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Kosmemophobia is the fear of jewelry. Though the phobia is uncommon and the subject of little scientific research, many people reportedly have it. People with the phobia have created multiple communities across the internet, on websites such as Facebook and Reddit.

People with kosmemophobia are frightened and repulsed by jewelry, commonly but not limited to metal jewelry. Wearing or touching any type of metal jewelry distresses them, some types more than others.[1] After touching someone’s ring, a kosmemophobic person may feel compelled to repeatedly wash their hands. They tend to avoid jewelry stores and other places where jewelry is common.[2]

The phobia also extends to many other types of small metal objects, including but not limited to ornate cutlery, coins, keys, and keychains. A kosmemophobe will go to great lengths to avoid these triggering items. Touching or even looking at any of these triggers invokes a strong revulsion in a kosmemophobe, sometimes to the point of making them vomit.[2]

This phobia can be a hindrance in everyday life. Kosmemophobic people find it difficult to wear metal braces without constant discomfort. When serving in the military, their dog tags are incredibly distracting to them. They may be afraid of proposing or being proposed to due to their fear of rings.[2]

For some people, kosmemophobia is not triggered by jewelry made of materials other than metal, such as wood or silicone. This trait is a benefit of this variation of the phobia, as nonmetal jewelry is inexpensive compared to metal jewelry.[2]

It has been theorized that kosmemophobia is linked to obsessive-compulsive disorder, also known as OCD. The disorders share a few behaviors, such as the compulsion to wash one’s hands repeatedly.[1]

Real-life examples of this phobia

Historical

  • Nikola Tesla, a famous inventor, was reportedly scared of round objects, especially women’s jewelry, and avoided shaking hands with people (possibly due to a fear of rings).[1]

Modern

  • NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. has admitted to having this phobia.[1][3]

Related

References

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