How to Resize a Ring: Bigger or Smaller
Is that ring you received as a gift the wrong size? Maybe you’ve purchased a one-of-a-kind ring online in what you thought was your size but it’s fitting a smidge too big or small? What now?
How Should a Ring Fit?
When it comes to wearing any accessory on your body, a comfortable fit is key. Rings should be snug, but not too snug, and definitely not tight to the point that it hurts (or scrapes the skin!) when you go to slide them on or off. If a ring is “swimming” on your finger—that is, you can spin it around with no resistance—or it feels like it’s going to slip off, then that’s how you know it’s too big.
Body weight fluctuations can cause your ring size to go up or down, while changes in climate such as humidity, dryness, and extreme cold can alter the ring size in the short term. Ditto a night out that involves salty foods and the consumption of alcohol.
Sometimes the solution isn’t to increase or decrease the ring size. For example, adding two tiny gold balls to the inside of the band is an easy fix to a ring that spins around or flips downward. The little balls grip your finger, eat up some of that extra space, and keep your ring upright.
Don’t know your ring size? You can purchase an inexpensive ring sizer online or visit your local jeweler. Jewelers Mutual also has a ring sizer that you can download and print (get started here). Another way to determine your ring size: Cut a string, wrap it around the base of your ring finger, mark the string where it ends, and measure the string's length. Your ring size is the number closest to the mark on the string in millimeters.
How to Make a Ring Smaller
When a ring needs to be made smaller, typically a jeweler will use one of several techniques to resize the band to fit the wearer's finger. One common method is to cut out a small portion of the band and then solder the ends back together to form a tighter circumference. This process involves carefully cutting out a small section of the metal, usually from the bottom of the band, and then joining the two remaining ends with heat and a soldering agent.
Another technique involves bending the band inward using pliers or a ring clamp to create a tighter fit. The jeweler may also use a ring guard or sizer that can be inserted into the band to adjust the size without permanently altering the ring's structure.
How to Make a Ring Bigger
When a ring needs to be made bigger, a jeweler will typically use one of several methods. One method is to cut a small portion out of the band and then add a piece of metal to expand the circumference. This process is known as ring shanking and involves carefully fitting the new piece of metal to the existing band, soldering it in place, and then smoothing and polishing the surface to blend the seams.
Another method involves stretching the metal by using a ring mandrel and a hammer to gradually expand the size of the band. The jeweler may also use a hydraulic press or roller to stretch the metal, depending on the type of ring and the extent of the resizing needed.
Rings That Can't Be Resized
In general, rings can be adjusted up to two sizes larger or smaller. Also, keep in mind that some rings can’t be resized because the metals they’re made with are prone to breakage or are otherwise difficult to work with during the resizing process. This includes rings made of titanium, cobalt, tungsten carbide, and stainless steel. Some jewelers also add rose gold to this list.
Also, non-metallic rings (think: resin, crystal, or ceramic) can’t be resized for the same reason. Plated metals (what’s used in most costume jewelry) are also on the “no” list because the resizing process can cause the plated material to flake; resizing is also not recommended for jewelry that has been coated in enamel.
Aside from the problems posed by certain materials, rings with stones that go all the way around the ring, like diamond eternity bands, also cannot be resized without adding or removing additional gems. As such, this is a task that many jewelers are unwilling to take on due to the labor involved, and certainly, this would also add to the cost of the job.
Where to Get a Ring Resized
Resizing rings is something most people entrust to a reputable jeweler—why risk damaging the jewel due to your inexperience? Jewelers handle resizing jobs with specialized tools—and years of training—that you likely don’t have.
Most jewelers can complete a ring resizing job in a matter of days but allow a month or so, especially if you need the ring by a certain date.
How Much Does It Cost to Resize a Ring?
As for how much it will cost you, jewelers’ fees vary depending on the complexity of the task and the labor it requires. It always costs more to enlarge a ring because metal is added, regardless of the design. Also, the thicker the ring, the higher the price to resize; the presence of diamonds on the band inevitably makes a resizing job more complicated—and expensive (more on that in a minute).
Lastly, make sure you get it insured by a reputable jewelry company like Jewelers Mutual. Obtaining personal jewelry insurance through Jewelers Mutual is an affordable option and covers loss, damage, and mysterious disappearances. You can receive a jewelry insurance quote in just 30 seconds by clicking the button below.