Ring Resizing Quick Facts
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Ring Resizing Quick Facts

AUGUST 9, 2016

by Andrew Schneider Jewelry Specialist

When you fall in love with a ring that doesn't fit, your first instinct may be to cut your losses. Fortunately, ring resizing lets you change the band circumference, so you can buy that one-of-a-kind engagement ring, take full advantage of an inherited collection, or wear your favorite rings on a different finger. However, ring resizing can affect the strength and color of the band, so it's essential to discuss the best resizing method with a skilled jeweler.


Silver Engagement Ring

Why Ring Resizing Is Important

Ring sizes are measured in millimeters and increase in small increments to offer you the most comfortable fit. Yet, the width of the band and unique physical features, such as large knuckles, can affect how closely each ring fits your finger. Hot or cold weather can also cause fingers to temporarily expand or shrink, so you may want an adjustment for flexibility.

The option to resize lets you choose from a wider selection of rings when you're purchasing one-of-a-kind jewelry or shopping online. Resizing also preserves the element of surprise if your sweetheart picked an engagement ring without knowing your exact measurements. If you're shopping for a ring that may need resizing, look for styles that are easy to modify.

Gemstone Ring

Sizing a Ring Smaller

Reducing ring size involves cutting the shank, the section of a ring that rests at the back of your finger. The jeweler removes a section and solders the cut ends together, polishing the rejoined portion to produce a smooth, unblemished seam. Generally, jewelers only modify rings up to two sizes because a major change in the band circumference puts tension on the gem settings. Keep in mind that the cost of resizing a ring is significantly more expensive if a jeweler has to reposition gem settings or repair ornamentation on the band.

Gold Ring

Sizing a Ring Larger

A ring can be stretched or cut to create a larger size. Jewelers reserve the stretching method for simple bands that only need to be increased by a half-size. Stretching makes the metal thinner, weaker, and more prone to breakage, so it's not recommended if your ring is delicate or an heirloom.

Similar to sizing down, expanding a ring by cutting the shank allows the jeweler to move the ends further apart and solder a new piece of metal to fill the extra space. Enlarging the ring by more than two sizes can damage prongs and position gems at unsafe angles.

Rose Gold Diamond Ring

Dangers of Resizing

Always research reputable jewelers who are skilled at handling challenging repairs and caring for sensitive materials, such as pearls, when applying heat. Poor jewelry soldering can leave a visible depression and shorten the life span of your ring while making it harder to perform a future resizing. In some cases, jewelers can't perfectly match the existing metal, and the ring appears discolored at the shank. Do your best to avoid an unsuccessful resizing by asking the jeweler to be upfront about the benefits and risks before making any modifications.

Sterling Silver Ring

Limitations of Resizing

Ring resizing works best on softer, workable metals, while hard materials, such as stainless steel, titanium, and tungsten, are more difficult or even impossible for jewelers to manipulate. Eternity bands with continuous settings can't typically be resized since gems circle the entire band and would have to be completely removed and redistributed to preserve the original beauty and balance. When the band has engravings or an ornate design, you should consult a jeweler to determine whether resizing is possible without causing damage.

Camouflage Ring

Ring Size Adjusters

Don't give up on having comfortably fitted rings when sizing down isn't an option. A ring size adjuster, also known as a sizing ring guard, is a small curved bar that temporarily attaches to rings to reduce space between your finger and the shank. Adjusters are compatible with multiple rings, making them useful for short-term changes in finger size, and they come in metal, plastic, and vinyl to fit a wide variety of ring styles.