You have found the one with whom you want to spend the rest of your life, and are getting ready to pop the question. You research diamonds and ring designs and choose an engagement ring that will be just perfect for them. But wait, there is one thing you don’t know – their ring size! Unlike a necklace or earrings, rings are one piece of jewelry where size really does matter. But don’t let the fact that you don’t know the correct ring size derail your engagement plans – we are here to give you all the information you need to know about assessing ring size and resizing a ring.
In Canada and the United States ring sizes follow a numerical scale which is based on the inner circumference of the ring. They come in full sizes, half sizes and quarter sizes. The average size of a lady’s ring is in and around a size 6, and the average size of a men’s ring is between size 8 and 10. However lots of people fall outside these numbers, with smaller or larger sizes needed.
Figuring Out the Engagement Ring Size
Many people try to figure out their partner’s ring size before they buy a ring, and there are a few ways you can attempt to do this.
Asking friends or family members can be a good way to find out. If you can covertly borrow a ring your partner wears and bring it to a jeweler, then they can measure the ring on a mandrel (a conical metal sizing tool) to find the correct size. However, the ring you borrow will need to be worn on the correct finger and be a similar width, or else the sizing will be off.
If you and your partner have talked about getting engaged, you can always stop by a jewelry store at the mall together and get their size “for in the future”.
Many online sites suggest wrapping a piece of paper or string around their finger while your partner sleeps, but this is not reliable enough to get an accurate reading.
If you do not know your partner’s actual ring size though it is not a problem for an experienced jeweler. At Kimberfire we help our customers estimate the ring size and then after the proposal we resize the ring to be the perfect fit, at no charge.
Professional Ring Sizing
After your best efforts to figure out the ring size, the perfect ring may still not be the perfect fit. Don’t sweat the small stuff (or the too big stuff) because your jeweler is here to help. When you come to get your engagement ring sized we will check the size of the current ring and then place various sized ring sizers on the finger. The ring sizers come in full and half sizes, but the ring can be sized between the two sizes as well.
There are some things that need to be taken into consideration when deciding what size is the right fit:
- A wider ring will fit tighter than a thinner ring.
- Temperature will affect your ring size, as fingers often swell in summer heat and shrink in cold weather.
- Your finger can fluctuate in size through the day depending on temperature and water retention.
- Adding another ring beside the ring (like a wedding band) will make the rings feel tighter as they cover more surface area.
- A ring should slide easily over the knuckle when going on, and there should be some pull when you take it off.
- Ring sizing is not an exact science as it really depends on the finger shape and how the person likes the ring to feel on their finger.
Something else to consider is that some people have knuckles which are much wider than the base of their finger, and this can cause the ring to spin around when worn (this is especially true for larger stones and top heavy rings). To counteract the spinning a jeweler can add sizing beads inside the ring, which makes the ring feel a bit tighter but still makes it possible to fit the ring over the knuckle.
How the Jeweler Resizes the Ring
There are two ways to resize a ring. The first is by placing the ring on a metal ring stretcher or compressor and using force to either stretch or compress the size. This method usually only works for plain wedding bands and cannot be used for rings with diamonds or gemstones, or those with intricate details.
The second method involves cutting the ring. To make a ring larger the ring is cut at the very bottom, and the two sides are moved further apart from each other. A new piece of metal (the same type of metal the ring is made of) is then added and soldered into place. The jeweler then polishes the ring so that the new area is undetectable. To make a ring smaller, the ring is cut at the base in two places and a piece of metal is removed. Then the two sides of the ring are brought together, soldered and polished. Don’t be alarmed at the thought of your ring being cut and set on fire – ring sizing is a routine process and a professional jeweler should be able to resize the ring without affecting its durability and without anyone being able to detect that the ring was altered in any way.
Potential Ring Resizing Issues
If you need to resize a ring more than two full sizes, you may run into problems depending on the ring’s design. Rings with intricate wire work or filigree will probably be too fragile for a large size change. Rings with gemstones set in them have to be resized very carefully so that the angles don’t change to the point that the stones are misaligned or fall out. In general, too great of a size adjustment can destroy the structural integrity of the ring and leave it misshapen or vulnerable to breakage.
If a ring has been resized more than a couple times it may run into issues such as thinning of the shank, and of the prongs if there are diamonds on the shank. If this happens the ring may need to be remade in the correct size.
Eternity rings with diamonds or gemstones encircling the entire ring cannot be sized. It is not recommended to buy this style of ring without knowing the correct ring size.
Men’s rings that are made in titanium, tungsten, ceramic or stainless steel may be extremely difficult or impossible to size and again are not recommended to buy without knowing the right size.
If your ring has an engraving on the inside or outside of the ring shank, it is very possible that it will be destroyed during sizing, and will have to be removed and completely redone.
A reputable jeweler should explain all these possible issues with you before any resizing is attempted.
The Perfect Fit
Once you have found the perfect size for your ring, it should be comfortable and secure. You shouldn’t worry about it falling off your finger or not being able to come off when you want it to. You can now wear your ring with confidence and show that beauty off to the world.
Sara is the Jewelry Production and Social Media Coordinator at Kimberfire – a brilliant way to buy engagement rings, fine jewelry and loose diamonds in Toronto. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Art from York University and a Diploma in Jewellery Arts from George Brown College. She is skilled in jewellery design using CAD software, as well as traditional goldsmith techniques. When she is not immersing herself in all things jewellery, Sara is a dog mom to Barley, her beagle mix rescue dog who loves a good tummy rub.