts of a car during a car accident, metal machinery in a factory, or even things like chainlink fencing. In these cases, it may not be possible to extricate the finger without cutting the ring away.

High quality ring cutters can handle a wide assortment of metal alloys and can cut very quickly. Others may be designed for specific families of alloys, such as golds. It's important to use the appropriate tool for the job to avoid causing damage. Ring cutters designed for gold, for example, are not suitable for harder metals like platinum.

Jeweler resizing a ring with a torch.
Jeweler resizing a ring with a torch.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


@saraq90 - Not to worry! Just as the article mentioned different cutters work with different alloys and their is a specific ring cutter for titanium. What I have seen is that a manual or motorized ring cutting tool works as long as it is for Titanium.

I like the look of Titanium rings as well, and I also like Tungsten Steel rings for men as they also share the same great qualities of the Titanium rings in that they don't scratch easily and they look less traditional.

And lastly I don't know about Titanium rings but Tungsten Steel rings are usually less expensive than your traditional rings, and that's nice because weddings are expensive enough!


One of the things my now husband and I were worried about when he was looking for his ring was him scratching it up because he is tough on all items that he wears because of the nature of his work and activities (he sometimes works with machinery and likes to cut wood and make fires in his spare time).

So because of this he bought a titanium band (and because he liked the look of it, as it was a bit less traditional).

Now we have been told that titanium bands are not good in stuck finger situations because it cannot be cut off. Is this true? And if it is, what do they do in situations where they cannot cut the ring off?


@StarJo - It’s sad, but I know of some women who would be putting themselves in as much physical danger for not wearing their wedding rings as they would for wearing them to work. I had one coworker who was in an abusive relationship, and her husband forced her to wear her rings, even though she operated machinery that could rip off a finger.

She could just slip them off once she gets to work, but she never knows when he might pop in for a visit. He would beat her if he saw she had removed them.

She got into a car accident, and her ring got snagged on something. The emergency responders saw she was caught, and they went to get the ring cutter. She cried and pleaded with them not to cut the rings, but they had to get her out of there before the car caught fire.

Of course, her husband threw a fit when he saw the rings had been cut. I really hope that one day, she will get the courage to cut him out of her life like those rings and remove his suffocating hold on her.


I work in a factory, and I refuse to wear any rings to work. I won’t even wear my wedding ring, because I have seen what can happen to people because of it.

Last month, a guy in another department was running a machine that chops fabric. His ring got caught on something on the conveyor belt, and it took his finger into the chopper. Thankfully, he didn’t lose his whole hand.

I realize that people who do choose to wear their wedding rings to work do so out of loyalty to their spouse and their commitment, but isn’t it better to preserve your body than to show devotion when it puts you in physical danger? I have heard a rumor that the boss is going to incorporate a new “no jewelry” policy because of last month’s incident, and I think that’s wise.


My brother got his ring caught in a chainlink fence while trying to feed his neighbor’s pit bull. They were on vacation, and because the dog was aggressive, he had to pour the dry dogfood through the fence into the bowl, rather than going in the pen.

As he was pouring the food, the dog lunged at him suddenly, and he yanked his hand back. When he did, his ring somehow got caught in the fence.

The dog could not actually bite his hand, because it was on the outside, but that didn’t stop him from trying. He stayed there, growling and gnashing his teeth on the fence, trying to get a bite of flesh.

My brother had to call 911 for help. He had to have his ring cut in order to be freed. It was a traumatic experience for him, and now he is terrified of pit bulls.


@MissDaphne - That is awesome! I have never heard of hinged rings. My grandmother would have loved to have one, though.

When she began to see that her arthritis was getting worse, she removed her wedding ring with great sadness. She wanted to take it off before her fingers got so gnarled that it hurt to wear it. She hadn’t taken it off in the thirty years she’d been married, and since her husband had passed away, she hated to remove it.

She died last year, and she passed the ring on to me. If I ever start to become arthritic, I will take it and see about getting a hinge put in it, because I want to wear it in memory of my grandparents.


People might not realize, but you can avoid having to track down a jeweler or ER doc with an electric ring cutter if you get the right sort of ring in the first place.

My grandmother had terrible arthritis and her joints began to get very swollen. She removed her ring while she still could and had the diamond reset on a band with a hinge!

I had no idea such a thing existed, but what a great idea for people with enlarged knuckles. The ring opens to slide over the oints and then closes again so that it fits snugly at the base of the finger. It was the only way she could wear a ring at all; otherwise, to get over her knuckle, she would have had to get much too large a size.

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