Emergency Removal of Hard Metal or Ceramic Finger Rings

figure 1 figure 2 figure 3

Finger rings made of extremely hard materials (tungsten carbide or ceramic) can only be removed by cracking them into pieces with standard vice grip-style locking pliers. Standard ring cutters will not be effective (Figure 1).

Place vice grip-style locking pliers over ring and adjust the jaws to clamp lightly. Release and adjust tightener one-third turn and then clamp again. Repeat until a crack is heard, and then continue clamping in different positions until the hard material breaks away. Take care not to slide or rotate the cracked ring on the finger. If the ring contains an inlay of gold, the exposed gold can then be cut or clipped in the usual fashion (Figures 2 and 3).

Return larger pieces to the owner because they may receive a replacement from the manufacturer.

Stanley V. Hajduk, MD
Emergency Department
Watsonville Community Hospital
Watsonville, CA