One of the essential details to get right when it comes to jewelry is the ring’s size.
You’ll know a ring fits well when you can comfortably feel it on your finger, confident that you won’t lose it without noticing. If it doesn’t, it means one thing – you’ll need to see a jeweler for some ring resizing.
However, it isn’t only when getting a new ring that you would want to make sure they fit perfectly. Sometimes, engagement rings, especially those that have been passed down as heirlooms, need to be resized to fit correctly.
Ring resizing is a standard service offered by most jewelers. This service can make your ring fit perfectly. But, how do you get your ring resized? What should you know before sending your ring to the jewelers? In this article, we’ll find out how.
Table of Contents
How Should Your Ring Fit?
Ideally, the ring should slide in effortlessly on your finger and have just a little resistance when taking it off. The resistance lets you know whether the ring is not too loose. Otherwise, it could slide off without you noticing.
On the contrary, if it is not easy to slide in, it could be too tight. You should never force a ring on your finger, especially if it is too tight for your comfort. Doing so will run you the risk of injury or having to destroy the ring to get it off.
The same rule applies with the ring slides in fine but gives you an uncomfortable tight fit. The tightness could be a good indicator that the ring size is too small.
How Does Ring Resizing Work?
Most rings can be resized. The methods in doing so depend on the intricacy of the ring and its material. You can resize a ring to make it smaller or larger. Ring resizing is not something you can try to do at home. The process involves tools and expertise that only professional jewelers know.
Ring Resizing Methods
There are different methods on how to resize rings. For instance, in Germany, ring sizes are defined by the diameter of the finger hole or its inside circumference. In the US and France, dimensions are measured by a number, with higher values indicating larger sizes.
Deciding on the correct ring size is not as simple as it might seem. Fingers are not perfectly round and have cross-sections. Plus, you must take into consideration how they swell slightly throughout the day. Note that our fingers swell even more on hotter days, and colder weather seems like shrinking them.
It is that complex to size a ring.
It is even more challenging to size slim and bony fingers. For one, the ring should be large enough to slip over the knuckle but should still be comfortable enough to rest at the base of the finger. Additionally, wider bands should be slightly larger than narrow ones because wider bands trap skin beneath them.
Bands with a slight opening under a stone setting, in some way, allow the finger skin to swell upward. This affords the ring size to be a little smaller than the same ring without any opening.
When the ring is sized on a ring stick, the measurement reads at the number with which the ring makes contact with. The illustration below shows how the ring fits just below 53. Thus the reading is size 52.
Common Materials in Resizing Rings
Resizing A Ring Smaller
The first step to decreasing a plain wedding band or anything closely similar is to compress it. Compressing is a less intrusive process for resizing rings compared to stretching. And, it should only be done when resizing down a ring.
Ring sizing machines have a series of conical or hemispherical cavities and a flat anvil where the ring is pressed into them. Forge the ring and pick an opening from the ring-sizing machine that is large enough to contain the ring.
Once inserted into the right size opening, apply some pressure to the ram, flip the ring over, and repeat the process. Be sure not to go too far, and remember to shape periodically if you compress a great deal.
This process may not be ideal for rings that are composed of different metals. For instance, a band of white gold and yellow gold might break them apart since they have unalike compression rates.
If the ring’s outer surface is faceted or engraved, safeguard it by putting a copper band around the ring. This copper band will absorb the stress at the point of contact.
Decreasing gem rings size is almost like resizing a plain band, except it requires additional steps to make sure the change doesn’t compromise the gemstone. The process includes taking out the gem. The ring shank gets cut, ideally where previous joints have been made, if there are any.
Be sure to examine the band’s inside for any hallmarks or engravings that you need to work around from. The shank is curved; therefore, the ends come together to create a tight seam. It is crucial that in this part, the surfaces get filed to make a clean joint.
Surfaces that weren’t filed may result in poor soldering that will leave disproportions or pits. The filing also helps in making the shank smaller. Regarding thin shanks, file the butting surfaces at an angle to intensify the surface contact, thus creating a stronger joint.
Men’s rings are massive that it can be very complex to bend the shanks down to an intended size. In such cases, jewelers often take out a wedge-shaped piece to tighten thick-walled rings.
There is always a risk when bending rings with more extensive stone settings out of shape. The shanks may break off at the ring’s head through its should where the solder joints are strained. There are also circumstances when the thin shank is worn so thin that it can no longer be repaired with an isolated joint.
The best way to work with thin shanks is to solder a piece on the ring’s inside to reinforce it while simultaneously decreasing the inside diameter. While it isn’t nearly as good as soldering, it can be pulled off with a strong adhesive.
Resizing A Ring Larger
More often, mechanical stretching can do the magic when enlarging plain bands or wedding rings. Resizing plain bands is a common repair, that there are many tools made to achieve this goal. Still, stretching is a faster and less aggressive process than the other method of inserting an extra piece of metal.
When enlarging, one tool uses an attachment for a rolling mill to reallocate the metal in such a manner that the ring is made larger. This process may result in a thinner shank that sometimes clients may ask, “where’s the thickness?”
The thickness has been redistributed. It has been pushed outwards and converted to length to create a slightly larger ring.
Another alternative is to anneal the ring, then slide it onto a thinly oiled steel ring mandrel. Pat the ring gently with a wooden or plastic mallet. Since the mandrel is tapered by nature, it is best to take the ring off after every few taps, invert it, and repeat the process.
Tapping with a mallet puts the ring at the risk of marring it. Thus another alternative is to use a tool called Schwaan Ring Stretcher. It is comprised of a tapered mandrel with a hollow core split into four vertical sections.
The process with this tool includes the ring put onto the rod, and a smaller solid steel taper is pushed into the first unit with a mallet. This procedure has the effect of stretching the petals even when there is no direct contact with the ring itself. It should be done slowly and with great care to avoid breakage.
Remember that no matter how sophisticated the tool is used for ring resizing, any stretching may stress the metal and puts it at risk of the ring snapping. Besides, there is a limit to how far the metal can be stretched.
The stone on rings cannot handle the stress a mandrel brings to the ring when being stretched. Doing so may break the gem or at least pop it out of its setting. When the subject for ring resizing involves stone, and if the enlargement is not too drastic, a ring enlargement machine like the image below is recommended.
This machine has a broad range of dies in differently shaped grooves that mimic the ring shank’s cross section. Pick the die that corresponds to the ring being stretched, then attach it to the tool’s vertical post.
The ring should then be forced against it to form the shank locally. Like we’ve mentioned earlier, the process changes thickness into a length, and pressing the ring in such a controlled condition makes the change almost unnoticeable.
Again, there is a limit to the stretching done even with this too. Not only because of the metal hardening as it is stretched, but also because the shank may inappropriately be made too thin.
If the first one wouldn’t work, another method is to insert a piece of metal into the shank. But, closely examine the shank first to see if there is a solder line already present. The shank can be lightly heated to expose the color difference at the solder line.
If there is a solder line present, saw the ring open on the existing joint. Otherwise, cut the ring open at the point opposite to the stone. Be sure that you aren’t cutting through any hallmarking or engraving. Then, insert a metal piece that seamlessly matches the color and makes a tight joint at both ends.
It is not necessary to have the cross-section of the insert match. Actually, having it a little larger than the shank gives you an advantage. The excess is filed away after soldering to blend the pieces together. Frequently, it is possible to file the insert to snap it into place. It may sound tedious, but it is worth the effort.
Another complicated scenario with gem rings is when the stone involved is heat sensitive. This situation sets hurdles to soldering. Heat-sensitive stones like amber, coral, and pearls need to be removed if a normal soldering flame is used.
If removing is not possible, then these stones must be protected against the heat. There are many recommendations regarding this, but it all boils down to packing the stone in moist material. This method makes the heat boil the water instead of being transmitted to the stone.
Ideally, a small and scorching flame should be used to ring resizing, especially those that include gemstones. The micro torch is an example of a tool that can swiftly heat the metal that the heat does not have a chance to flow from the joint area to the rest of the ring. The general rule is to get in and out as fast as possible.
Be sure to allow the ring resizing to air cool even if you think that the heat did not reach the stone. It’s a shame to have a correct ring resizing completely with repair solder without damaging the stone, only to have them cracked out of thermal shock because of impatience.
Keep in mind that: (1) a thick shank conducts heat more rapidly than a thin one, (2) a silver shank is a better heat conductor than gold, and (3) even heat resistant stones may crack and break if there are internal structural problems.
Possible Risks Involved in Ring Resizing
Ring resizing is a commonly done practice in jewelry pieces, but it doesn’t spare the ring from potential risks and drawbacks.
Whenever a ring gets resized, the portion where it was cut and soldered gets naturally weaker than the rest of the ring. Besides, these cuts for ring resizing are usually done at the bottom of the ring, usually the most stress-subject part.
Applying too much pressure to such an area may cause the soldered ring to break. It rarely happens, though, mostly if the ring resizing was correctly done.
A good way to tell whether the jeweler did an excellent soldering job in a ring resizing is by looking at the area where the ring got joined back together. The ideal soldering should show absolutely no dip or dent on the surface.
A good soldering job makes the joints look normal, flat, and well-polished. If it looks thinner and has a noticeable dented line, a weak ring resizing job was done, and you have a higher chance at soldering cracking.
If you notice what’s wrong with the job right away, you can politely ask the jeweler to fix and reinforce the joint. They can simply add metal to the soldered joint and polish that area of the band. Doing so makes it even with the rest of the ring.
When Should You Consider Ring Resizing?
The only instance you should consider resizing your ring is when it consistently feels too loose or too tight on your finger. Your reminder is “consistency.” If it is always too loose or too tight, keep it in a safe place and do not wear it until the jeweler performs ring resizing.
Consistency is vital since there are unexpected factors that may momentarily affect ring size. Such elements might have been present during the fitting of your ring or after. Before concluding that your ring is constantly too loose or too tight, watch out for these temporary factors.
The cold season makes the rings feel loose on the finger. No, they do not expand during winter. The blood vessels in our fingers undergo vasoconstriction on colder days. This happens because the body contracts and narrows our blood vessels to reduce blood flow to our hands and preserve heat.
The fingers shrink during colder days, and so the ring feels like it expanded.
On the contrary, summer days cause our body to dissipate heat through our skin. It increases blood flow and dilates the blood vessels making our fingers swell, and rings feel tighter.
Overeating salty food may cause our body to need and retain more water to balance out the amount of sodium. High sodium concentration in blood vessels causes water to enter blood vessels to offset the amount of sodium. If it happens, it causes our fingers to swell, making rings feel tighter than usual temporarily.
It is very likely to have our body size change during pregnancy. The change in our body size includes everything from our toes to our fingertips. Don’t let the body change during pregnancy alarm you. After pregnancy, our ring size goes back to normal.
During pregnancy, remember to remove your ring once it starts to feel tight. Otherwise, they may get tighter and give you discomfort until your delivery day. In case the ring still doesn’t fit a few months after delivery, you may consider ring resizing.
How Much Does Ring Resizing Cost?
Ring resizing is not usually an expensive service. The labor costs may range between $20 to $70 but can fluctuate depending on the material cost and the complexity of the labor needed.
Tip: You would want to avoid having your ring resized by the lowest bidder. Resizing a ring, especially one with gemstone, is a delicate process that must be performed correctly. Be sure to go for reputable and experienced jewelers to make sure your jewelry is well taken care of.
When it comes to wedding bands, engagement rings, and highly valued rings, resizing is vital. It allows you to still use it according to the size you are most comfortable with.
Keep in mind that there are risks involved in ring resizing, so as much as possible, especially if it is for an engagement ring, be sure about the size before ordering to avoid having to resize. You can ask your fiancé directly or her friends and family. You may also borrow her jewelry and trace it out. That way, you are sure about the fit.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: How long does ring resizing take?
A: The length of the process depends on many things, like the current workload of the jeweler or the complexity of what’s needed to be done on the ring. A reputed jeweler rarely commits to finishing a ring resizing in a day, so be prepared to wait for a few days or a couple of weeks.
Q: Where should I get my ring resized?
A: You may want to check with the company you bought the ring from if they offer resizing services. James Allen offers a 60-day free resizing policy as part of their guarantee on rings and bands. The Blue Nile also provides complimentary resizing service for their customized rings.
If the store you bought the ring from doesn’t offer such services, your best bet is your reputed local jeweler.
Q: Do all types of ring metals can be resized?
A: Yes, but they do not have the same physical properties; thus, one may take longer to resize than the other. Here is how various fine metals fall on the spectrum of resizing a ring, from least expensive to almost impossible.
- Yellow Gold – easier to resize
- Sterling Silver – fairly easy
- White Gold – requires finishing and reapplication of rhodium plating
- Rose Gold – very volatile and may crack during resizing
- Platinum – requires a particular set of tools, has a higher melting point than gold that creates more work
- Titanium – Tough to work with. Not all jewelers offer resizing for titanium rings