Ring Sizing

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2cb9c078 544f 490e 88ee Ab4f02cadcf7 E1645537961463, Helen Dimmick

Let’s look at how you make sure your rings fit perfectly, it can be quite a challenge especially as everyone’s hands are different, and our fingers are not perfectly round like the shape of a perfectly circular ring.

How do we measure a ring size?

We measure using a ring stick and calibrated ring gauges (of a comparable width to the ring being fitted). The English scale is alphabetical with half, even quarter sizes between, starting at A, going down to Z then Z+1, +2, +3, +4 and +5.

ring stick and calibrated ring gauges

What is the right fit?

We look for a small comfortable indentation on the base of the finger, the ring should go on quite easily and come off with some resistance.

Perfectly fitting wedding ring

What do we need to consider for the perfect fitting ring?

Do you need to take the ring on and off?

If not, for example a wedding ring, then we look at the best fit at the base of the finger.  If the ring will be taken on and off, we have to factor in the knuckle and the shape of your finger:

  • If you are slimmer on the knuckle than the base of the finger, I like to make sure the fit is really good, so it doesn’t slip off.   But not too tight as you don’t want to cause an uncomfortable or unattractive ‘bulge’
  • If you are slimmer at the base of the finger, we have to consider the fit over the knuckle.  It can be a challenge when there is a big difference between the two, the ring will spin (especially if it has a large gemstone head) and we need to ensure it is not large gap as this can be dangerous to potentially trap the finger.

It is impossible to get the ring to fit both, so we have to work around it.  There are a couple of options:

  1. If you are much slimmer, then I recommend ‘beads’ these are composed of the same precious metal as the ring shank.  If you imagine the dial of a clock at 4 and 8 o’clock, they distribute the skin over the knuckle when being fitted without being too uncomfortable and have the added advantage of holding a ring in the right place – especially important for a single stone ring.  These are great, they are permanent and stable and can be in made in different sizes.  They might feel slightly odd at first, but go unnoticed
  2. Technology is improving all the time, this ring has internal springs, which allows it to flex, a more expensive but some might find this more comfortable

How do you wear the ring?

Consider each finger is different and which one to choose:

  • The little finger, tends to taper, so again look for a good fit as the base of the finger
  • The ‘ring finger’, on the left hand this was historically known as the ‘Vena Amoris’ Latin for the ‘vein of love’ as it was believed to run directly form the fourth finger to the heart.  Alas this isn’t true, but on either hand, this is safest for rings as the fingers either side protect it.
  • The middle finger, can look great as a statement ring, just be careful as this is the highest finger so the head, i.e., the gemstones on top are the most vulnerable
  • The index finger – makes a great fashion statement

Are you right or left-handed?

As we are also not symmetrical there is usually a different between the left and right hand, whichever size is dominant is usually half to one size bigger.

What happens when you are stacking?

When you are stacking or layering rings one on top of each other, you need to compensate with a larger size. When you add a ring (for example when a wedding ring is added) the engagement ring may need to be sized, normally up a little as the ring has moved to a larger part of the finger on top of the new wedding ring.  Usually, a wedding ring is worn first or so it can be worn permanently, and the engagement ring can be taken off and on.

What should you do if you can’t size a ring?

If the ring is too big and for whatever reason cannot be sized, you could always consider a ‘guard ring’, this is a close-fitting ring that is worn on top of another to stop it slipping off.

Help my ring is too small?!

If you have a small ring on that you need to take off firstly, try not to panic.  Put your hand higher than your elbow, use hand cream and push just under the knuckle, the ring should hopefully come off.  It may also help to put a bag of ice on for a few minutes just to reduce any swelling.

If you need more help, there is another technique winding a thread around the ring and over the finger (check films of this online)

As a last resort you may need the ring to be cut off, this is a service we offer at Ainsworth Jewellers.  We can then repair the mount and resize and re hallmark if this has been damaged in the process (as we can’t see the hallmark inside, we don’t know where to avoid cutting) However, I do recommend leaving the sizing about three weeks for the swelling to settle and then measure again.

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If the ring can’t resize you may want to think about repurposing, remodelling or recycling the precious metal, some ideas include, hoop earrings, or pendants.  Have a look as some of these lovely ideas: –

How is your ring re-sized?

  • If the ring is being made smaller a V-shaped cut is made in the back of the shank (carefully positioned to avoid a hallmark), the metal is then closed in, resoldered, cleaned and repolished
  • To make the ring bigger, if there is enough metal up to one size can be annealed to let out the size, but I don’t recommend stretching, otherwise the same V-cut is made but this time more of the same precious metal is added, resoldered, cleaned and repolished

What is the size tolerance on gem-set rings?

On a stone set ring we normally state the scope is within two English sizes, either up or down.  Especially if it is a single stone ring with a separate head and mount.  However, it is all about the relationship between the shank, the curve of the ring, the setting and number of gemstones.

With wider gem set rings (when more of the upper section of the ring circumference is gem set) there is less scope to size as we don’t want to open up or put pressure on the settings of the gems as the shoulder of the ring needs to stay the same angle.

As this ‘arch’ needs to stay at the sample angle in some instances the profile will become more of an oval shape, so the ring is made larger or smaller, but the upper part is not compromised.  Otherwise, we need to look at a remount.

Future Proofing your purchases

Generally speaking, full hoop eternity rings cannot be sized, diamonds may have to be removed or added of the exact same size or a band of metal is inserted.  Our hands change over time, even seasons and days, women’s hands especially will fluctuate, so bear this in mind when thinking about choosing a full or half hoop ring.

What if the size I have is a number?

Please see the international ring size chart below.  This is an example of the ring size scales used around the world.  American companies such as Tiffany & Co use a numeric scale for their ring sizes.  As these are all constant it is easy to convert to the relevant UK scale.

What happens if you want to buy a gift and you don’t know the size?

It is advisable not to guess, I have seen all sorts used string, outline drawings, one very inventive client even made a cast of his fiancée’s hand!  We always provide the first sizing free of charge so my advice, if possible, is to choose an average size ring and then we provide a professional personal fitting afterwards.  In general, a lady’s stock ring is an L/M and a gents T/U.

However, for example it is not very romantic to propose with a ring that is too small and can’t be worn, so if this is a concern, we play detective and work out an approximate size.  All of this is sortable, and nothing should stop a jewellery gift moment from being perfect.  It’s all part of service from Helen Dimmick Ltd!


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