When you don’t want the jeweler to cut your precious ring and add a piece of metal to resize it, you can demand stretching instead. Stretching the band in this way is an uncomplicated task that requires adequate tools.
Unfortunately, the negative side of this method is weakening the overall ring structural integrity and possibly distorting its shape. On the other side, this is the only way to resize patterned rings and those made of hard metals, such as tungsten, stainless steel, and titanium. So, let’s see how to stretch a ring you can’t resize on any other way.
What is Ring Stretching?
Stretching is a procedure of resizing a ring without cutting its back part and an uncomplicated way to size it up by half a number. However, it is quite a limited method because you can use it only when you want to expand a plain band.
After stretching the metal, you will get a wider band, but it will be thinner than before. Plus, the ring will likely become warped and partially deform in the end.
In some cases, this is the only way to resize this type of jewelry, especially if it is made of too hard metal. The conditions to successfully apply this method are that the ring is thick enough, and you don’t need to change its circumference more than two sizes.
Sizing Your Ring
First of all, never try to stretch an engraving ring or the one with stones on your own since the pattern will become misshapen, and gems will probably pop off from their places. If you need to enlarge these models, you should consider asking a professional jeweler to do the job.
If you want to stretch a plain band, you can do it on your own. Use a mandrel to measure the ring size. It is a conical metal rod with marked ring sizes you can order online or find in a local hardware store.
Slide your band onto the mandrel and let the ring bottom line up with a corresponding number. If you purchase a model made of steel, you can also use it to stretch the ring.
Alternatively, use a conversion chart to determine your ring size. Then, you will need a strip of paper to measure your finger circumference. Measure the paper length and convert the obtained value to the ring size with a conversion chart you can find on the Net. Keep in mind that you need a conversion chart with a measurement system you are used to.
Even though you can determine the ring size with a ring sizer, be prepared that it is almost impossible to get it fit perfectly at any moment. The reason is changing your fingers during the day, depending on the temperature, amount of taken food and water, and physical activity. Therefore, always measure your finger when you are warm.
Once you get the exact measure, it is time for stretching. Never extend your ring to more than 1/2 size. If you need your band to be wider, don’t do it on your own but ask the jeweler for help. The procedure requires metal thinning, so the ring will weaken and break down if you stretch it too much.
How to Stretch a Ring
1. Stretching the Ring with a Rathburn Ring Stretcher
Rathburn ring stretcher is a small and lightweight device that traveling personal jewelers carry around effortlessly. You can use it for adjusting plain bands from 7 to 10 size. It is a device that features three parts:
- Nylon base
- Slotted, hollow mandrel
- Top pin
Start the procedure by putting the nylon base to the firm and hard surface. Then, slide the mandrel into it, place the band around it, and insert the pin into the hollow part’s interior.
It is crucial to fit the ring around the metal part surface precisely. Then, hammer the top pin until pushing open the slotted part. That way, it will stretch your band.
Always use a rawhide hammer to prevent any damage to your ring. Be gentle and tap lightly to avoid overstretching the band. If you do everything right, you will notice the ring stretcher bottom opens a bit with each tap.
Check the ring width from time to time on a ring mandrel or your finger until getting the desired size. In most cases, ten strikes will be enough to change the ring sizes for 1/4.
2. Stretching the Ring with Ring Stretcher and Reducer
This all-in-one, heavy-duty, but an easy-to-use device is a necessary tool for stretching and reducing bands. This powerful machine is particularly designed to stretch plain wedding bands without diamonds and other gems quickly. Its top part features a mandrel adapted for manipulating rings of sizes 1 to 15.
3. Stretching the Ring with a Ring Mandrel
You can use a steel ring mandrel to measure and stretch your ring, as I have already mentioned. Slide the band onto the narrow end of this steel cone. It should be placed down as far as it can go.
Hold the mandrel firmly while tapping the ring with a wooden mallet, rawhide hammer, or jeweler’s hammer on all sides evenly. Always tap the ring at the top, not the side, so as not to distort it.
Check the ring size every time you tap a full circle around your band. Then, turn the ring and keep tapping it on the other side. That way, you will get an evenly resized ring. Continue hammering and turning the band until reaching the desired size.
4. 360-degrees Ball-Joint Ring Mandrel with Bench Vise
This device is a convenient alternative to the steel mandrel. Since it is attached to a table, you will have both hands free for manipulating. Since the mandrel can move the full 360 degrees, you can tap your ring at any possible angle, depending on your needs. It fits any ring size from 1 to 15.
5. Stone Set Ring Stretcher
This device is designed for stretching rings with mounted diamonds or other gemstones. You can use it safely for the rings which shank is not drastically tapered.
Its working principle implies rolling the metal part and quickly changing the ring size under extreme pressure. Mount the machine to a solid surface and select the die size that adequately fits the ring’s width and shape.
Tighten the handle and start rolling it back and forth. Since you tighten it slightly with each move, your ring will begin stretching. After only a few sequences, you will resize your ring up for 1/4 size. Keep in mind that you should work on the lower ring half if you have a model with a jewel.
The Price of Ring Stretching
Stretching a ring is not an expensive procedure, and you can do the job on your own if you are patient enough and have a ring mandrel. If you ask for professional help, you will need to pay approximately $20 to $60 for simple band resizing.
For example, resizing the Sterling silver ring will cost you $45, while the price of resizing a gold band with diamonds will be much higher. Some jewelers may charge you $50 to $150 if they estimate that too much of a risk or the ring is incredibly hard to resize.
To sum up, the overall costs will depend on the metal your ring is made of, the size you want the ring get stretched to, and the state where you live. Keep in mind that prominent brands usually offer free resizing when you purchase the ring in their stores.
Rings That Can’t be Stretched
Unfortunately, you can’t stretch every ring you want to resize. For example, too thin bands will probably break down during the procedure. On the other side, you will disturb the look of an engraved ring and loosen the gems in an eternity band.
Risks in Stretching Your Ring
Every time you want to stretch your ring, you should keep in mind the risk of breaking the metal down. Your ring may crack in a weaker spot, whether it is about worn or thinner parts.
Besides, rings with diamonds or other gems can lose the shape, and the prongs can loosen, which may result in falling out the jewel. Sometimes, an expert jeweler can solder any appeared cracks and tighten the gemstones when necessary.
Unfortunately, the risk of damaging the ring is too high in some cases, so a jeweler will refuse to finish the task. In such a case, it is always better to order the new ring in the appropriate size.
When you need to resize your ring, and it is possible to stretch it, you should find a proven expert jeweler to do the job. It can be an uncomplicated or very intricate process, depending on the ring you want to modify.
If you need to size up your band by a half size or a bit more, you can get it stretched. Otherwise, you should check with your jeweler about other options available.