Ring Removal

How to remove that stubborn finger ring

A marriage, it is hoped, lasts for as long as the couple both shall live. And it would be nice if the wedding ring could be worn continuously over that period. But there are some occasions when that ring really has to come off, and sometimes it just refuses to budge.

Ring Removal


Diamonds are forever, or so the adverts tell us, but that doesn't mean that a diamond ring must stay on our finger forever.

We assume you are reading this page because you have a particularly stubborn ring and you've tried the obvious tricks such as smearing butter over your finger. If the finger is swollen, discoloured, tingling or numb, go to a hospital; do NOT attempt the procedures below.

When that ring doesn't come off, the mental discomfort can range from mild anxiety to outright panic. The body reacts to any agoraphobic incarcerated feeling by releasing epinephrine (adrenaline) to protect the body from harm. Our natural 'fight or flight' response is unhelpful to the task in hand.

But you know that already. So now let's get that ring off.


Step 1

First, be calm. The tension described above must be released before we can release the ring. Relax with the assurance that nobody has ever died from being unable to remove a ring.


Step 2

Attempt to remove the ring slowly with a rocking action:

  • Lubricate the finger with baby oil or mineral oil (better than soap). Then press upward on the bottom of the ring and nudge the top portion of the ring as far as possible towards the finger tip. Now press the top of the ring downward and nudge the bottom of the ring towards the finger tip.
  • Repeat this 'rocking' action as necessary but do not attempt to remove the ring too quickly; moving too fast may cause the finger to swell. If this method fails, move on to Step 3.

Step 3

Now, it's logical that the ring doesn't come off because it's too small for your finger. We cannot enlarge the ring size so the obvious solution is to make your finger a bit thinner.

  • Raise the hand high above the heart and keep it elevated. Cool the finger with an ice pack for 10 to 20 minutes. These two actions will reduce fluid in the finger tissues.
  • Keeping the hand elevated, lubricate the finger and 'rock' the ring as described in Step 2 above.

If the ring does not come off within 20 minutes, remove the ice pack, lower the hand, wait 20 minutes and try Step 3 again. If the finger becomes swollen of discoloured, if there is tingling or no feeling, move on to Step 4.


Step 4

If the above steps fail, seek medical attention. Hospital emergency departments have the necessary experience and equipment to remove stuck rings.

They may recommend cutting the ring as the only solution. Don't worry about this. Cut rings can be repaired easily.

Any person not trained to cut a ring off safely should not attempt to do so. This includes jewellers, whose equipment and workshops are far from sterile. A saw strong enough to cut through metal can do serious damage to a finger and an insurance company would most likely refuse a claim.

Do NOT attempt any of the following:


The yakuza have an efficient method for removing fingers. Not recommended!


Telekinesis might work, but an inexperienced user might have fingers drop off instead of the ring. Not recommended!


This final idea is just as ridiculous as the previous two, yet it's often mentioned in magazines. It is NOT recommended.

The procedure is called the 'tourniquet method', is potentially dangerous and could cause permanent damage to the finger. A tourniquet involves using 30 cm of strong, thin string, metal wire, fishing line... all of which can cut into the finger and damage tissue. The method involves pushing a few inches of the cord under the ring toward the palm. The remaining cord is then wrapped tightly around the finger from the ring to the distal tip of the finger, compressing the flesh smaller than the diameter of the ring. The short end of the cord near the palm is then pulled upward and the tourniquet unwound from the ring to the finger tip. If the initial tourniquet does not damage the finger then the unwinding stage probably will. Not recommended!

Go back to Wedding Rings


search 🔍



privacy policy