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Everything You Need to Know About Ring Sizing

Resizing a ring is one of the most common jewelry repairs, but it can also be one of the most complicated. Everybody is different, every hand is different, and every ring is different – it's more of an artform than a science to get a ring to fit perfectly. In most cases, resizing a ring is an easy task that requires no more than a couple of hours of work. But in other cases, resizing a ring can be a little tricky. The factors that affect resizing a ring can range from person to person, the width of the ring, the weather, and even the dinner the client had the night before! 

How do you know when it’s time to resize a ring? The most obvious sign is when the ring does not fit on your finger at all – whether it’s too big and doesn’t stay on or if it’s too small and won’t go past your knuckle. You should consider resizing your ring if it’s slightly too large and slips off the finger when your hands are wet or when the weather is cold. If you struggle to put your ring on or if you struggle to take it off, you might want to have it resized. Putting on a ring and taking it off should not be painful! If you’ve been resorting to using lotions, soap, or Windex (our favorite!) to remove a ring or put a ring on, it might be time to have it resized. If you cannot remove a ring from your finger, don’t panic! We can remove the ring for you in our shop and resize it once the groove in your finger has filled in again. 

Sometimes, it’s just not a convenient time to resize a ring. You might want to wear your ring during a special trip or event before leaving it with a jeweler. In these cases, there are temporary ring sizing solutions! We don’t recommend these for the long term, but they work in a pinch. Our most common solution is to add a ring guard – a thin metal bar that wraps around either side of your ring and stretches across the center. You can easily adjust the metal bar up or down to change how tight you’d like the ring to fit on your finger. These are added by a jeweler, but you can remove them at home at any time. A similar solution is a plastic ring guard, a hollow plastic cylinder with an opening that you slide onto the shank of your ring. These are larger and can be seen easier than the metal ring guard, but are extremely easy to take on and off. Another common sizing solution is to add a plastic coil to the ring – these can be ordered online and look similar to a phone cord. If you’re really in a pinch, wrapping tape or string around the base of the ring could also work as a very temporary sizing solution. 

When you come to a jeweler to have your finger sized, you may be asked a series of questions that may seem a little odd. We might ask if you had a salty dinner the night before, like pizza or sushi, or if you partook in any alcoholic beverages. Salt and alcohol are the two big sources of bloating that can affect how a ring sizer fits your finger. You may also be asked if your fingers swell in the mornings or in the summer. Heat and humidity, as well as general post-sleep characteristics, can also cause swelling and affect how your finger is sized. A well-practiced jewelry associate should be able to estimate which sizer would be most accurate to your everyday finger size, no matter how varied the size might be at the time! 

When we explain how our jeweler resizes a ring, sometimes we get a few shocked faces. Yes, we do cut your ring! And yes, we do remove or add gold to the ring to make it larger or smaller! An associate will size your finger and take your ring in for repair. Once the jeweler has your ring, he’ll cut it open at the base to start the process. If the ring needs to be larger, he’ll carefully stretch the opening (being careful not to disturb the stones) and measure the open space to ensure the millimeter size is accurate. A piece of sizing stock that matches the width and gauge of the shank is cut to fit in the gap and welded into place. If a ring needs to be smaller, the jeweler will measure the millimeter amount that needs to be removed from the shank, cut, and pull the ring back together. In both cases, the weld marks are buffed and polished away – making it look like it never happened! 

Sometimes the sizing process can get a little complicated based on the width of the ring, the existing size of the ring, the metal, the stones, etc. We’ll always double check with our jeweler to see if a ring can be safely resized or not. Please keep in mind, not all rings can be resized – but most rings can! 

The most common sizing issue we see is when a ring is spinning at the base of the finger. No matter what, those diamonds and gemstones end up on the underside of your hand and refuse to stay upright! This happens when rings are top heavy and are unbalanced on the finger. Sometimes these rings will fit perfectly in the summer but spin in the winter when our hands are cold. If the ring can’t be resized, we can add sizing beads – also called French beads or speed bumps. These are gold beads that are welded to the inside of the ring at an angle to keep the ring upright, and these beads can be shaved down as needed.

In some cases, a ring will spin on the finger because the ring has to be large enough to fit over the knuckle. Once it fits over the largest part of the knuckle, it is entirely too big for the base of the finger. This problem is most commonly seen in women with arthritic or pre-arthritic fingers and knuckles. Men of any age can have this issue as well, depending on the shape of their hands and finger. This problem can be solved with sizing beads, but when the difference in size between the knuckle and the base of the finger is greater than 3 sizes, an appliance called a FingerMate or FingerFit shank is necessary. 

A FingerMate or FingerFit shank can be added to most rings. These gold appliances replace the bottom half of the ring and can be pulled open to accommodate the size of the knuckle. Once the ring is over the knuckle, the appliance is closed and the ring fits snugly at the base of the finger. There is little outward evidence of the appliance other than a seam on the underside of the ring! Due to their specificity and engineering, these appliances can cost over $1000 depending on the size and complexity. For many women, the appliance is well worth the cost to be able to wear their favorite rings again. 

Sizing a ring is more of an art than a science – it takes skill and practice to accurately size a finger and size a ring. People are all different, hands are all different, and rings are all different! There are so many factors that go into ring resizing that many people might not be aware of. We’re here to answer all of your sizing questions! If you have a ring that doesn’t fit correctly, bring it in and we can take a look at it. We want to make it so you’re able to wear your favorite jewelry all year round! 

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